The kids and I were just finishing up editing a video in my office when Kendra entered to say: “We…need your help.”
The cat had gotten into the garage, and knocked over a prized memento. It had fallen onto the concrete floor, the glass had shattered.
Tears were shed — this item had belonged to Ben. It was handmade craft from a community fair last year that had been living on a shelf: a jar of multi-coloured sand with a golf tee glued on as a nose, and feathers for hair.
To protect little feet from shards of glass, I got to work right away, while Kendra and the kids spilled into the outdoors and onto the trampoline.
It was a chain reaction of tasks: To sweep the glass, I had to move the shoes. But in doing so, I had to sort and tidy them, and take out the entryway mat. Which helped us see the glass was in more places: it was scattered throughout the whole garage — around our bikes, under the workbench, under the van. I ended up driving the van out of the garage, sorting out all the mess on and under our workbench, reorganizing the bikes, the boots, the coats. By the end of the experience, we hadn’t just cleaned up the glass mess, we had completely transformed the garage.
But this didn’t all happen in one continuous burst of work.
Partway through, my friend Colin came to pick up some eggs. I paused the work and we chatted at a safe physical distance, about work, family, the Covid craziness, and life in general — and for those few minutes, while his son napped in the car seat and a chilly wind blew on us, we got to just be there, two people, actually connecting for a moment, in the midst of a crisis.
Returning to the jobsite, I completed the task, and drove the van back into the garage, which had been now been returned to normal.
But it wasn’t back to normal at all.
The craft was still broken.The tragic destruction of the prized craft had resulted in urgent work. The urgent work had resulted in a transformed garage — but the transformation itself had been put on pause for a moment of human connection.
And so it is with us now, in the time of Covid. Life is shattering around us, an unscheduled, unwanted explosion. And in it, the result will be a major transformation — our societies won’t look the same after this. Yet even within that, there is the invitation to pause long enough to stop, see, value, notice and connect with human beings who are here alongside us. We are beautiful in this breakage. We are the peacock puke.