Once again yesterday afternoon I found myself in a conversation about upcoming plans that may or may not come to fruition. Events of greater or lesser import are being cancelled daily. Event calendars seem to be useless sometimes unless accompanied by a pencil with a good eraser. Disappointment is becoming a more frequent fact of life. Weddings and workshops, retreats and long-awaited voyages are put on hold and depend on the spread of “the virus” (no need to name it) that is so much a part of our lives, even while being invisible. We do well to consider how all of this is affecting us.
One of my “go to” sources for help is Meg Wheatley whose little book called Perseverance always provides useful perspectives. Here is—in part—what I read this morning.
Giving up is a moment either of acceptance or resignation, two very different states. Resignation has a beaten up, victim quality to it. We worked hard and we lost. We’ve been defeated.. Now it’s time to retreat, to move on, to put this experience behind us as quickly as possible.
Acceptance is radically different—we’re in touch with reality, we’ve learned that we’re not the savior of the situation, and we might feel humbled, but not beaten. We have a richer picture of what’s going on and, after a little rest, we’ll reenter the fray. (p. 97)
Although this reflection is a bit tangential to the point, the main words work for me as I think about life. While facing a pandemic is not something we just “put behind us as quickly as possible,” our prior plans in such a situation can be dealt with in that way. Learning to let go is, for me, a life-long practice. I still struggle sometimes with giving up possessions that “I might need someday” or recognizing that a trip to connect with someone in Australia “just might not be in the cards.” The value comes, as usual, in my motivation and willingness to respond to “what is.”
So today I will try to slip both acceptance and giving up in my pocket to take with me as I travel the uncharted road of pandemic-land.