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There is Time

I wrote “remember to be grateful that there is time for joy” on a slip of paper in early 2020, when my partner and I were coming up with the agreements we thought we’d need in order to move in together that March. Most of our agreements were laughably impossible in those early days of the world changed by the pandemic, like “we each get one day alone in the house.” As my mom would say, “ha!”

But this one, in my handwriting, I kept finding over and over again that year, dropped behind an altar, in the junk drawer, tucked in the pages of a book. A little oracle from past me or future me, telling me, remember. remember.

And I did. Something about the wording and how my handwriting is so messy even I have to squint to decipher it, made it a space for possibility rather than a demand to bypass whatever I was feeling that wasn’t joy. Like something one of my ancestors would tell me, wise and absurd at the same time.

And the truth was, even as I felt such intense anxiety, lack of control, the numbness of having to keep going as people were dying so capitalism or the economy could keep going, even, as the part time gig I was working turned into a nearly round the clock effort to keep people fed and safe during a wildly confusing time when it became clear that no one actually knew better and there was in fact no one to tell us what to do, even then, there was time. For joy, and sunshine, and baby geese, and swimming holes, and turtles, and shells, and rocks, and tulip trees. For each other.

And as this year unfolds in fits and starts, with us holding our breath or exhausted beyond belief, or full of unexpressed or expressed grief and rage or all of the many other feelings we are holding, I want to say, not as a demand, or even a request, but more like a message on a faded scrap of paper: don’t forget, remember. There is time. It's different from the grind of capitalism, or the news cycle, or the churn of social media, but it's still there.

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