We have been through a great deal of upheaval in our lifetimes, wars, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. But our current situation is unprecedented, and it’s very hard to know how to reassure our loved ones that everything will be fine and life will return to normal. Employment, money, health, food, etc. are all things that we work for and have always expected to be there. But now, they seem in jeopardy, and hopefully, just for a very short term. To add to the anxiety, our movements and entertainment venues are restricted and life is a fraction of what it was just a few weeks ago. Plus, the “when will it end” question keeps weighing on us, and our anxiety will increase until a solution is found.
So, how do you cope in this most unsettling time? There are the CDC guidelines to help protect your yourself from infection (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html); your own personal preferences of calming yourself (prayer, meditation, exercise); and finally, just observing the day to day in a more focused, more aware manner. You usually miss the beauty of the everyday since you are running from here to there and attending to the duties of the day. So, one of the ways to help cope, is to listen to others and feel their thoughts, observe the everyday, and what you have missed before.
Here’s some of mine from the past few days:
- An early morning supermarket trip to get the newspaper, which turned into a lesson in what people will eye and then do to get milk.
- Discussion with a friend who has a child in Northern Italy and cannot get to her, nor she to them.
- Discussions with my son and son-in-law who work in the financial industry. Exercises in calmness and shock.
- Call from a grandson, who was upset he missed my call, but finished with “I love you.”
- A daughter fretting over the future, but who’s making cookies with her kids and flour is all over the place.
- Turning off the television because it adds nothing.
- Looking at the deserted beach, playing music and realizing what a beautiful place this is.
- Call from a daughter and then the grandkids sitting around the outdoor firepit, which is getting a lot of good use.
- Same grandkids telling me how many shots they took at the hockey net.
- Watching a young couple on skateboards holding hands, moving each other down the sidewalk and just laughing.
- Our neighbors, walking down the same sidewalk, much slower than they did a few years back.
- Playing “Born on the Bayou” by Creedence with my head still bopping.
- My wife, reading her fourth book this week, and telling me I should REALLY read this one.
- Friends who want to pull me into a political discussion, but I refuse since this is much bigger than that.
- Watching the sunset over the Gulf and walking the beach with my wife of 47 years. The surf and the birds never change.
- Recalling a grandson who tells me at the most inopportune moments, “This is crazy, Grandpa. It’s just crazy.”
Yes, it is.
We’ll get through this, bruised, scared and less wealthy. But the days and experiences will continue and you’ll probably smile more at the everyday. The Jesuits have a great mantra, “God is in everything.” It’s very hard to see right now, but it’s true. Find it and you’ll be better.
Continue your great life and be more aware of what’s really important. Look forward and continue to work and live hard so you can be the best you can be.
Keep safe and be well!