Those words come from Macbeth's soliloquy, the most often quoted soliloquy penned by the Bard himself, William Shakespeare. The words resonate for me these days, when I work long hours and my days have few boundaries. One day takes the shape of the next. The heart of the passage from the play Macbeth Act 5, Scene 5 reads like this:
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more.
It's pretty language but simplified it means that sometimes life can be a long walk from one day to the next and can seem meaningless. In the play, Macbeth speaks after he's learned of his wife's death by her own hand so it's a low moment in his life. It's no surprise that his thoughts would be dark.
And for most of us living in the dystopia that 2020 has become, we relate - we're creeping in this petty pace from day to day. I've been working from home since March 12, eighty-one days today and counting. If I look back over my planner, there are so many events and activities that won't happen this year, that were cancelled. A few have been postponed but right now, it's a toss up if they happen at all.
At this point, the company (Gannett) has told us in our online meetings that returning to the office will be a slow process, tentatively beginning in mind-June and continuing into September, all dependent on what happens next with COVID-19. And, I have been informed that no one must go unless we are 100% comfortable with it. So far, I'm not there.
Stranger still is the reality that when I resume a workday routine away from home, it will be in a different space. I've been asked by many and it's true - the building that has long housed the Neosho Daily News has been sold. I have viewed several properties and when the time comes, we have corporate approval, I will share where we land.
Some of my favorite things to do and places to be are church, restaurants, libraries, and traveling. All have changed now, almost beyond recognition. I've covered a few live meetings in recent weeks but many are still virtual. Our lives have been put on hold indefinitely. I venture out into stores on occasion but prefer to have items delivered or use pick-up. I wear a mask when I go out - something some think unnecessary - and take all precautions. That's not just to protect myself but others.
So, while I relate to Macbeth's words after a period where tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow have marched past in mundane style, there are other words that also resonate. From a hymn we often sing at church - my life goes on in endless song - how can I keep from singing?
The lesson Macbeth may have missed is this - as long as there is hope, while there is faith, there is light that triumphs over these dark days. The darkest may be yet to come - the uncertainty is another weight in most of our lives right now - but through it all, I remember that the Lord remains Lord of all so how can I keep from singing?
-Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is the community for the Neosho Daily News and The Aurora Advertiser as well as local market leader. She is also a writer and author.