Remember Where We Were
In March 2020, Holding Space suspended the monthly potlucks because of the COVID 19 pandemic.
“Two weeks” turned into more than a year.
Thankfully, no one in our household or immediate circles got COVID, as we kept up with the latest information, individually following ways to keep ourselves and community safe. We masked. We distanced. We tested. We stayed home when sick. We kept to our pods. None of it a guarantee, as we saw friends and loved ones do everything right and still have someone close devastated by it.
As the stories and statistics came in and whirled around us, we were steadfast in our priority to ensure that any future potential housemates would also take the risks seriously. In that moment, it felt like choosing to share housing would be the furthest thing anyone could want. On the other hand, institutions and facilities experienced some of the earliest and worst outbreaks, and agonized to create and enforce strict isolation policies. There were still inquiries, questions, and discussions about “What is Holding Space?” and ultimately no other people came to live or die with us during this time.
We heard stories from friends who worked or had loved ones who live in facilities that were hit with an outbreak. We heard of loved ones who fell ill or died, either through the virus, through the strained healthcare systems, or through seemingly “normal” circumstances and disease processes that were amplified by the zeitgeist of 2020 and early 2021. It was like a massive and uneven storm, where places looked sunny while other places were having a downpour, the thunder and lightning in the distance falling directly, somewhere.
Our household found ways to stay connected, and recognize what a privilege it was to be able to do so. Work from home. Walks outside. Video calls and online events proliferated and became a plentiful option. We reached out to friends and loved ones who we saw struggling especially hard. We talked and reconnected with faraway friends, “Why hadn’t we done this sooner?”
One way Erik kept connected was his Little Free Garden Stand (find it on Instagram: @littlefreegardenstand, photo by Christine Smith)
Maybe because it sometimes takes an emergency to shake us, to remind us to take time to evaluate our priorities, when we encounter and experience loud and un-ignorable reminders of our mortality. Do we take heed? Even before COVID the “storms” happened, and like many have noted it certainly brought existing problems and systemic injustices into sharper focus. Even though some of us feel safer now, with lower cases and ready access to vaccines in many places in the USA, the storms are still happening. Like always, it just takes looking beyond our own immediate lives and spaces. Listening to the experiences of others with openness, and what do we do with that?
For those of you who remember the potlucks, we invite you to a gentle return to community and shared spaces, as you are comfortable, or willing to push the edges of your comfort. To newcomers, welcome! We’ll be outdoors. 6pm-9pm, drop-in style as usual. Do what you must to feel safe for yourself and community, however that looks – be it continuing to wear a mask, getting vaccinated, honoring those who want to keep their distance even if they were “huggy” before, waiting until next month’s potluck. Come with an openness that whoever shows up may be in a different place with grieving their experiences of the past year, COVID-related or not.
We’re no longer in the before. Shops and restaurants are open. Visitation to facilities is starting back up. But let’s not forget. Remember the almost 4 million people who have died from this new and latest disease, and the millions of others who have become ill. Is there anything we have learned to do differently or do better, for the inevitable next disaster? Are we committed to holding space for ourselves and one another? As we reconnect, we’re excited, cautious, and hopeful to see what comes next.