In praise of an identity crisis.

I have now washed my hands so many times, I no longer have fingerprints.  I suspect that is significant.

I discovered this phenomenon when it became harder and harder for me to access my phone with my thumbprint.  And it seemed to me that my identity must be literally slipping away.

Perhaps that is so for all of us right now.  If not literally, then figuratively.  And if not as individuals, then perhaps as a species.  

We are no longer who we once were – or had become.  And perhaps this is a wise and wholesome thing.

Because of our current shared global reality, I suspect we are learning to take better care of each other.  We have opened our eyes to each other’s individual vulnerabilities, and we have felt empathy, and we are helping each other and making each other laugh and cry and feel better.  Even our home planet seems to be healing overall, now that we’ve stopped – just for the moment – kicking our detritus and disrespect across her face. 

It also seems as if we are somehow rediscovering or revaluing our past lives – through our past work and knowledge, our ancestral wisdom – pulling it out from the backs of closets and the bottoms of shelves and the recesses of our collective memories.  The works of long-gone authors are being reread, their words remarkably applicable to our hearts and minds today.  Our art and music are being replayed – and “re-played with” – as the unique entertainment and encouragement and connection between our souls that they were meant to be.  And set-aside scientific ideas and insights are being reconsidered and reexamined as well, for potential benefits and possibilities for our current wellbeing.  

In our renewed humanity, we have relearned how to dance with our children and play their games; how to appreciate our animals both in the wild and as companions.  We’ve begun to read out loud to each other again, telling each other our stories.  We’ve clapped our hands and made loud noises in the streets in appreciation for jobs well done. We’ve witnessed small kindnesses – we’ve been those small kindnesses – and recognized genuine heroism among us.  We’ve shared our food and knowledge and humor and grief.  We’ve learned how to work harder at just doing life.  And perhaps we will reimagine and fulfill ourselves as something better and finer than we have ever been.

And so, I suspect I will continue to wash my hands as I count to twenty, and even feel good about rinsing another bit of my current identity down the drain.  Because in the end, I will be that much closer to touching not just my own authentic humanity, but the hand of another human being’s, held one day within my own.  And that will be worth everything.