Easter. Passover. Pandemic

20200413_005227It is Sunday morning. Easter Sunday Morning.  Easter hasn’t meant much to me personally since I gave up Christianity years, although I will occasionally indulge in a dark chocolate coconut egg or a few licorice jelly beans.  I used to like Peeps, too, but they are too sweet for me these days.  It is also the middle of Passover, which I have more or less celebrated since I married my wife, Muri.  In our house that has meant a nice dinner in lieu of the Passover Seder with which many Jews mark the beginning of the holiday, followed by a week following (more or less, in my case) the dietary restrictions.   Just in case you’ve lived on another planet … or in Utah, where Jews are hard to find … that means only unleavened bread (matzo) and no legumes or grains.  I have never really adopted Judaism even though in many ways it lands closer to my spiritual inclinations.  This year we attended a Seder with the family of some dear friends online using Zoom.  It was good to see the faces of friends in the midst of the Pandemic.  Zoom has become a lifeline for many people as we (more or less) shelter-in-place while experts and politicians scramble to save us, the economy and themselves.  I’m sad to say it is not one of the finest moments of our country.   I remember after 9-11, for an amazing few weeks we stood together, cried together, and prayed together, even though we lapsed back into partisanship after that.  There’s been no such coming together against COVID-19.

We live in what will eventually be a quiet over 55 community but it is a work in progress.  Six days a week and sometimes Sundays, there is the sound of construction around us, workers laying foundations, framing and finishing new homes for our future neighbors.  Today it is almost eerily silent.   This year I’ve decided to strictly adhere to the Passover traditions.   It probably sounds like superstition coming from a spiritual-not-religious old goat like me, but given what we are going though, a little observance can’t hurt.

My own spirituality comes from working the Twelve Steps and that has taught me some spiritual principles that are helpful during this pandemic.    Perhaps most relevant to how I conduct myself is the first line of the Serenity prayer … stairs-woods-stone-steps-patricks-point-state-park-california-59504498Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.  Acceptance.  I can only do so much to stem the spread of this disease and personally keep myself from catching it.   I cannot control the gyrations of our government, the opinions of experts and so-called experts (hard to distinguish), or hoard enough masks and toilet paper to save myself.   Accepting that washes away the panic I see striking many around me.  Then there is One Day at a Time.  I do not speculate on how long this will last nor do I read the countless articles offering to enlighten me.  I don’t dive into articles detailing the disease or of how it is happening in other countries.   That may make me less informed than some but keeps my anxiety to a reasonable level.   I adhere to what my friend Don told me years ago:  Don’t catastrophize … the worst rarely happens and if it does, you’ll handle it then.  I pray as I was taught in the 11th step, asking only for knowledge of God’s will and the power to carry that out.  No, I have no idea why it would be God’s will to have us go through this pandemic.  My friend Ralph would tell me thats above my pay grade.  I can live with that.

I hope your Easter was a good one, if that’s your practice and your Passover happy if that’s your tradition.  I hope you can enjoy life while we together learn whatever lies ahead.  Take care and be safe.

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