During this COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic it is very easy to buckle under the stress and fear surrounding us. So many of us are out of work and wondering when and if the next paycheck will come. Being in quarantine makes us feel closed in, trapped even. Then there is the disease itself, an insidious and highly contagious virus which is spreading like wildfire throughout our country and the world. It doesn’t discriminate and no one is immune. These are truly terrifying times, and as a spiritual teacher my responsibility is to inspire others during these dark and challenging times. But how?
And then I remembered Anita.
When I was a teenager I met Anita. She was an elderly English woman who had lived through the London Air Blitz. Being a history buff, especially when it came to World War II, she had my undivided attention.
“What was it like?” I wanted to know.
“1940 was a dreadful year Mark. Every day for four months the German Luftwaffe bombed London. It was relentless. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get the sound of those dive bombers out of my mind. The Germans put loudspeakers on the plane’s wings so when they dove to drop bombs it made this horrid screeching sound.”
“I’ve read about that,” I replied, “Those were designed to scare people.”
“They did more then that Mark–they killed people.”
“I’m sorry–I–I…” for once my teenage self was at a loss for words.
“We jolly well weren’t giving up–not to those Nazis!”
“Amazing you say? Mark, it is one thing to read about the London Blitz in a history book or see it in a movie, but the reality was quite different. You never knew what was coming next. One day I went to work and it wasn’t there. Another day I went home after work and it wasn’t there. I will never forget my mother in tears as our house smoldered into ashes. Thank goodness Mum had been detained at work and got home late. It was a direct hit she would’ve been killed. My Dad had been conscripted into the Royal Navy–we were alone–he was somewhere at sea at war. We never knew from one day to the next if he were alive.”
I listened intently.
“The bombings were just dreadful. We’d scurry for shelter in the tubes–the subway as you Americans call them–or if we were at home or work in the nearest basement. The explosions rattled and shook everything as we huddled together, even with perfect strangers–not very English being tactile with a stranger, but those were desperate times and we were all in it together. The explosions rocked the ground, we’d pray the ceilings wouldn’t collapse on us and we’d be buried alive. It was even worse when the lights went out and we’d wait, and wait and wait in total darkness–never knowing if it truly had stopped and if was safe to go out again.”
I hung onto every one of her words.
“Mark, I never had friends like I did then,” she paused thoughtfully. “I can still see their faces. We were comrades in arms, bonded together.”
She looked down and paused to regain her composure. Somehow I knew it was important for her to share her memories with me, and on some level I knew I had to listen and remember her words.
“Lofty,” a tear rolled down her cheek.
“Lofty? I’m sorry Anita, I don’t understand, what’s Lofty?”
“Lofty was a young man I knew–he was thin and very tall–that’s why we called him Lofty. He lived in a flat near me and died when the building was bombed. They never found his body. Hell of a nice guy Lofty was.”
“I lost so many friends, and although it was years ago, the pain feels like yesterday. I often think of happier times before the war. We’d meet at a pub for a pint. It seemed so routine at the time. I guess we didn’t realize how good we had it before the war–but we were so happy.”
“Anita, how did you cope? How did you even want to go on?”
“Stiff upper lip!” she replied as she sat up straight and her eyes lit up.
“Stiff upper lip!” she repeated. “I was scared, we all were, terrified in fact. I never thought I would survive those dark days.”
“How did you?”
“A crisis is no time to fall apart, even if you want to. You cannot control many things in life, but you can control how you react to them. I discovered I was stronger than I ever knew. Something inside of me emerged and I realized to survive I had to adapt. It’s not like we had any other choice than to put one foot before the other and trudge on no matter what. With Mr. Churchill on the wireless encouraging us that no matter how impossible it seemed we were going to survive and win–and we did.”
Even as a teenager I knew when I met Anita that it wasn’t a random occurrence. While we must never take consolation in the suffering of others, sometimes the pain and misfortune others have endured adds perspective to our difficulties. Not for one moment do I downplay the hardship we’re all facing during this pandemic, but we’re not being bombed on a daily basis or being asked to storm the beaches of Normandy or Okinawa. We’re being asked to stay home and watch television. And yes, all of us are facing financial hardship. But this isn’t a permanent condition, it will pass.
There’s a lot we can learn from those terrified Londoners huddled together in basements and subway tubes during relentless air raids and bombings. They were just ordinary people like you and me who in those dark and terrifying days found an inner strength they didn’t even know they had which enabled them to find the confidence to feel no matter what they would survive.
And they did.
And we will too.
So as Anita said: STIFF UPPER LIP!
Many Blessings,Mark Anthony the Psychic Lawyer/Psychic Explorer www.EvidenceOfEternity.com