I tried to write something to post today. Something sweet, gentle, funny, or hopeful. But I could not.
Today all I could do was sit and grieve. Overwhelmed.
Where am I? What is happening to the imperfect, but basically kind country I knew? Sadly, some are taking advantage of the protests to engage in looting and destruction of property.
The military are being used to disperse peaceful protesters. George Floyd is murdered and four policemen, the people who take the oath to stand and protect, are accused. A Central Park bird watcher is reported to the police. More than 100,000 people are dead from COVID-19 with more every day, as the necessary supplies to help treat it are still not fully deployed.The pandemic rages on. The number of people unemployed is as great as during the Depression. We cannot get close to people. We wear masks. Our loved ones die alone and have no funerals. Social distancing, a necessity, has become painful isolation, and depression and suicide is a daily occurrence. The list could easily be longer – but this is enough. And so, many of us spend our time inside and afraid.
There is a terrible irony in what has become the slogan we hear chanted and see on placards everywhere, as protesters by the thousands march day after day. Not since the 60s have we seen anything like it.
I CAN’T BREATHE!”
Floyd’s dying words. But also one of the last things people of all ages, colors, religions, genders say as they die from covid19. The same can be said by people where air and water pollution is once again killing our environment. And when peaceful protestors are dispersed by gas. There is more – but you all know examples.
The murder of George Floyd has become more than a chant decrying racism and police brutality. It is the cry of the people of the United States — once thought to be the greatest nation on Earth — the slogan for so many in 2020.
I turn to the place — the only place — where I find comfort. Faith.
It’s not that I believe G-d can miraculously solve all of this distress. For me, Faith means that there is hope. It asks me to wake up each morning and consider how I might be helpful. Sometimes, Faith is the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. It encourages me to get on with life as best I can, recognizing it is a gift, and knowing that good people are everywhere. Faith is purpose. Faith is potential. Faith is possibility. But it is up to me to do more than pray for help. What happens daily is my responsibility. There are days when I fail.
Somehow, I am still often optimistic. And that, I believe, is Faith.
Carole Leskin is a retired Director of Global Human Resources. Embarking on a second career as a writer and photographer concentrating on her personal accounts of aging, her essays and poetry, frequently accompanied by her photos, are published in Jewish Sacred Aging, Jewish Women of Words, Starts At 60, Navigating Aging ( a Kaiser Health publication), Women’s Older Wisdom, Time Goes By and Next Avenue. Her poems, “Father Time” and “Carole’s Debate” were selected for inclusion in the 2019 anthologies of poetry, New Jersey Bards. Her photos have been featured in Mart R Porter Nature Forum.