It’s been one month since the COVID-19 crisis around the world suddenly and drastically altered the fabric of our everyday lives. Two months ago, I never would have thought something like this was on the horizon. I never could have imagined witnessing a pandemic wipe out hundreds of thousands of lives around the world. Who knew state-ordered stay at home restrictions could even exist?! This is the stuff of history books and those end-of-the-world movies that we love.
Wear a mask. Wear gloves. Wash your hands 732 times a day. Don’t touch your face. Don’t hug your loved ones. Don’t even go over for a visit…
I’ve found myself on numerous occasions speaking on how CRAZY life is right now, how ODD and STRANGE it all feels. It’s like we’re all unpaid extras in an apocalyptic movie, set in a dystopian world where all the toilet paper is gone and the phrases “social distancing,” “flatten the curve,” and “stay home” are repeated over a loudspeaker every five minutes until our ears begin to bleed.
I’ve also found myself crying, or on the brink of tears at any given moment. No, this is not a daily occurrence, but some days are tougher than others. The realization that I haven’t physically been to work, serving the children I LOVE to serve since March 12th, being laid off from the second job and dealing with the likelihood of not going back until fall, or even later, has been emotionally taxing. All the academic and behavioral progress will likely yield to regression. Bonds with students will be tested…
So, earlier today I was browsing through Pinterest and found this quote:
“I am a human Being, not a human Doing. Don’t equate your self-worth with how well you do things in life. You aren’t what you do. If you are what you do, then when you don’t…you aren’t.” -Wayne Dyer
Throughout this shutdown of schools, stores, salons, restaurants, etc., trying to figure out how to remotely serve a student with deafblindness, and worrying about my afterschool kids and how they are being cared for, I’m reminded of just how passionate I am about serving and teaching children. Not only children with exceptionalities, but all children. Children bring me joy and lift my spirits. Though it can be absolutely, positively exhausting and stressful at times, I find great satisfaction in what I do.
Lately, I’ve been wondering, “what now?” “What am I supposed to do in the meantime?”
I’m realizing more every day that I am much more than my career; more than an educator and lover of children… We can’t dwell on what’s going “wrong” in our lives, how our life paths have been diverted seemingly out of the blue. It’s very easy to sit around continually grieving over ruined postponed plans, but that gets us nowhere, fast. Maybe we can’t do what we want right now, but we can do something beneficial and edifying in the meantime.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” -Melody Beattie
It’s often when people, things or opportunities are stripped away, that we realize how much we took them for granted. I’ve never wanted to go to the movies so much in my life until the theater doors closed. I’ve never been so eager to dine inside a fast food joint until I was forced to wait in a once convenient drive-thru line that’s wrapped around the building.
So many have died in lonely hospital rooms around the world. Separated from family and friends. Last breaths gone–unheard.
Too often, we fail to appreciate all that someone is to us until they’re gone.
In the meantime, while the distractions of our daily lives have been minimized, while many families are at home together, let’s be grateful for what and who we have in our lives. Even those relationships strained by distance can be strengthened in this meantime. Always let people know you love them and what they mean to you.
Though the Lenten season has come to an end, let us continue to look inward and upward during this time of physical distancing, while remaining spiritually and socially connected. Examine yourself. Use this limbo experience as a time for introspection and refinement. In what ways can you better yourself? What healthy habits can you develop? What skills can you fine-tune? Better yet, learn something new! Use this time to pray, write, clean, organize, reach out to people, write to an incarcerated loved one, exercise, create. Remember all those things you wanted to do, but never had the time or energy? Well…
You are more than a hairstylist. You are more than an athlete. You are more than a waitress. What we do is not who we are. We are all ESSENTIAL.
Strengthen your relationships (with God, yourself and others).
Perfect your craft/hustle.
Learn something new.
Keep your mind, body and spirit active.
Feel your feelings. We are human Beings. It’s natural and normal to cry, be fearful, anxious and confused. Just don’t stay there.