It is the last weekend of the circuit breaker. After all this time, we are still struggling to articulate our thoughts about this season. How is it that the days crawl by so slowly, yet another week has passed? How is it that we have all this time to rest, and yet sleep is restless? How is it possible that something happening on a colossal, global scale could also make our individual worlds shrink smaller than we could have imagined?
Both of us have careers that get their richness from genuine, warm interactions with others. One of us runs a small, retail-based creative business that has seen revenue come to a halt. The other has had all in-person conversations cut out completely, with only a pile of painful paperwork left to fill the gap. There have been days that we struggled with a sense of displacement and anxiety about the formless future. We can't work up the will to tackle the Room of Horrors in our new home, where all our boxes from moving still sit.
We read an essay on Joy a few days ago, by David Whyte. He said,
“[Joy is] overheard in the laughter of friendship. It is… the claiming of our place in the living conversation, the sheer privilege of being in the presence of a mountain, a sky, or a well-loved familiar face.”
Whyte's words are so beautiful, but they stung. One of our favourite ways to spend a day is to be at In Personam, to see people we've come to know as friends, to hear their laughter ring through the space. Our favourite feeling is to be under a slice of big, beautiful blue sky, driving up a mountain, somewhere both perfectly sunny and perfectly cold. We love feasts with our families and friends. We've not been able to enjoy any of those in a while.
But this is how the essay chose to describe the experience of joy, in its final sentence:
“I was here, and you were here, and together we made a world.”
This is us. This is all we have, and all that we need. COVID-19 took away our honeymoon trip, but gave us two months to enjoy our new home which we barely had time to appreciate before. We get to see each other for more than half an hour, half-asleep in the mornings.
We have so much to be thankful for. We are healthy, live comfortably, and are constantly blessed by people showing their love by sending home-made ginger soup tangyuan, ayam buah keluak, loaves of bread, and piping-hot mee tai mak. We've not had to go grocery shopping for weeks.
For as long as this goes on, we will never say this situation is hopeless. We are determined to love life and see good days. We will see everyone again so very soon, and know that just like that – we will pick up right where we left off.