Even though one of my sons is a mathematician, math was not my favorite subject. But I clearly remember in about 3rd or 4th grade being introduced to finding the least common denominators of fractions for the purpose of adding them. I loved finding them and wouldn’t be so delighted again with math until ratios and proportions.
I was just thinking how the pandemic has been a bit like that. Many of us are coming to understand getting back to the basics—things and people we can count on, what the really essential essentials are, getting to the point of what is most important to us and what the non-negotiables are. This is a good exercise on the way to living more simply.
One of the rewards of discovering living more simply is gratitude. Another reward is peace and less striving and competing. Another reward is being able to better identify with those many others who must live simply all the time because of circumstance, including frank poverty. Even the bothersome wearing of hot masks simplifies for some of us our need to “make up” and allows us to just be, as we are.
The struggles and pains we are having with coming to grips with the reality of discrimination in our society seem to be at a point of critical mass where we must decide what we believe needs to stay and what we believe needs to go. This process is at once purifying and terrifying to each of us in our own way. Our mental health is stretched to the limits as there are so many changes and so much uncertainty to deal with. Patience and breathing through it are required.
I think a fraction reduced to its least common denominator seems stronger and makes it possible to relate to other fractions with different denominators. Perhaps we are being reduced to our common denominators, and, in the end, strength will come of it.