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“We Are In This Together”

March 26, 2020

29 of 47

I read this morning that a nurse found out that she tested positive for Covid19 and killed herself to avoid spreading the infection. That cannot be the whole story, but it is a story.

We are now beyond panic in the Lent of Corovirus, we are in the flows of orthodoxy and outcome. Trillions of printed dollars are left unprinted because those who do the printing cannot agree on who gets them. I am somehow bothered in line at Cumberland Farms by somebody a foot behind me. A giant plexiglass panel now sits between me and the Stop and Shop check out person.

We are told the path.

“The Road to Paradise is plain,

And holds scarce one.

Not that it is not firm

But we presume

A Dimpled Road

Is more preferred.

The Belles of Paradise are few —

Not me — nor you —

But unsuspected things —

Mines have no Wings.

It really does not matter what the outcome is, there are really only two ways of defining the Road to Paradise – and I think Emily Dickinson knew that. Fulfillment of each of us, apart from the other, or that “We are all in this together”. Either basis may be true, but none of us are completely megalomaniacal or self-righteous jackasses.

We are both. Each and all.

But we all, each of us, now, this Lent, we have to be alone, together. We have agreed, mostly, that those who might die are worth isolation from everyone to everyone. For now.

But people are buying cigarettes every day, legally. Motorcyclists in Connecticut need not wear a helmet. You can still head a soccer ball, even if you are a woman, and you can still eat meat. Freedom with knowledge is the curse of our enlightenment.

So we make laws that both protect freedom and impose enlightenment. We purify our profane reality, when it is all a make up call. I lost most of my morbid obesity 15 years ago. I should have a BMI that is a bunch of klicks lower than it is. So I am not in Hell, but I surely have no righteous indictment of gluttony.

Smoking and eating and guns kill millions of any of us, everywhere. But here, now, we know this “Road to Paradise”. The others can wait. Maybe forever.

I can labor in this silent dark in Lent every morning to see what the rest of the year makes inscrutable only because I know I do not know much. Those who direct traffic have a road, and we should be on it. I get it.

But God is beyond direction, and that is a problem.

“The Belles of Paradise are few —

Not me — nor you —

But unsuspected things —

Mines have no Wings.””

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