Today is twenty-five days, which is three weeks and four days of the Omer in the year 5780. נצח שבנצח, Netzach ShebeNetzach. Eternity of Eternity. The pure essence of Endurance and Will.
Taking a moment to see beyond the moment
Sometimes, I catch myself observing my circumscribed life. Usually, this is easiest to do when observing fraught interactions between my spouse and children. Of course, I am apt to have the exact same reaction to obstinate fractionally formed humans as my husband. Still, from the distance of a few dozen meters, I can see the ways they are living past each other.
Du Fu’s “Song of a Painting”
In college, I took two courses of Chinese literature in translation. I have this gorgeous anthology of Chinese literature compiled by Stephen Owen. I take it with me fondly from residence to residence, never actually reading it. A talisman for when my heart cracked open to the rhythms of poetry and the nuance of understanding history through literature.
Du Fu (712-770) wrote a poem called “Song of a Painting.” According to Owen’s translation, the poem ends thus:
“Just look from ancient times till now
at the greatest names of all,
how all their days hardships and troubles
Over twenty years ago, this is what I wrote in response to the stanza: How true! The greatest names lived through difficult lives, and were stronger because of it.
Entangled in Hardships
I think now about what hardship we are living through. How difficult this is for the many families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. How many people lost their jobs, are preparing to be furloughed, and are otherwise economically affected by the physically distancing measures taken to save lives. I consider the mental strain we are all under, regardless of whether we are sheltering alone or with family or with friends. Our mouths speak the anguish of hearts often with words more vitriolic than we truly mean.
Endurance to Find the Will to Lean Into Goodness and Grace
I cannot proscribe speech or actions for anyone beyond myself. I can only resolve to choose compassion, acknowledging the experiences of those around me. By living into the uncertainty and anxiety that bubbles up around us, I can swim towards growth.