The Reapers Have Come
Copyright Lauri Ann Lumby
The world as we have known it is dying.
The sorrow of the world rests like a weight on the surface of my skin.
The tears of the world threatening behind my eyes.
Like an anvil on my heart, the gravity of a world in pain
over what it does not know.
Kicking and screaming over “liberties lost”
Or cowering in the darkness hoping to escape death’s gaze.
We cannot run.
Neither can we hide.
The reapers have come to harvest what we have sown.
Poverty, injustice, hatred, intolerance, destruction of our planet, and war.
We’ve done this to ourselves.
There is no one else to blame for a tide that cannot be turned.
All we can do is let it run its course,
Cutting away all that no longer serves,
And burning it on the pyre of transformation.
Only then will the ground be cleared of the impediments to new life.
Seed that lay dormant beneath the ravages of man,
Awaiting the liberating flame, clearing the path for their return –
Bringing forth new life and the creation of
A whole new world.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we are currently traveling through the death of the world as we have known it. I also know that death, in this case, is not an ending. Instead, as the old world is imploding upon itself, a new world is beginning to be born. While we may have hope in the new that is coming forth out of this dying, it is also important to grieve.
Grief is the miraculous process that we have been given to move through that which is ceasing to be. Grief creates the pathway through which we can release the old while making way for the new. Grief, when engaged in fully, also helps to heal us from the loss so that we might be open to receiving the new life that is promised on the other side of the death.
The process of grief has been said to present itself to us in the following faces:
As it relates to the death our world is currently facing as brought forth through Covid-19, humanity is wavering somewhere between the stages of shock, denial, and bargaining.
Shock is the feeling we are all having as our lives have suddenly experienced a dramatic change. Holy crap – this sh*t is real! For many, (myself included), our lives have simply stopped. With shock, all we can do is acknowledge the dramatic change while attempting to find our way into and through it. As wave upon wave of new (and sometimes false) information comes our way, we may find our shock retriggered. Again, acknowledge the trauma of the shock while trying to find a “new normal” for yourself.
Denial is when we don’t believe it’s real. This is the state the U.S. was in for weeks/ maybe months as the virus was devastating other parts of the world, but hadn’t yet impacted us. Many continue to be in denial over the potentially critical nature of the virus and the fear that many are experiencing as a result.
Bargaining is the stage that seems to be most apparent right now. Bargaining is often characterized in a literal sense as in bargaining with God over the fate of a loved one. Bargaining is also recognized in:
- Desire for information: If we could only find enough information and the right information around this virus we will all be ok.
- Attempts at control: Trying to find ways we can control the virus and the life we are living in the face of a pandemic. Some recent examples include:
- Arguing over the perceived loss of civil liberties.
- Protesting the stay at home orders.
- Arguing for stricter stay at home orders.
- Wearing masks/not wearing masks
- Creating theories around what is true or not so that we can feel better (or in control)
- Needing to be right.
- Pointing the Finger of Blame: All the ways in which we criticize and condemn others for their response to the virus and our judgments around their response. This includes all the ways we shame others by telling them they are wrong.
- If/Then scenarios: This somewhat falls into the control category. “If I wear my mask everywhere I won’t get it.” “If I’m only with those who I know haven’t been exposed, then I’ll be fine.” “If I think the right thoughts, take the right supplements, eat the right foods, then I will be fine.”
All of these are natural human responses to grief. There is no judgment of these reactions and none of them are wrong. This is what we do when the world that we have known is suddenly yanked out from beneath us and we are left floating in the void of the unknown. We are looking for something to hang on to, something that is concrete. We grasp after the illusion of control when the world around us is completely outside of our realm of control. We cannot delay the inevitable. Neither can we stop it.
But there is one thing we can do to ease our fear and heal our pain:
When we peel our grasping fingers off the throat of the dying world and allow ourselves to surrender to the unknown – this is where we find peace. When we cease grasping after control, we will find that there is no risk of sinking into despair because instead, we will find ourselves being gently carried to whatever the new world might be for us. When we let go we are able to grieve the loss of the old, find healing for our loss and be made ready for the new life that is silently calling to us from out of the depths of the void.
Where are you finding yourself in the grieving process? What aspects of the dying world are your grieving? What might you begin to let go of as you move through your own grieving process?
Good morning! These are interesting times in which we are living and as an empath I am feeling it all. This is what I posted on Facebook earlier this morning:
FRUSTRATION is the energy of the day. A night spent with dreams of frustration and woke up with an overwhelming external sense of frustration. This morning I prayed hard and will soon be returning to prayer to help loosen and free this energy – an energy that is not mine but is the current energy of our world. Humanity is unnecessarily fighting a battle against each other. There is literally nothing to fight against. To make it through the Covid-19 event, we have to simply let it be. Let it runs its course. Find our own peace in the midst of the external chaos. The only one we need to be concerned about is ourselves and our own peace. Find that peace and stay there. Once the chaos has completed its task the dust will settle and then we can begin to create our new world. In the meantime, let the chaos do its work of clearing the old to make way for the new.
Not only am I feeling this frustration on a global level, I am feeling it personally. It’s not my frustration, but it is the inner conflict I am feeling as I stand in the middle between people I dearly love. As it relates to Covid-19, the current conflict seems to be centered around:
Stay at Home vs. Return to Work
I have dear friends sitting at both ends of this spectrum. Some are actively protesting the stay-at-home orders and want to see businesses back up and running. Many of these are business owners themselves, so I get it. On the other end of the spectrum are those I deeply love who are actively protesting “return to work.” Many of these are considered seriously at-risk for not only contracting but dying from the virus. So I get it. The challenge with these opposing movements is that there is so much we do not know. We are living in a state of complete unknown.
- By staying at home are we simply delaying the inevitable?
- Are we missing our opportunity to gain herd immunity?
- If the original intention for the stay-at-home was to flatten the curve while also giving medical facilities an opportunity to gear up for what would eventually happen anyway and if the medical facilities are ready, does it make sense to stay at home?
- Has the stay at home order simply been a government play to put us into a state of fear and to put us at their mercy?
- Has the stay at home only provided an opportunity for those who created the virus to launch their vaccine (and God knows what might be in that vaccine?)?
- Will returning to work put more people in danger?
- Will millions of more people die because we returned to work too quickly?
- Is it even safe for people to return to work?
- If we return to work, how do we protect those who remain at serious risk?
The reality is that we have no idea the answer to any of these questions. We don’t know what will happen when we return to work and we don’t know what will happen by continuing to stay at home. Meanwhile businesses are struggling and some will not survive the shutdown. Government support has not been sufficient for many and has not been forthcoming for some. Millions of people have contracted the virus and nearly 70,000 have died (in the U.S.). People are afraid. And we do not know what we are looking at now, let alone in 2 years from now (when the CDC predicts this will finally be over).
We are living in a state of complete unknown. Even that which is proclaimed as known one day changes the next. We don’t know what information we are being given is true and what is made up. We don’t know which conspiracy theory will prove true and which ones are simply false. We don’t know which protests are real and which have been staged with paid actors to create an environment of fear.
The world has gone insane (or rather, the insanity that has always been there is simply coming forward into the light). At the heart of this insanity are two things:
FEAR and GRIEF
People are afraid and have been made to be afraid. On the outside, the fear is over the virus, but when we look deeper the fear is over our inability to control the unknown.
And beneath the fear of the unknown, is the even deeper fear which is the very real fear that arises in the face of death. I’m not talking about the fear of dying from Covid-19 (though for many that fear is real). Instead, I’m talking about an even bigger death.
Whether people are aware of this consciously or not, the world as we have known it is dying. The world made out of fear, power and control is crashing down around our feet and in its dying, it is showing its hideous face. And all this flailing about that we are currently witnessing in our world is the very real and human reaction to what we do not know or understand and that over which we have no control.
Herein lies the remedy to the current insanity we are experiencing: the world as we have known it is dying. It has never been sustainable (except for the very very few). Our best course of action is to stand back, get the heck out of the way, and let it burn. We cannot control its death and we are hurting ourselves by trying. For the sake of our own peace, we can acknowledge that there is too much we do not know while surrendering to the fact that we cannot control the old world in its dying.
And as the old world is dying, what if instead of creating opposing positions and fighting and arguing with each other over what we do not know and cannot control we came together in cooperation. What if while the world is burning itself to the ground we came together (at a safe distance) in conversations around what we might begin building instead?
I’m never sure how my role as unofficial pastor of Oshkosh will be called on, but when it is I am humbly awed by the tiny little ways I can be a vehicle for loving care and support, or to be the recipient of some profound gem of wisdom. This morning, I experienced both, and it was the gem of wisdom is what hit me the strongest.
For the past almost 20 years, The New Moon Café and Coffee Shop has been my official home away from home. It is one of my places of refuge and a place I can go to for my daily hug – both in the form of a cup of dark roast and in the loving relationships I have cultivated and enjoyed with owners and the ever-evolving staff of young people (young to me) who work there. The New Moon draws an eclectic crowd of students, artists, professors, business owners and the local disenfranchised. At the New Moon everyone is welcome (unless they try to cause harm to someone working or another customer). I love the New Moon and during this shutdown I have made it a point of visiting there as much as possible to help support their being able to continue past the Covid-19 frenzy.
It was just this frenzy that became the point of conversation as I stopped at “the Moon” after my Sunday yoga practice. Behind the counter were two young women I haven’t seen since the shutdown and it was a reunion of sorts. As the only customer in the place, we had time to chat. “How are you surviving shutdown?” I asked. Both women shared their respective tools for managing in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis along with their observations of what they see happening in our world. For anyone who is still critical of Millennials and Gen-Xers, I would say, you have not met the crew at the Moon. Both young women had a really good handle on their own self-care, along with a deep well of compassion for a world in distress. The message that pierced through the many aspects of Covid-19 we explored was this:
Handle with Care!
Through the wisdom of these young women, I was reminded of the many reactions we are witnessing to the Covid-19 event and the invitation to not be too hasty in judging those reactions. Instead, these wise young women reflected on the necessity of holding these reactions in loving compassion. We do not know how people’s unhealed fears, past traumas, or societal conditioning might be influencing their reaction to Covid-19 and everything related to this (literally) viral event. We don’t know people’s individual vulnerabilities – most especially those who may have a health situation that makes them especially susceptible to the virus. We do not know what tools people have or (most likely) don’t have for managing, stress, the unknown, fear, the inability to control, etc. etc. etc. We just don’t know. Neither will we know unless we ask, and even then, we might not understand. How can we know unless we have walked a mile in their shoes?
The bottom line is this: when we feel ourselves triggered by other people’s reactions to Covid-19 we are invited to refrain from judgment, contain our temptation to react and then Handle with Care. Instead of casting a finger of criticism or blame, can we instead hold each other in loving compassion? Maybe if we learn to handle each other with care, together we can find our way through the Covid-19 event and to the new life that is seeking to be born on the other side of this crisis.
Thank you Sierra and Kristi for your compassionate wisdom! <3 <3 <3