Today Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards meets Washington with President Donald Trump to discuss Louisiana’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a time to remember that the crisis affecting my life is a crisis affecting the whole country and the whole world. But I am not a public official and do not exercise much leadership these days. So for me the struggle of this era is a personal struggle.
It would be nice to say that this current crisis makes me feel how little my own suffering is compared to other suffering. It would make me more likable to say that normal times seem much better compared to this crisis. However, none of that is true. My general state of alienation has not changed for the better. I still long for a different vision of the future than is available. The struggles of many people and myself going back over a period however many years one chooses to look at and going on into the present has been marked at least by as many defeats as setbacks and victories. I think had more of the battles fought been won then the world would be in better shape right now.
This pandemic is something that comes after a long series of crises that I have known in my life and that life has gotten me to a certain place that is not any other place. I am where I am and am doing what I am doing. What stage of life one is in depends on what life has brought the individual in question in previous decades or years. Over all this is the stage of life of trying to make a settlement with the past. Setting records straight and putting things in order. This is a period for setting up the exit. I know that for most world leaders my age is in their past but they have had very different lives. Much of my life is a nightmare beyond my ability to ever transcend in the remaining years of a lifespan.
While the Confederate heritage has gone from being very controversial to being more or less universally maligned across the country. General Alfred Mouton’s death in the last major confederate battlefield victory. The Battle of Sabine Crossroads or the Battle of Mansfield was long after the high water mark of Gettysburg but although doom hung all about it was in victory that the old veteran of many struggles who was not yet an old man gave his life. As fates go in the real and troubled world it is not such a bad fate.
This may well be the beginning of the end for me even if I get through the economic crisis and the infection crisis more or less unscathed. But I can say that while it has been a battle so far it has not been an all out defeat. I was able to send a second donation through Family Missions Company and my family there to a friend in the Philippines who is not only trying to help feed her village but trying to keep spirits up during the crisis. The pictures below are just some of those that she sent me. Giving children treats may not appeal to most agencies but I know such things can make a positive difference in morale.The truth is that there are different ways in which each of us fight the battles of life. For me this struggle with the Coronavirus Pandemic is just another struggle and conflict on the road of life.
To simply remain engaged in the struggle is a kind of victory. Whether one is fighting for a truly lost cause or as part of a revolution not to be victorious until much later after very great cost there will be times on the route when the only thing to be said in favor of the campaign is that one gave battle to one’s enemy. Simply keeping an army in the field has to be enough.
The struggle of life is going on and has gone on for a good while but I am engaged both in my own personal struggle and in the larger struggle as well. Battle is of course a metaphor. But the metaphor is a compelling one in this case for me. I have hit some setbacks. My effort to publish one of my books has hit a big snag and that may be yet another obstacle I cannot overcome. I have had some health issues. My extensive repairs on the very old car I drive may still not be enough to have it in truly good shape when the time comes to press forward again.
I have managed to consolidate my finances but not enough feel secure in these trying times. I am grateful to have a good home where I can rest up and recharge my batteries. But I am also feeling the cost of being a late middle aged guy living alone in a crisis. I try to be really careful but I am not laboratory careful. I have tried to help my Parish (like a County) to achieve its good record with the virus so far. But I know that in the long run things are likely to get worse here before they get better and in the end I am likely to catch the virus. My mind, soul and body are taking their licks and even if I win this battle I am still facing the outcome of many years of coming up short. But to be in the struggle is a kind of victory.