“This,” of course, being the great virus calamity that is before us all.
this all really sucks.
I said it.
I’ve been telling myself to write blog posts all week, posts to uplift and encourage and bring hope to the midst of this awful ache. That is my mantra as a writer, after all. Words of hope in the midst of the hard.
But I don’t have any words like that in me right now. Even when I dig deep, I can’t find them.
I didn’t want to write a blog post like this, but then I started thinking, what if everyone else really feels like this, too? What if the people writing good and pleasant and hopeful words are making it up, and underneath we all really just feel like this all really sucks?
My cousin who is the best pastor I know (even though he’s never had a traditional pulpit) told me to read a Psalm for a bit of comfort. Good stuff, the Psalms.
But right now, I’m feeling a little more like Lamentations.
How deserted lies the city, once so full of people!
It’s not in my nature to write about despair without offering the balance of hope. But today, I can’t help it. Any maybe someone else needs to hear that.
Maybe someone else needs to know that it’s okay if you are mad about moving that wedding you’ve been planning for a year, or not walking across that stage at your college in May, or losing your retirement fund when you’re 64 1/2, or losing your business just when you were on the verge of making a profit for the first time.
Maybe someone else needs to know it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and helpless that the schools are closed and you have no child care and you can’t call off work another time.
Maybe someone else needs to know it’s okay if you’re feeling constantly on the verge of a panic attack because you’re a nurse like me or a physician or an EMT, and based on the constant updates at work, PPE and Purel make us feel like we’re wielding wet noodles at The Terminator.
Maybe someone else needs to know it’s alright to be furious about it all.
I’m sorry I don’t have much more to say than this today.
I tried a little self-care the last couple of days by bringing out some paint and canvases. My own little wine and canvas party.
I painted a couple of barns.
And when I looked up, the sun was setting.
Fire orange and fuchsia pink right outside my back door.
A man rolled his cart past me and we eyeballed each other. I took one look in his basket, full of a variety of frozen burritos that he appeared to have strong-armed in there like a bulldozer, and I set the Hot Pockets back.
I moved on, feeling smaller and more panicked by the minute as I passed the empty freezer cases, past a stray package of frozen eggplant, a frozen, cauliflower crust extra olive pizza, a section of frozen corn on the cob with obvious freezer burn.
On and on the empty sections gaped at me, and I back at them.
What in the world?
There are no shortages, the press tries to remind us.
This is not a natural disaster, the media drones.
If only everyone takes what they need, they say.
What I need is for my senior college nursing student to be able to take his long-awaited mission trip to the Dominican Republic that is now cancelled.
What I need is for my middle college son, studying in New York City, to come home before they lock down the area or the airports to travel.
What we all need is assurance that we will come out the other side of this unscathed.
No wonder England printed those signs during war times:
Easy for them to say.
Easy for anyone to say.
Hard, so very hard, for us to do.
What was it Mr. Rogers said? Look for the helpers? We could all use a helper about now, that’s for sure.
But we can help each other.
That’s the one sure thing we do have, right? Each other?
Social distancing doesn’t mean heart distancing, after all.
We can post our own signs of keeping calm, signs like kindness, like patience, like checking on each other.
We can take care of ourselves, too.
Having flown just days ago, I am reminded to put on my own oxygen mask before helping the person seated next to me. That means reaching for the tools I have been taught to use to keep my PTSD at bay,
things like writing and painting,
and my faith.
In this world, we will have trouble, that much is certain. Life can strip us from much. Plans and markets and governments can quake.