For many of us in the U.S., this marks more than six months that we have been in quarantine. I refer to it as ‘self solituding’ and the experience has been both terrifying and comforting. In mid-March, as the buds were beautifully blossoming, I was turning inward, attempting to wrap my mind around the possibility […]
Since the self-solituding began for me five weeks ago, I find myself in the delicate balance between sheer terror and complete faith that all is well, even if it looks like the farthest thing from the truth. Having been through major losses (my husband, both parents and two dear friends in the past 21 years), our home in Hurricane Andrew in 1992, an ectopic pregnancy that same year, shingles, heart attack, kidney stones four times and pneumonia from 2013 to a month or so ago, I have become quite resilient and what passes for competent to handle anything that has come my way. I tell myself that this is different. There is nowhere to go where the virus is not. It is impacting every person on the planet in one way or another.
My personal and professional roles overlap. Caregiver is what is stamped on my forehead. I tell myself that I need to keep it together to help other people keep it together. That means my psychotherapy clients who I continue to see via telehealth as well as friends and family. Rarely do I reach out without first asking how they each are. Of course, once they tell me, they check in with me. They listen, tell jokes, laugh and cry with me, rage about the way our government handled this from the get-go and continues to stretch the bounds of common decency in the face of so much loss. Some reach out to me first. I wake up in a panic some mornings, dive deep into prayer, asking for whatever it takes to get me through this surrealistic time.
I do my God-wrestling, insisting to know how this can go on, how it began in the first place, how those in positions of power continue to flaunt it rather than act for the common good, and can seem like they have Teflon shields over their hearts. The God of my understand seems not to want to provide those answers other than it mini bites that come to me in dreams. Each night for the last few weeks, I have sneak peek snippets of life after this in which people are once again able to come together to love and hug in person. I miss that more than anything else. Virtual hugs have had to suffice in the interim.
I was telling someone about an experience I had several years ago. At the time I was working at an inpatient psychiatric hospital as a social worker. The grounds were beautiful and peaceful and a place where I loved to walk when I needed a respite from work-related stress. One day, I was having what I now call a God-versation asking for guidance. The loud and clear response was, “Have I ever dropped you? Have things not worked out better than you had imagined?” I smiled and had to agree with the Divine’s reasoning. A moment later, a truck drove by on a nearby road. On it was inscribed the letters G.O.D. which stood for Guaranteed Overnight Delivery. Perfect timing. At this moment, I would like that kind of reassurance. I want to believe that we are all being held safely. I want to believe that despite how dark it seems at the time, that the light will shine through it. I want to believe that this will be more likely to bring out the best rather than the worst in people. I want to believe, rather than teeter-tottering back and forth between grace and fear that I can maintain the necessary balance to wait it out until we create a better new normal for the world.
Let love prevail!