Prevailing

 
William Faulkner said, when accepting the Nobel Prize in 1950, “I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail.” Because, he said, he believed in the soul, “a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.”

Good words to remember, in these strange times. The next months will be challenging, but it could be that a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance will see us through.

We are, now, in a situation we did not anticipate.  We might have figured out that our sense of security would not last forever. But here we are in a “new normal,” as many say, and we must do the best we can.

A few weeks ago, my dear friend Paula brought me this air plant, or wind plant (Tillandsia) in a black Murex shell. I love it. It doesn’t require much attention and will live for many years with minimal care.

Right now, I’m trying to emulate it. I think the next few months will be difficult. I am old, and am ready to die, if it comes to that. I’m at risk at least in part because I have taken too little care of my health through the years. What concerns me, though, is not my own future but the larger things — the infrastructure, the economy, and other events that will affect my granddaughter and the other much-loved young people in my family.

I tried tonight to make a sketch of my wind plant in its Murex shell, along with a folk art carving that a dear friend brought us from Nova Scotia. In the sketch is also a small cup I treasure that my husband brought me many years ago.  It is just a small cup but I filled it with sherry — and may refill it.

My drawing isn’t any good, but I’m going to post it anyway. Given the circumstances, it may have been the best I could do. What I have done throughout my life, including my many regrets, may have been the best I could do.

Faulkner was right to draw our attention to the spirit capable of compassion and endurance. But maybe we should start with compassion for ourselves, in order to move forward and follow through with the sacrifice and endurance we will need in order to support others.

The days ahead will be difficult, but let us prevail.

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