"The Second Coming"

SUNNYSIDE UP MOMENT - March 17, 2021


One year ago today, we closed the restaurant doors and opened a chapter of history not likely to be forgotten.  As we approach the second year affected by the pandemic, I felt compelled to revisit the platform that sustained us all those months ago.  I was also drawn to the Yeats poem, “The Second Coming” which was written in 1919 amidst a hauntingly similar landscape.  At that point in time, a century ago, the headlines were dominated by the Spanish Flu Pandemic, social unrest, war.  Yet society propelled itself forward by the same Spiritus Mundi, the same soul of our world, that propels us today, omnipresent, expectant, resolute.  That spirit carried us one hundred years since Yeats penned his beautifully desperate poem.  That spirit carried us through the last twelve months.  And that spirit will continue to carry us on trips around the sun, sometimes roaring like a lion, sometimes whispering like a lamb.

Last spring, the resilience and stamina of a nation shone as their beloved Land Down Under glowed a fiery red.  Then a short spell later, Perseverance and the inspiration of generations flew far and wide and landed on a red planet.  As we swam through our daily lives, Covid polluted the water all while Polio was drowning.  We endured an enigmatic novel virus while all but fully eradicating an exacting old one.  Captain Sir Tom Moore proclaimed his mission to walk through his garden day to day, raising millions of dollars for charity as he went.  Then Eden reclaimed him ashes to ashes, dust to dust, bowing our heads and lowering our flags.  We paid tribute to the tenacious voices of John Lewis, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Hank Aaron.  We paid attention to the emerging voices of Amanda Gorman, Beth Moore and Kevin Love.

We marched, we voted, we held our breath, we exhaled, we vaccinated with hope, we witnessed insurrection with horror, we transferred power, we stood up, we knelt down, we felt gale force winds, we felt numb, we suffered through nightmares, we dared to dream dreams.  There have been grave losses.  There have been magnificent births.  We put our feet down on shaky ground and yet here we stand.  Despite the gravitational pull of politics, the cosmic collision of fact and fiction, the explosive fallout of disease, the trial and error of democracy, the gyre widening and turning, despite it all, the centre holds.  Yeats was almost right.  Things do fall apart, but they can be pieced back together again, they can create something new.

Just over one year ago today, on Sunday, March 15, 2020 our family drove 600 miles in record breaking time from the door of my childhood to the door of my adult life.  The trip was, has been and continues at times to be, a blur.  We arrived at the restaurant on Monday to weigh our options, to process the unfolding news alerts with our staff.  Just as we were leaning toward staying open, the announcements started coming, rolling in rapidly and relentlessly.  School suspended.  Restaurant dining suspended.  Non-essential travel suspended.  Life as we knew it, suspended.

When I woke on Tuesday morning, I took this picture.  The horizon burned between the low-lying clouds and the quiet, reflective waters.  The dawn that was slowly breaking did not yield to the weight of what was yet to be.  Why would it?  How could it know?  The sun was rising over the bridge because that’s what the sun does.  It delivers to us the day no matter what has expired, no matter what is being renewed.  The opportunity to search through shadows and celebrate in light reveals itself continuously.  I received that gift one year ago today, just as I received it this morning.

There is no knowing what comes next.  Not then.  Not today.  Not ever.  This doesn’t mean we have no control over what tomorrow brings.  It means we can and we must be led by faith which is rooted in love and nourished by hope.  It means that even as we stumble toward enlightenment, we can still trip the light fantastic.  It means that whatever will be will be, but there is peace and ultimately strength in believing all will be well.  This is the divine intersection of the soul within and the soul of the world swirling about.

We didn’t know what was to come one year ago today.  We don’t know what is to come one year from now.  But we do know, now more than ever, that without each other, without goodwill, without compassion, without grace, without mercy, there is nothing and that's when the centre will not hold.  We should pause to commemorate the anniversary of the world making a hairpin turn one year ago. We should collect our thoughts as well as our memories.  Then we should move forward reverently yet fervently into the world slouching toward Bethlehem to be born.  Every day is a second coming.  Surely that was the revelation at hand.