The significance of the date may have, at one time, been the ominous deadline for income taxes to be filed. Unless of course, you receive a refund, then your return has probably been filed since January. In all likelihood, it is safe to assume it may also be someone’s birthday, anniversary, or just another hump day. Although there are still consistently 24 hours in a day, with the rising and setting of the sun, the current events we are all presently experiencing sadly characterize another day in quarantine due to COVID-19. Honestly, it is with the deliberate intention that I am keeping track of the day. Unlike getting lost in time while enjoying a week’s vacation, the grasp of this new “normal” has been tricky to navigate. Ironically, it doesn’t feel very normal at all.
I’m at a loss. I don’t think anyone could have ever imagined the impact of this pandemic, personally or worldwide. I’m not knowledgeable in the exact statistics, politics, or the economic repercussions but I certainly don’t live under a rock. And I can tell you that while I’m compliant with all recommended protocol, I refuse to call any of my new routine normal. Each day that passes by serves as a constant reminder of so much change and loss. I think the worst of it is that there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight which has placed us all in the same boat rowing upstream against the tide without a paddle or a compass. On the flip side, making the best of it has been eye opening.
I have had a job since I was 12 years old. I started out babysitting and when I turned 16, I got my first real job at the “Cookie Factory”. Lifeguarding filled my days consecutively every Summer during high school so I always had means to put gas in my car and soak up all the sun I could. Presently, to be temporarily unemployed from two jobs I am blessed to have and enjoy is surreal. I now find myself flailing as if I have no direction or course of action. There is no significance in knowing what day or time it is except for the consumption of food and drink. Apparently it’s 5 o’clock anytime, everywhere, and trips to the local liquor store have been deemed essential. Mind you, I’m also exercising, reading and cleaning; all in moderation of course. Social media has become a valuable means of bonding us together with the apps Zoom and House Party. We can virtually “see” our friends and family to connect and heal our hearts somewhat. But if I’m being honest, it’s missing the mark for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic alternative and has been helping many to cope with the perpetual boredom of daily life now. I just miss people. I miss my people. I miss looking in someone’s eyes while they are talking to me. I crave hugs and smiles. None of this feels normal and I absolutely refuse to surrender and allow what we are all dealing with to change me or my attitude.
It’s a minute to minute decision and struggle to press on and forward. Some days are easier than others. And as I type that, I feel ridiculous because I’m home. I’m safe at home. I can’t even begin to imagine what the lives of the healthcare professionals and essential workers are like. The strength, commitment, and fear they are living and breathing every day have to be so overwhelming. It’s all just so much to process and find any morsel of peace in. Appreciation for them is evident everywhere, yet all I can think of is how valuable an embrace would be. One that holds on tight and transfers my strength to them. I will never again take for granted the ability to wrap my arms around another human being. Never, ever.
I don’t know about your personal experience, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume I’m not alone. We are built for human interaction and connection. And while social distancing is so important and necessary now, I have HOPE that it’s temporary. Complying with the protocol now will enable us to understand and prevent any more tragic losses of life. It’s staggering and scary when I try to digest what the big picture is. Being home and isolated creates a bubble so I try to balance my priorities and only watch about 10 minutes of the news each day. Small doses of reality seem to be more manageable for me and don’t tip the scale to the dark side.
And I walk. I go outside, let the sun beat down on me and keep my head up on purpose. Lilacs are my favorite and the air is filled with their scent. I breathe it in. I notice the birds just doing their thing. The other day I asked God to show me a cardinal. Cardinals are supposed to represent a loved one who has passed who comes to visit you. I really needed to see one. A few days went by; I saw none. Then while walking recently, crazy as it seems, I heard in my head “if you want to see one you have to look up”. About another 20 paces, my gaze lifted and guess what? Not one, but two cardinals were right in front of me. It made me stop in my tracks! Believe it or not, it gave me hope. It was all I needed at that moment to find a little peace. And that’s all we can do right now. Find what soothes your heart. Feel whatever you’re feeling and just know it’s temporary. Take inventory of all you have to be grateful for, no matter how small it may seem, and I guarantee it will sustain you until your next moment.
None of this is even close to easy. All of our experiences are unique and the challenges we are facing are extraordinary. My intention is to reach out and remind you you aren’t alone. I see you and my heart hurts for you. I’m praying for you. Just hang on and keep looking up…
Wrapping my arms around you with love,