Litany: Love in the Time of Apocalypse
I spent the day yesterday cutting fabric to make masks to donate to healthcare workers. The work felt good. It kept me occupied, physically and mentally. The knowledge that I was doing something useful for others was comforting and energizing. Today I'll continue the work. I'll have Paul help me, too, by cutting up aluminum cans to make flexible nose pieces for the masks.
This morning I woke with terrible anxiety, like I haven't felt in years. It was the old familiar anxiety, the perpetual fear that was my first and only memory of childhood, a terror of the end of the world. I sat with the fear for a while. I acknowledged it. Then I told it to pack up its shit and get out of my head; I had work to do. Obediently, it left. If I'd known it was so simple to evict terror from my mind, I would have had a happier childhood.
Though I feel fairly confident that Paul and I will come out of his crisis safely, I can't help but worry for all the people I love and all the people whom I've never met, but whom I love no less for that. I fear not only for their physical health, but their mental health, too. This event will scar us as a culture, as a world. There is so much uncertainty as to how this will all play out--who might take advantage of the situation, how populations may react as the old world we once knew crumbles to make way for something new. I still feel adamantly that we will strengthen ourselves through this crisis and become the humanitarian, generous, caring, good culture we've only pretended to be all along. I know we will make that transformation. I only hope we can do it with minimal lasting trauma.
This morning I recited the Litany Against Fear from Dune to drive back my anxiety and re-focus myself to my purpose.
I will not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone, there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
(art by J R Berger)
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