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This is the way the world ends.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

The ending words of this poem, The Hollow Men, from T.S. Eliot, drifted into my consciousness early Sunday morning as I prepared to go to church and livestream a service from an empty sanctuary.

The poem records an empty synaptic space, a space where we're paralyzed between stimulus and response, uncertain of how to react in a world-changing moment.

I've been reading about the lack of shared grief, of empathy, at a time when the coronavirus has taken nearly 100,000 American lives.

You want to scream but nothing comes out. You drink your coffee, then your wine. You stare into the screen.

***

In case death had not come near enough, in case evil had not made its dark power visible enough -- yesterday, about 20 blocks from my house, a black man named George Floyd was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer, who knelt on his neck until he collapsed. Millions…

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