( My piece for Women of Egypt April 2020, During Covid-19 Pandemic)
And just like that! Time as we know it stopped!
The endless running, multi-tasking, color coded events on our synced E-calendars, kids’ practices, work meetings, school events, texting instead of calling, voice notes instead of texting, scheduling family gatherings weeks in advance to accommodate everyone’s schedule, unfinished projects, extended deadlines, stressful time management, effective time management, juggling work, health and social life….
All this and much more stopped in a blink of an eye!
Often did we complain about not having enough time, about always being rushed and feeling late or unaccomplished! Time was always the first victim to blame for anything and everything. It was always the thing we ask for the most, the thing we complained about not having enough of.
The endless quotes about time and how it passes, how it changes, how it ends rapidly. All this is now so surreal! As humanity finds solace in this solitude unity for the first time ever!
Come to think of it, really…when was the last time, we were all united like this? When was the last time we were all in the same exact boat with the same exact fear, details, conversations, worries, jokes and much more?… the answer is Never!
2020 is the year that is showing us a different side of humanity, a different shade of unity. The year where stores, schools, mosques, churches and temples closed temporarily. Families stayed home together, gatherings were cancelled, celebrations were put on hold, communication is only virtual, doctors and nurses became the frontline of heroism and every city in the world looked like an abandoned ghost town!
But what if, instead of fearing a pandemic and stressing about missing our normalcy every minute of the day, we choose to see it differently, where despite slowly feeling a tad older, we acknowledge that we were all graciously given and for the first time ever…. The gift of time!
Time is a limited gift from God, we never know how much we have left of it, yet we act as if we have all the time in the world. We are constantly running, racing, rushing, trying our best to multitask and catch up, accomplishing so much in a little time, and still left feeling busy and unaccomplished! Pushing things to be done, said or enjoyed “later”, vacations have always been rushed, resting is forced and planned, and if one is lucky enough to grasp the true meaning of time, would be found appreciating a family dinner and looking forward to the next one in weeks, smiling while watching a happy toddler and looking away from their phone for a minute, embracing a happy moment and not taking it for granted.
The only thing certain is that we all know that our time on this earth is short– but too often, we live our lives as if it is unlimited.
As I peak out to this scary world from my happy pink bubble, and while we are blessed with many gifts to appreciate during this pandemic, I would pick one… time.
Rumi said: “This moment is all there is…” So, what is really happening in this moment?
What if we are asked to stop and listen? Maybe, just maybe the gift of time is here to show us the infinite means of how it can be used. It is truly not a productivity contest, or a sanity marathon but more of a realization of what really matters.
And if what really matters is creating something new, finishing an unfinished project, finding joy in cooking new recipes… then so be it!
And if what really matters is finally facing the nagging need to heal, reflect and feel… then so be it!
And if what really matters is just loving and breathing and not doing anything at all in this moment… then so be it!
We are given a new gift, one that we are not used to! A gift that allows us to truly find our inner selves with chill back uninterrupted soul searching.
Well maybe interrupted by the sounds of bored kids at home J, but even that…I choose to look at it differently, because now I have the time to explain to my kids that we each need our ME time, before it was very stressful and rushed, before I felt ashamed to miss anything from the short hours they spend with me after school and between practices, before I couldn’t really express the magnitude of togetherness and solitude. I drowned in the mom’s guilt and felt stretched too thin in the busy pace of life. Yet now, I can see how it is ok to feel different (in the moment), how it is ok to prioritize, breathe… and just be!
I choose to see it clearly and graciously accept the gift of time, fear it, enjoy it, take it all in and even get frustrated with it times. It’s all a part of me, and because of time I can see it and address it all, without shoving a piece a way or rushing another one in the process.
So, dear time, thank you for forcing us to stop! For allowing us to understand your magnitude!
We heard, we listened, we are slowly getting there and I pray we keep this experience in our hearts and minds forever and not allow it to phase out once our pace gets back to the old fast normal.