It feels like the whole world is broken.
Like Humpty Dumpty, we’ve had a great fall and all the kings epidemiologists and all the kings medical workers can’t put us back together again.
So maybe the question is: what do we do with brokenness?
It was after being a medic in World War I—which cost 37 million lives—and after the flu epidemic of 1918—which cost an estimated 50 million lives—that Hemingway wrote:
“Life breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong in the broken places.”
Have you ever had a broken arm or leg?
For a while the limb is isolated in a cast, cut off from its regular routine, separated from sunshine and fresh air. It’s in quarantine!
But during that long, uncomfortable, quarantine, something happens. Healing begins.
Finally, the great day arrives and the cast is removed! At first the limb is weak, tender. You have to be gentle with it.
But in time, with patience, it gains strength. And before you know it, it’s as good as new! Maybe even stronger.
Human beings are made for healing. We are made for comebacks. You are made for comebacks.
As a nation, we came back from World War I, the great flu epidemic of 1918, World War II, and more. And many have come back from our own personal setbacks.
Yes, this is a very great fall. We’re losing jobs, businesses, loved ones.
But we also see quiet heroism all around us—people who get up every day and go to work, in spite of their fears, to help put our world back together.
As Governor Cuomo said, this is a time for us all to do our best and be our best selves right where we are…even if that means staying home and not simply staying alive, but staying alive on the inside—keeping our courage alive, our compassion and kindness alive, our perseverance alive, our creativity alive, and yes, even our joy and humor alive.
Then, when this is over, we’ll emerge “strong in the broken places”—the kind of people who can help heal and rebuild.