TWO-LANE LIFE - Limbo - By Lisa Hayes-Minney

By Lisa Hayes-Minney It’s that perfect time of year. Cool evenings, not too warm days, jackets needed for early mornings and late evenings. The leaves are just starting to turn, and I’m wearing socks again. It is time for the last hay cutting of the season, for clearing the gardens, for mums, bonfires, soup, hot chocolate, and cozy blankets.

The recent surge of COVID cases in our county challenged my ability to embrace the season over the last few weeks, but the picture-perfect weekend brought me back to almost normal. I was frustrated, lethargic, and without focus. My patience was minimal, my incentive extinguished. I unplugged from the news and map manipulations, from the politics and the pressure leading to the election. I had a bubble bath, baked a pan of brownies, pulled out the crock pots, and put away the summer wardrobe. A weekend with a little self-care has reminded me to appreciate my favorite season.

The world has never been perfect, but during this pandemic, it seems we are called to compromise more often, to lower our standards more and more often. Author C.S. Lewis said, “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.” Lately, it seems that often, no one is watching. Or, if they are watching, they just don’t care. Perhaps they’re just waiting to cast their votes.

Too often, I care too much. I like to think I have high standards. I like to do things properly, like to see things “done right.” After nine months of 2020, it is clear and obvious: mistakes have been made. I have nearly come to the point where I no longer care. But I still care enough to vote.

This year has put us all in long-term limbo, an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution, an intermediate state or condition. But I recently discovered a different definition of limbo. in Roman Catholic theology, Limbo is the place between heaven and hell for souls who are not damned but are denied joyful eternal life with God in heaven. Limbo is also considered as a place or state of imprisonment or confinement. Lately, it seems our captors have lost their minds.

Oh yes, this is the year of limbo. An uncertain period awaiting a resolution, a condition between heaven and hell, a state of confinement. I used to think of limbo as a quiet floating condition--light, slow, and easy like astronauts in zero gravity. But I now liken it more to Chinese water torture, a painful process in which cold water is slowly dripped onto the scalp, forehead, or face for a prolonged period, allegedly making the restrained victim insane.

As I write this, we are 38 days away from the election. COVID is one stream of water droplets in this 2020 torture, the pending election is another. I don’t subscribe to the magical thinking that COVID will dissipate after the election, but I do think some of the pressure on us, on our country, might subside. Or… explode. I guess it all depends on who gets elected, and how many of us care.

Limbo is also a video game released in 2010. It is a 2D puzzle-platform game in which the player guides an unnamed boy through dangerous environments and traps as he searches for his sister. The developer built the game's puzzles expecting the player to fail again and again, calling the style of play "trial and death." The game is presented in black-and-white tones, an eerie atmosphere comparable to film noir. Reviewers classified Limbo as an example of video games as an art form.

A game with two-dimensional limited mobility… in an eerie but artistic atmosphere… searching for a resolution amongst threats and dangers… designed for the player to repeatedly fail.

I’m not sure which definition of limbo is most appropriate for describing this year. Can I go with all the above?

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