What a time to be alive… And to keep stayin’ alive!. The world has been experiencing varying levels of concern, crisis and mayhem due to the spread of the COVID 19 virus, and here in the United States, our time to get serious about doing our part to slow the spread has really descended upon us. The past couple of weeks have been a bit surreal to say the least… Of course we have seen the worldwide coverage of the way this virus has swept entire communities off of their feet, and there has been a growing concern for many of us, especially those who travel frequently or work in healthcare and other front line positions. Our toilet paper aisles have been telling us for a few weeks now that apparently a huge wave of shit is coming our way… But until very recently, we have been conducting business as usual.
Oh, but no more… When the World Health Organization officially announced that we are experiencing a global pandemic, America abruptly joined the rest of the world in a social distancing, self-quarantining, toilet paper hoarding, 20 second hand washing frenzy. Until that point, our country saw COVID-19 being approached with bold denial, dangerous conspiracy theories and misleading tweets about how the virus is just like a flu. Sigh. For so many of us, that bellow of blatant denial - of so many realities - is something we have grown so very tired of.
Would it be totally wrong of me to admit that there is an element of relief in seeing the extreme actions our nation has finally taken to address this virus? Acknowledgement of reality is like a bittersweet medicine in times of turmoil. There is a peculiar relief in seeing people rally together and face this with all of their feelings, because for so many issues it has felt like our house is on fire and people are saying it’s fine.
In the midst of this global timeout, it feels like time has taken on a new form. Many describe this feeling as an abrupt and screeching switch to a new train track, with life pulling millions of people inside from their jobs to implement homeschooling with their children - all while figuring out how effective three squares of toilet paper can be when you really need them to be... It's a tender time of adaptation... Slowing down to listen, and trying to digest the reality of how uncertain everything feels.
A couple of crisp evenings ago, I took my little dingo out for a walk at the base of a beautiful red mountain in our neighborhood. Unlike our pre-pandemic walks, where we almost always have the whole trail to ourselves, tonight’s walk was different. The normally silent red rock trail was alive with voices calling out, friends playing in the outdoors, dogs walking their people, lawnmowers buzzing in the neighboring streets… The wind was alive. Cool and clean, with tones of freshly cut grass, grilled peppers and each home’s dinner smells wafting by as I walked behind these neighborhoods.
Life in my community feels different, and life in every community feels different. For those of us who are able to continue working and have a little extra to give, now is a really important time to offer our help and services to those who may need us. Offering childcare, bringing meals to those who may be sick and can’t get out, delivering prescriptions to the elderly, sharing a roll of toilet paper and volunteering to make school lunches for kids to pick up during the school shutdowns are a few of the ways we can extend our energy to others.
There are countless ways that people are extending acts of kindness and service to neighbors, family members, friends and strangers. It’s one of the most humbling silver linings in the midst of human crises, and we are seeing multitudes of helpers emerge. As we voyage deeper into one of the most strange and uncertain times in human history, let’s all do what we can to be those helpers. Be the one who leaves the last bag of rice for the next person; be the one who waves at strangers - from afar; be the one who stays at home like the home staying heroes we need.
And if you are blessed with an excess of toilet paper? For the love of all of humanity, please share. Spare a square! And take care :)