Kohelet in Corona – When there isn’t a time to everything

(Image Nathan Dumlao on unsplash.com)
(Image Nathan Dumlao on unsplash.com)
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”

A time for work, a time for childcare,

A time for academic discourse, a time for consoling teenage sorrow,

A time for career, a time for motherhood

A time to break and a time to heal

I always thought

that time needed allocation

set boundaries

compartmentalised sectioning

I always thought

I needed headspace to write

time immersed in the solitary pursuit of knowledge

 

Today I’ve learnt myself anew

There is not a time for this or a time for that

There is instead the fortuitous lesson

that time can be shared

Time can be wrenched between conflicting needs

Between the loud screams and constant demands

exorcizing lollipops tangled in hair

And still I’m able to be immersed in thought

Theodicy, critique, symposiums the like

Stealing ten minutes here

or half an hour there

to fashion those thoughts into a litany of ideas

that one by one take form

into the thesis I hope to complete

one day

not too far away

 

Corona has taught me

that perhaps knowledge and creativity don’t demand exact conditions

that conditions command exacting creativity and wisdom

And that despite fear, anxiety and trepidation at another month indoors

Progress has come

slow

incremental

imperfect

But it has come

And despite my penchant for self flagellation

time waster

not enough

demand More

I’ve found myself being

gentle

kind

self-forgiving

 

And this proclivity has even flown over into day to day life

Its slower

and more focused

more synchronised

and less demanding

calmer

and softer

And there is a time for laughing and dancing

and a time for crying and anger

And then there’s the times when the presence of both evoke a kind of wonder

The shouting still echoes

The frustrations are still present

And the intensity of one roof still palpable

But the doctorate will wait

And work will still be there

And the sweet monotony of routine will resume

And then once more there will be a time for this, and time for that

 

But for now between academic articles and Yuval Hamebulbal

Between post-Holocaust theology and puzzles on the floor

Between word counts and plasticine frogs

we’ve learnt to find fragments of joy in a fractured reality

We’ve discovered

Gratitude

And hope

And forgiveness

And taught ourselves to live with imperfection

uncertainty

fallibility

contingency

and disappointment

And murmur under our breath ‘this too shall pass’

About the Author
Tanya White is an educator who teaches Tanach and Jewish Philosophy in Israel and abroad. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Jewish Thought. She writes a weekly blog on the Parsha combining Jewish thought and current affairs at www.contemplatingtorah.wordpress.com
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