I have been asked to write something, something that connects or comforts in these strange times would be nice, but any word of wisdom is welcomed, it's up to me. So what am I going to tell you? Is this the end of something? The beginning of something? The beginning of an end? No idea what craziness still awaits us. But two images will stay with me. The first image is of this old lady. Wuhan, less than two months ago.
This old lady has just been admonished from a drone. ‘Hey you, old woman! What are you doing on the street ?! Go back home and wash your hands!’ She was, of course, shocked at that command that descended on her rather disrespectfully from heaven. But besides shock, I saw something else: hesitation. I wouldn't have been surprised if she had raised her middle finger. She finally obeyed, walked back home, but her reluctance was visible: she looked over her shoulder a few more times, sulking, the beginning of rebellion. If that drone hadn't been chasing her, I'm sure she would just have turned around again, because she had other plans for today. It’s none of your business, voice, you could almost hear her thoughts. Sillyness. This woman may not have been in Tienamin Square, but still, I'll be honest with you: I cheered for her. I was hoping for that raised middle finger. Two months ago.
The second image is of an old man. Rome, earlier this month.
An old man is crossing a square that was never this empty before. His head bowed, every stride seems to be harder on him. No car this time with bulletproof glass, no crowds behind the barriers, no flashlights, no cameras. No cardinals rushing with umbrellas, no helpers today, this is between him and the Big Man. Watch him go, humble and small as man, I would almost say naked (I will probably never understand men in drag inside the Vatican).
There he goes on behalf of all of us. On his way to ask all our questions, hoping to hear something that connects or comforts, that would be nice in these strange times, any word of wisdom is welcomed. But please, please, we implore You, no raised middle fingers, not now.