I feel like I need to depart from my usual source of creativity, and for this moment right now, I am compelled to reach out to you personally.
Someone told me something recently that I think was spot on. They said, “We’re all in this together, but we’re not all in the same boat.” Think about that for a moment. We’re all sharing in this collective experience with its challenges and obstacles, except we’re not all seeing it from the same perspective.
After months of insulating my son from most of what’s happening in the world around him, our family finally sat down one day, and I outlined just how different things are right now, depending on where you are. I explained that although everyone is having to make sacrifices, expend effort in order to keep each other safe and well, not everyone is sharing in the same experience. I continued with some examples, such as the ER doctors exhausted physically and mentally from all the sickness around them, and their efforts to tend to those sick patients. The family who just months earlier was making their summer camp plans and suddenly, out of nowhere, it seems, they experience an unexpected job loss in the middle of a pandemic. They’re now in a place they never imagined they would ever be, and they’re scared. The single person trying to make it on his or her own, working “essential” jobs just to pay the rent—except one of those jobs suddenly is shut down. Now, they don’t have enough money to cover the bills next month, and they’re afraid of being evicted. On the flip side, there are college students enjoying spring break on the beaches of Florida, among other places, seemingly with no sense of concern at all about catching the virus. There are adults and families taking vacations, dining out, and being the lifeline to keep small businesses afloat by continuing to use their services. Different individuals, families, adults, and children living totally different lives within the very same existence.
For those whose jobs are still intact, whose families are well, whose only complaint is the inconveniences they have to endure when they go to the market, or what they aren’t able to do because of shutdowns, rejoice at this moment! Rejoice in the fact that your inconveniences aren’t life-threatening, or financially devastating. Rejoice in the blessing that you can go to bed each night relaxed, knowing tomorrow’s going to be okay.
For those that are hurting, you’re who I’m most concerned about. I know you’re dealing with things now that seem overwhelming, possibly because they are. You go to bed afraid and you wake up worried. You went from thinking about vacation plans to wondering how you’re going to make it to the end of the month. If you’re an essential worker, you’re worried if you’ll get sick, and if so, if you’ll be okay, and if so, what happens then, because you’ve missed work and therefore you can’t pay your bills. If you’re elderly in a nursing home, you’re struggling with isolation and the inherent depression that soon follows, wondering how long it will be before you see your loved ones in person again. Teachers uncertain how to navigate these new waters, while trying to stay well and keep your students and families well in the process, I’m concerned about all of you.
The challenges are enough on their own to deal with, but, more importantly, I’m concerned about your emotional state of mind. I want you to know that if it seems like no one notices, no one realizes what you’re dealing with, understand that someone does, and that’s me and I’m not the only one. I see you. I want you to be okay. I want you to know you’ll get through this. The answers aren’t always clear at the moment, but eventually, they appear when the timing is right. I want you to hang on. Take each day and, if necessary, do just what you have to do to make it through that day, and don’t let go of the hope you have for the future. This challenge is now; it’s not forever. You don’t need to figure out how to solve your problems for a lifetime, just for this moment. Reach out to others, those you know, and for services you never thought about before. Do whatever you have to do to get yourself through this. Those same waves that are beating you now will lift and guide you to shore eventually. But only if you keep paddling. You’re not alone. With the dawn of each new day, a new opportunity arises that can CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Your sun WILL rise again. May God bless you and your family.
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