Connecting with Culture
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Such evocative words from the playwright James Graham, composed recently as part of a letter that he (along with other cultural figures) sent to his ‘post-lockdown self’, sealed in an envelope to be opened next year.
What a great idea! It’s to remind him – and us, if we choose to participate – what life was like in lockdown; what we’ve missed, what we’ve welcomed, and what we’ve learned about how to live, beyond it.
Thinking about it, the last few weeks, for me, are filled with moments of awakening, like the seeds scattered in the parable of the sower.
I remember the initial, visceral shock of seeing empty shelves. No milk, no eggs, no bread. Note to self: be grateful for plenitude; think of your relationship with food, where it’s come from, and learn to grow some for yourself.
I remember the day I had to rush my wife into hospital because she couldn’t breathe properly. I choose to remind myself of that scary afternoon, even as it already starts to lose its power. How quickly we forget. I will tend this seedling with extra care, with love.
And even as lockdown ‘eases’, we remain in ‘liminal’ space. We’ve a summer without the treasures of Glastonbury, Wimbledon, the Olympics, our Christian festivals… Will we merely lament their absence, or can we be present to what’s precious in their place? By next year, I’d love to be contributing more to life creatively, and consuming less. That’s possible, isn’t it?
‘Dear Future Me,’ wrote James Graham: ‘Stay connected to your friends… Call your mum for no reason. Keeping FaceTiming Dad. Not just a call. Look at his face.’
Wise words. What would yours be? For now’s the time to think on this, to tend these seeds, to keep the soil watered, sunlit. It makes me wonder, too, what words my ‘post-lockdown self’ might send me, here, in return. ‘This, too, is the day the Lord has made,’ he might say. ‘Don’t rush straight off. You may never see the likes of this again.’
For details about Brian’s work, visit www.briandraper.org