Life is always uncertain. Even if you live with great faith, or great wealth, great fame, great family and friends, even if you are born under a shining star with a silver spoon in your mouth. Just ask Alexei Nikolaevich.
The thing is, we are very good at convincing ourselves that we have control, that we have time, that we have the ability if not the resources to handle things that are thrown at us and at those close to us. And most of us as people do have these, regardless of our circumstances, our internal comfort accommodating the life we live, whether rich or poor, ill or healthy, intelligent or foolish.
My parents didn’t really have that feeling of control. And yet, they were resilient. They were able to adjust to what life threw at them, appreciate when we had little and give when we had more than a little. They were born of The Great Depression, with all of the optimism and resourcefulness that can only come from having both too little and too little control. And in life’s uncertainty, they found, if not comfort, at least acceptance and the knowledge that they could and would deal with what life threw at them and us.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have always felt a little lost, a little different from everyone else, as though I’m going through life untethered. That all goes back to the early loss of my mother. It’s part of who I am, and it’s the part that has made me appreciate those whom I have in my life. Those who have helped to fill the hole left a long time ago.
But this uncertainty I’m feeling now is something new. This daily waking and readjusting to an ever-growing pandemic, an economic nightmare, an invisible threat that may or may not be in my home, the homes of those I love, the homes of those who make up my life. Certainly, there are things always lurking – cancer, car accidents, mass shootings – but I’ve never felt anything quite like I feel the certainty that I will likely lose someone I care about to this current threat. And that uncertainty makes everything difficult, even though my life is not so different today as it was 2 weeks ago. And yet it’s completely different.
By living through today, particularly very impressionable and vulnerable young people whose lives have been drastically changed, we may develop our own resilience. We may develop an appreciation for each other, for those who follow behind us and clean up our messes, those who nurse us, protect us, create for us, those who actually lead us and challenge us to be better. We may look deeper, overlook more, judge less. We may come out the other side, however briefly, with far more than we started. But maybe not.