Where Go Our Dreams?
Today my grief is for the dreams.
The coronavirus brings new feelings each day. For me, fear is primary among them. But today, my heart is breaking for those who have built dreams—a fabulous restaurant, their own plumbing business, a profitable bookshop—only to watch it shutter. Closed. No customers. Quiet.
I grieve, too, for those who stand on the cusp of realizing a dream. They’ve worked so hard to get into graduate school or a book accepted for publication or promotion into a new job. And now the future presents as a mirror darkened by the unknown.
What I’m describing might fall into the “economic impact” of the coronavirus. That’s not it for me. I worry for the impact on the hearts of creators. Those who dream then build and organize and cluck over and defend from harm that which they have birthed. My grief is for the crushing of the human spirit by a organism so unevolved it can’t even live without invading host cells.
And yet, if I look back to the dark days after Katrina, I see hope.
Please remember Hurricane Katrina. The time when almost 2000 people in New Orleans died. When public services—electricity and garbage pickup and mail deliver—stopped. When refrigerators rotted curbside and houses were marked for body searches. Remember how bad it was.
And remember that, before the canal walls gave way, workers were beginning new careers and students were eagerly buying textbooks for new classes and young adults were closing on new homes and parents were readying to birth babies and entrepreneurs were opening new businesses.
And, while the takeoff for new careers was interrupted, the future did not wither. While students had to shift to unaffected cities, they returned to graduate from their school of choice. While restaurants had to close, many survived and went on to birth new restaurants.
Yes, the months then years after August 29 were a God-awful, gut-wrenching time of terror and destruction.
But not everything died.
Not everything was lost.
All dreams did not drift into oblivion.
Life was reborn and brought with it a revival of dreams, and new dreams, and sometimes better dreams.
You might call me a Pollyanna. But one month ago, New Orleans was thriving. It had rebounded from the massive destruction of Hurricane Katrina. It—and we—will return from this as well.