|ˆ (M.A. Reilly, Leonia, NJ)|
So I have a routine now for taking in groceries that involves Clorox wipes.
I have a routine for washing hands.
I have a routine for cleaning all kinds of handles, many I feel certain I have not previously cleaned.
I have yet to succumb to indiscriminately spraying Lysol, but I do have a can on hand.
In times of uncertainty, routines offer a temporary balm.
I no longer can count the number of friends, colleagues, and family who have said, texted, tweeted, or emailed that something good will come of this pandemic. And yes, I too have joined that chorus and said similarly.
Tonight I am wondering why. To whom were we saying that? Why were we saying that?
Seeking good out of tragedy is no modern meme. Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron, completed in 1353, showed us that. The Decameron is the fictive telling of 100 stories by seven women and three men who stay in a deserted villa outside of Florence intent on escaping the Black Death. Across each of the ten nights each told a story.
For the second night. Filomena imposed a particular type of story that the ladies and men would each tell. She said to the small group,
"...from the beginning of time, people have been subject to the whims of Fate, and so they shall be until the world ends; and your stories are all to show how a person who had been thwarted by ill fortune comes to have a happy ending that defies his expectations" (p.62).
In the 3.17.20 issue of The Washington Post, Emily Balcetis writes:
"...in times of heightened stress, people tend to resort to “magical thinking” and superstitious behavior — particularly when there seem to be few ways to exert control over a situation."
Everything will be fine.
Everything will be good.
We do not need to wait for the pandemic to be over for goodness to emerge.
We do not need to hold our breaths.
We do not need to think we are subject to fate.
We make the good as we live.
How we live now, now and now, is self defining.
Boccaccio, Giovanni. (1993). The Decameron. Translated by Guido Waldman New York: Oxford University Press.