Remember This

They say we’ll ‘go crazy’. When it’s all over.

The scarring and shaking of all that is sacred. Death and reality; too much, too raw. What do we do with it?

Wipe it away, with beaches and beer. Drown it in singing and dance on its grave. Turn up the volume; cast aside the masks.

Lock it down and cut it off. There’s hope in every haircut.

We’ve all had enough, haven’t we? Shrinking lives. Suffering and sadness and everything so small, except for fear. Enough! Upturn the paint pots and splash out the dark. Entertainment and escape; a vaccine from reality. That’s what the papers are predicting we’ll do. That’s what they tell us we need.

Just as we were. Like it was all a bad dream. Like it never even happened.

I want it too. Parties and popping corks; colour and contact. I want to see my friends. I want to hug my mum. I want to take my kids to the park and the playground. To move closer, not to step back. To press forwards instead of shouting ‘stop.’

I’m thirsty for all of these things. Wipe the slate. Erase the tape. Bring on the Blessed amnesia. And yet.

It’s not enough, is it? To pretend it never happened. To go back to where we were, (as if we ever could). Something has happened and something has changed. Otherwise, chaos reigns — and nothing matters.

Our dreaming has been interrupted. Reality has broken in; and the Lord was not absent. We were always mortal but then suddenly we felt it. We can’t airbrush it out or dance it away. We’ve experienced it and we can’t unsee. Not a temporary interjection or a comma in daily life. An infraction and a violation. A colossal global full-stop.

We need to look it in the face. To name it as it is. To mark it and acknowledge it. To speak of what it has taken from us. And then, perhaps, what it might give us too.

The symbol of lockdown (certainly of lockdown 1) is worth noting. It wasn’t a Great Forgetting. It was a rainbow: a sign for remembrance. We need to remember. We need something to say: ‘This happened and I could not change it. I tried to stop it. My little gods failed me, but the Lord Almighty did not. I was never in control. But before I did not see it. And Lord willing, I will not forget.’

“You hem me in behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me.”

Psalm 139:7

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