I just started listening to Michelle Obama’s new podcast and it is wonderful. Her voice is honest and challenging. I knew that I wanted to tune in after reading her book Becoming last summer.
In the second episode (the one that has gotten so much press because she says that she has been experiencing low grade depression), she speaks with Michele Norris and says:
I hope we don’t go back to normal. I hope we go to better.
This is such a challenging statement, especially as I hear more and more people talk about “getting back to their lives” or asking whether they are just “not supposed to live their lives” because of the virus. All of this speaks to the way we are trying to process that really we have no experience to process. We don’t know what is right. We don’t know whether what we are deciding is mitigating a normal amount of risk or putting us into more risk. The uncertainty and the politicization of this virus have us all second and triple guessing what we are deciding to do and how we are moving around in this new world.
I hope that we will have the strength to sit in the not knowing. I hope that we will have the courage to say no to things even when others are saying yes to things so that we can reflect on the way we used to live life.
I hope that we have the compassion to understand that even as we are making choices, many, many families are having choices made for them. They can’t see their family member who is in the hospital. They can’t schedule a funeral that their loved ones had planned. They can’t feed both themselves and their children. They can’t go to work and care for their children.
May we look deeply and honestly at the way we used to live life and vow not to get back to normal, but rather get back to better. Better care for our neighbors in need. Better, more courageous choices to counter a culture that benefits some and oppresses most. And a better understanding of how our choices impact others.