And by that I mean, it’s okay because it isn’t. It’s okay that we don’t know. It’s only natural that we can’t comprehend. It’s confusing. It’s painful. It’s lonely.
And it’s okay.
My most favourite quote that I’ve read so far amongst all the noise these days is this, “The answer to the question everyone is asking – ‘When will this be over?’ – the answer is never.”
I appreciate this because, for me, it highlights one obvious point:
We’ve reached our threshold.
In every scenario or relationship (whether that be with ourselves, someone else or something bigger than us) there is a point of no return. Where you simply cannot un-know or un-do the things that have become. Where you simply cannot help but have a completely new perspective – for better or for worse.
I truly mean for better or for worse, though. In some cases we come to know someone, or some situation, so beautifully – so intimately – that we can never again separate ourselves from who we were before, to who we are thereafter. It can happen as quickly as it ends, or simmer slowly at long last, but in either case it’s real. It shows us the level of love and connection that we are capable of, and it changes us.
In other cases, we lose someone or something against our will. Brutally. Unapologetically. Peacefully. Tragically. Amicably. Regardless, we are never the same. From that point on, we define things differently.
And that is why this will never be over. Because we will never again be able to associate our ways of being, or the way in which we relate to each other outside of the context of this experience. We have both lost, and gained, in the most binding and simultaneously polarizing sense of what is possible.
It may not always be so pervasive or so top of mind, but it will always be there. It may present itself differently, and affect us all to varying degrees, but it will never be ‘over.’ There will come the next inevitability, all in due time.
I’m not saying it’ll always be this hard, but we do ourselves a disservice to anticipate a definitive “end date” to our pain, when in fact the only thing we can concretely count on to always present itself despite demographics, status or circumstance, is pain.
We are constantly ebbing and flowing – riding the waves of distress, soaring on the highs before crashing down to the lows. Although exhausting, accepting this as reality is, to me, the only way to carry on with some level of grace and understanding. The hope, of course, being that when the next wave breaks, we are stronger and better equipped to handle and cope. To confidently know that we’ve been here before, we made it through then, and we will do so again.
Within the current state of the world, I hope we never find ourselves here again, though my gut feeling tells me to fear something much, much worse.
Whether it be a global tragedy or an insular upset, the one thing that is certain is that we will forever face varying degrees of what we’re experiencing right now: Heartbreak. Loss. Confusion. Unknown. Fear. Death. Connection. Hope.
It never ends. We need to not expect it to.
I honestly don’t know what the greater teaching is here. At the very least, right now there is a direct and unforgiving light shining on the way we were previously operating. It’s left us with no choice but to reflect and re-evaluate despite any actionable changes we make in turn, if any.
Maybe the takeaway is that we’re meant to consider others, to experience something beyond ourselves or our own realities. Maybe we’re meant to sharpen our coping skills for all that’s still to come – to find comfort in the chaos. Maybe we’re being taught to recognize the impact we all intrinsically and unavoidably have on one another, as we’re evidently much more closely-knit than many of us realized.
Or, maybe, the ultimate takeaway is simply to trust that in the thick of it, there is strength, there is solidarity, there is confusion, there is hardship…and it’s okay.