It is April 1, 2020. My family is in our third week of sheltering in place due to COVID-19, and I think it is safe to say that we have all completely lost track of time.
We struggle to remember what day of the week it is; bedtime for my two young daughters has become so loose that it is practically non-existent; minutes bleed into hours which somehow become days and then weeks with the slipperiness of water on a mossy rock. And although our days do have a certain rhythm, they are in many ways timeless.
I realize that I am in a position of extreme privilege in uttering those words. My family and I are all healthy. None of us work jobs that require us to be in harm’s way day upon day. We have a home, and we have each other. All of these are gifts beyond measure, and I do not take them for granted for one second. They are the foundation that allows us to dwell in this semi-timeless space for now, and God-willing, the foreseeable future.
The experience of timelessness comes as a complete and utter shock to me as someone who generally struggles with rushing and cramming everything I possibly can into the space of a single day/hour/minute. Ironically, this was the subject of some of my recent blog posts (You Can’t Rush Asparagus and Take Your Time). Little did I know when I wrote those posts that a global pandemic was just around the corner (well, it was already happening in fact, but I just didn’t know it) and that is was fixing to turn the very concept of time on its head.
I find the feeling of timelessness that this whole thing has created both beautiful and terrifying. It has a spaciousness to it that seems endless, although I know logically that it is not. Still, it feels like an act of faith believing that it won’t be like this forever. And it feels like an act of courage to allow myself to live fully within this stretch of time when so many others cannot.
I am turning forty tomorrow which seems like an odd thing to do right now, especially when time feels so unreal, when a day and a decade don’t seem all that different. I am finding myself in the head space of not rushing towards forty nor running from it. I’m just sitting here in the middle of time which, strangely, is a place I have been trying to get to for most of my adult life. I just wish it hadn’t taken a global catastrophe for me to finally figure out how to do it.
I’m curious how others are experiencing time right now. Do you find it as elastic as I do? That it can expand and contract in nearly infinite measure? That its very definition has shifted in some ineffable way?
I hope that wherever you are at this singular sacred moment of time and however you are experiencing it, you know that you are precious, you are whole, you are loved. And that, my friends, is not an April Fools joke.