Lent and Eastertide are evocative for me. I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals during Lent. Suffering. Bodily suffering. It does help you grow–that suffering. It’s the slow dawning and profound realization that you are not in any way in control. There is nothing you can do when you are profoundly ill–but submit to the way things are. All of those beliefs that you have, beliefs that say you can control things through the power of your actions and mind, fall away. Even the mundane aspects of caring for your body go away–the animal actions. Medications are dosed directly to your blood, catheters siphon away your urine, and you cease to defecate. There is no chewing, no swallowing, only receiving and hoping that the universal lineage of what has come before leans in the direction of life–your life. Whatever you believe from reincarnation to resurrection, to sorcery, to scientific realism, the control is gone, and you are alone, passive, wondering what it’s going to be–life or death?
It’s that loneliness that strikes me this Easter. The loneliness of death, the loneliness of rebirth. The complete loneliness of the human condition. I consider all of those alone and dying during this pandemic. Not with their loved ones, maybe with a stranger holding their hands, perhaps unconscious, connected to a machine designed to save them. They are hoping for some kind of resuscitation or resurrection that is out of their hands.