There are scenes in movies at the end of a story arc, when the main character has conquered a challenge and they re-emerge in the world. Encouraging music plays. Resolution is found.
On Friday, I drove over to the plaza near where I live, parked, and locked my car. If I was the heroine of a movie, the uplifting music would have started up. Perhaps “Walking on Sunshine?”
The sun was shining on an October afternoon, a slight breeze warranted a sweater, but the rays warmed me as I squinted through sunglasses trying to find a friend. Someone was playing a piano nearby and a baby crawled near its mother. The tinkering sound of moving chairs and chatting people reminded me what being among people in-person actually can be like. Breathing in the fresh air, I was filled with gratitude to be in the light.
In many ways, it feels like I have survived the Covid era, and can now emerge. Perhaps, the tension of the last few years has come to a state of resolve. My baby is no longer a newborn. I’ve remembered how to make eye contact. I even got on a plane. Standing in the plaza that day, watching people swirl around me, I was touched by the goodness of ordinary life. I’ve missed being in the flow.
At the end of the movie JoJo Rabbit, *spoiler alert*, the main character comes out of hiding and dances in the street. Walking down alleys towards a lunch date, I also felt like dancing.
Many of you may have been dancing for quite some time. But for me, a sensitive person with an active, anxious mind, the last few years felt threatening. The thought of losing someone again, the fear of getting sick while pregnant, and the weight of passing on an illness to someone I don’t know who may be caring for others all felt like too much. I thought if I just stayed home, if we just followed the rules, nothing bad could happen.
Life has reminded me, again, that self-preservation is not the key to a fulfilled life. People we love still die. Our friends still suffer. Being present with sorrow, in tune with our achings, will remain a choice.
This denouement bump may be resolved, but my story still continues. It is time to remove the heavy shoes made of pandemic fears, anchoring me to a recent past filled with fear. Instead, I’ll take up my dancing shoes, and head to the square. Whether we’re weeping or laughing, swaying in sadness or spinning in joy, I can choose to be in the flow. Meet me there, where we can be together? What a beautiful thing.