By Bradley Robertson
I once had a very vivid dream of myself, as a young adult, hanging out with my grandmother. We were sitting together at a dinner table, chatting life and laughing. I do not recall any details of the conversation or the occasion. That’s how dreams are. What I do remember, is the feeling she left inside of me when I finally woke up, as if I had just been by her side. I felt as though she was right there with me. So close. But the truth was, I had not seen her in over 15 years, since she passed away.
That entire day, I lived as if I had just been with her. I had a jump in my step and a fullness in my heart.
The dream brought back the essence of someone I longed to know. It’s like her realness was placed back into my hands for a smidgeon of time and I delighted in it.
However, there was no reality to the matter. It was all a dream. A dream that brought me deep joy and a lasting memory. A time of goodness placed into my hands to savor and live for.
The reality of COVID-19 didn’t hit me till Friday evening, when my family returned home from our Spring Break adventure to Colorado. Friends were cancelling parties, schools were closing and my children were full of questions on the wellbeing of our family.
I’m a very calm and quiet person under pressure and stressful situations. It’s a blessing. I don’t panic at all. My first thought is usually, “ok, well let’s have a toast and celebrate what’s to come!”
I have always been gloriously optimistic and I tend to see and believe all good things are to come. I almost have to force myself into “realities.”
The reality is, we are facing a sticky situation. A situation that brings health scares but can also bring about mindfulness and opportunity. It all relies on our perspective.
I was sent an article by a friend Saturday, an article written 72 years ago by C.S. Lewis. In the article, Lewis writes of the crisis behind the Atomic Bomb. The relativity to today caught my attention.
“In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”
In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors — anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.
This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.
Here we are friends. In a position that our ancestors have lived and died through. This isn’t new, this is life. The reality is, nothing has changed at all. Illness is real and we are indeed human, mind, body and soul.
Time has been placed into our hands. So what will you do with your time?
I want to gain back the feeling of the dream with my grandmother, except I want a real one. I will build new things with my children. I will stop and listen to them better. I will be still longer with my husband over a glass of crispy white wine. I will stoop below Sheppy’s face and look up to his childish ideas. I will read in the grass a top a quilt. I will host a family picnic on our dock at sunset. I will reach out to ill families in need. I will shed light to those who are struggling to see. I will wake up to see more sunrises and spend more time with the one who created them.
We are not in a dream, this is all real. May we take the real that is in front of us, this good, good life, and purpose it to one that is everlasting.