we watched global citizen’s concert ‘together at home’ on saturday night. this virtual concert featured a wide spectrum of celebrities and musicians and raised about $128 million for the world health organization as well as local and regional frontline healthcare workers in support of covid-19 relief. despite wildly varying opinions about this effort, i would have been proud to play in the midst of this. it was about humanity. some of it was pretty raw. people were in their homes, many the likes of which i will never enter. they were with their instruments, they were playing or singing songs they felt would resonate with those watching. a few were, as expected, clearly voice-tracked. a few were, as expected, a bit ego-tainted. split-screen performances and technology raised the bar for musicians everywhere. but it was a moment in time – eight hours in total between online and on-air – when you could see that all of us grieve and yearn the same way. no matter the size of your mansion or tiny house, no matter the grammys on your shelf or the lack thereof, this global pandemic is just that – global- and is not discerning of your privilege. it does not care. it can take anyone. and so we weep.
if there is a painting that depicts the face-holding grief and prayerful yearning for hope, it is this painting WEEPING MAN.
i wonder if he weeps for those who have fallen ill, those who have died. i wonder if he weeps for those who refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of this pandemic. i wonder if he weeps for those on the front lines, helping. i wonder if he weeps for those who have hidden in extravagant bunkers underground in far away countries. i wonder if he weeps for our isolation. i wonder if he weeps watching people intolerant of the isolation that will protect others, people who are selfishly and arrogantly protesting stay-at-home orders. i wonder if he weeps for the unrelenting non-discrimination of this contagion or if he weeps for the divisiveness of responsibility-taking, the it-doesn’t-affect-me attitude. i wonder if he weeps for the continuance of humanity. or if he weeps for the loss of humankind. or, if he weeps for the lack of humaneness. i wonder if he weeps because, in the middle of this trying and profound now, Next will come. i wonder if this painting is tomorrow’s tomorrow and he weeps with relief and hope.
THIS all exists. for each of us. it isn’t always good. it isn’t always not-good.
there are those moments. the moments you weep openly, the moments you cover your face to cry, the moments of overwhelm, the moments of absolute weariness that, despite all evidence to the contrary in your tired mind and body, actually do lead to Next. times you feel alone, times of sorting, times of grief, times of fragile vulnerability, times of regret. the times you put your face in your hands and weep…
and there are those moments. the moments you weep openly, the moments you cover your face to cry, the moments of stunning awe, the moments of sheer exhaustion at your goal-line, moments that actually do lead to Next. times you feel enamored of life itself, times of incredulity, times of unquestionable good fortune, times of serendipity, times of simple all-consuming sweet love. the times you put your face in your hands and weep…
we recognize it. we can feel it. and we know that in another moment he -or she, for there is no pronoun-hogging here- will slowly raise his head out of his hands and Next will have arrived. (reverse threading, and so he weeps, january 17, 2019)
WEEPING MAN ©️ 2015 david robinson