What will we remember of this time, when the world came to a standstill? Will we remember that it felt like a summer vacation in our backyards, or that we were paralyzed with fear, not knowing if our children would have a backyard to play in come next month? Were we cooking up delicacies, or waiting for a hastily slapped-together jelly sandwich from an overworked volunteer? Were we prettying up our homes with paint, or pacing the hallway while on hold with the unemployment office for the second straight hour? Were we playing Scrabble with our families, or staring blank-eyed at the television screen?
Guilt, grief, isolation, peace, gratitude, anxiety, uncertainty, helplessness - we've all been riding a rollercoaster no matter which of the questions above describe our situation. But, grief feels very different depending on which of the questions above applies to you. Is this where the divisiveness of our responses to this situation comes from? Because we are only seeking answers to the questions that apply to us?
Time has opened up for us, been handed to us whether we asked for it or not. Is it a welcome respite from mad-dash commutes, or has it opened up a chasm into which you find yourself falling? An unwelcome gift, that you would gladly return, if it meant returning to a bustling Saturday night at the restaurant that was your pride and joy, or the Senior Prom which will never be a reality now?
I have no answers, only thoughts. All we have is here, and now. The past, whether glorious or merely tolerable, can simply not be recreated. The future is covered with a haze, that of the unknown, no matter how longed for. What we can do, is learn from generations past. Try not to repeat the mistakes of our forefathers, but take a step forward, and then another after that. Be mindful of the place we have in this inter-connected web of life, and preserve a space for the next person. Share, not hoard. Understand, not condemn. And hope that someone will extend the same to us. Not because we deserve it, but because they care enough.
Wife, mother, baker, jam maker, hug dispenser, reader.