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Friday, April 3, 2020

All The Questions In The World

By Harry Cummins

     Watching CNN last night, my gaze became transfixed on the ticker at the bottom of the television. Questions, lots of them, streamed across the screen in small print. Viewers were sharing their personal questions about the coronavirus to the assembled panel of individuals who have recently emerged as our de facto public leaders in this crisis.
     Nearly every question centered on either safety, suffering, or salvation.  The same trio of polarizing subjects that unite the entire world right now as we all trend towards some form of disintegration.

     It prompted me to think about the questions we all ask, and the answers we anxiously seek.  What should we be asking in times like these?  Are the answers, if they come, so selfish as to exonerate us from the suffering of others.  Are they too existential in nature to ever explain the riddle of inequality?

     Taped next to my desk as I write this, is a printed excerpt from one of my favorite writers, Dawn Powell.  Writing about New York City in a novel set in the 1940's, Powell describes a scene between a husband and wife, facing a fractured marriage and an uncertain world:

     "Frederick was idly fiddling with the bedside radio and there was a sputtering of words and confused noises.
    'It's the Bikini test - the atom bomb the elevator man's wife is afraid of'', Frederick said.
    "When you hear the words- 'What goes here' that will be the signal-" said the faraway voice, and suddenly Frederick was filled with fear, too.  
     He went over to his wife and held her tightly. 
     In a world of destruction one must hold fast to whatever fragments of love are left, for sometimes a mosaic can be more beautiful than an unbroken pattern."

     May all the questions currently circling our breached globe.... be framed viscerally in this bit of  fictional wisdom.

     God of Love, bless each of us in the mosaic of common questions.. ...and transform this current broken space between us.