A Guest Post by James Graham

It’s been just over a month that the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a national emergency. I feel so grateful to be in this part of the world and in this community in particular. The vast majority of us in Lyme and the Upper Valley have taken the situation seriously, and with concern and kindness for each other.

And yet still the uncertainty prevails. And fear and sadness, if not bearing right down on us, lurks just beneath the surface. I find myself veering between serenity and boredom, action and despair. Images of walking down Church Street in Burlington and camping beside Lake Champlain keep popping up in my mind as a form of longing and grief. Impatience rolls in with a trip to the supermarket and its selected empty shelves, and anger at the people (mostly men I notice) who aren’t wearing masks to help protect essential workers. Sadness comes with talking on the phone to my 91 year old mother, alone and in pain in an assisted living facility. I want to run from all these feelings—stay busy, watch movies, drink. But they wait patiently and greet me with the dawn.

This interview with Jack Kornfield came to the rescue this morning. I hope others find it helpful. Acknowledging and honoring unpleasant feelings like uncertainty, sadness, and grief are a way through the unavoidable path we’re all on. Just taking a moment to admit the frail aspects of our humanity can give us strength.


A Response from Bob Rufsvold:

Thank you, James….
The burden of uncertainty, like most burdens, when shared feels a little easier to shoulder.
This poem was the first thing I read this morning, before your post:

We Look With Uncertainty by Anne Hillman

We look with uncertainty
beyond the old choices for
clear-cut answers
to a softer, more permeable aliveness
which is every moment
at the brink of death;
for something new is being born in us
if we but let it.
We stand at a new doorway,
awaiting that which comes…
daring to be human creatures,
vulnerable to the beauty of existence.
Learning to love.

Grateful for good friends and neighbors.