Chinua Achebe once spoke about dualities in a 1988 interview with Bill Moyers. He was reflecting on a proverb from the Igbo culture which states that ‘wherever something stands, something else will stand beside it.’ Achebe noted that it meant that there was no absolute anything. He stated that ‘if there is one point of view, fine. There will be a second point of view.’ The ongoing 2020 pandemic is full of dualities.
I start this new month reflecting on duality, knowing that there is no one way to reflect on what a year 2020 has been. The pandemic upended lives in ways even history has no finite memory of. Many will say that the pandemic was full of silence, the type the makes you stay still with yourself. Then there was struggles, impediments, strife, challenges, so many insecurities and vulnerabilities and even death, not the kind worthy of celebrating as with the death of someone elderly who lived a fuilfiled life. But unnecessary death, over 260,000 now as I type this. The pandemic is indeed a serious hindrance to life as we know and love it.
But then there are so many expected gifts that even this pandemic has provided. Like survival of a deadly virus, survival of even homeschooling and ongoing work at the same time. There was time, quality time too with family in ways many never expected or experienced before. There was music, endless laughter, delightful conversations, pure joy, birth of a new baby, new hobbies like blogging for me via all my keeps, learning new things like how do kids really learn, or watching them entertain themselves in ways that make sense to them. Then there was contentment, gratitude, knowing that you are surrounded by those that truly love you, all of you, your flaws and imperfections, people who consider it fortunate, a blessing to have you in their life. This pandemic is indeed a dual one.
The pandemic is full of struggle, full of silence, but also full of hope, full of survival. It’s this duality that hope to keep today as we start the end of the last month in December. Keep it in mind for where one thing stands with this pandemic, another thing will truly stand beside it.