I don’t have to explain that our world is a lot to handle right now. Social distancing, a phrase that meant nothing to us in the U.S. one week ago, is our new way of life. Some companies have lucky employees working from home while others have been forced to lay off workers and shut down completely. Schools are closed, forcing teachers to educate students virtually. Churches are no longer permitted to gather as a body of Christ in a physical location. We are learning a new normal.
Everyone is affected.
Yesterday our child care closed its doors to families with non-essential jobs in order to exclusively serve health care worker families. In my heart, I applaud them for this move. They are ensuring that those most critical in our society to the survival of others will be able to go to work and treat patients. In my head, I’m screaming.
My two-year-old daughter demands all of my time and attention while my client-facing job requires focus and undivided attention. I don’t know how these two elements will work together; my gut instinct is that they won’t. I foresee myself becoming stressed-out and exhausted while my clients become frustrated with my distraction.
I’m scared of everything right now. Of how long this will last, of how many more people will get ill and die, of the economic climate causing one or both of us to lose our jobs, of the situation worsening to the point that hospitals can no longer treat everyone (it happened in China and Italy). Every way I look at the situation, there is fear.
I desperately want to see people right now, hug them, and tell them I love them. I am an extrovert; being around people is how I recharge. In just a short time of social distancing, my tank is empty. I need my family and friends more than ever before, and their physical presence is not allowed. I know it is temporary. I know there is a very good reason for it. But the sting of loneliness is still prevalent, even with my husband and daughter close by.
I’m angry at the situation. I don’t understand why this happened, but I’m angry that this is where we are. Last night, I lashed out for no reason other than my husband said it was best not to see my family for a belated birthday celebration, as we had planned for over a month. I’m angry because he’s right.
When I think about those on the front lines at hospitals, doctors’ offices, urgent care facilities, and pharmacies, my heart breaks with gratitude. Those people have families too, families that want them to stay healthy, not to mention keep the virus out of their own homes. Yet they bravely go to work each day, treating patients and providing medication in the face of a deadly virus. Those in the health care industry deserve all of our respect right now in the middle of this crisis, and every day.
This, too, shall pass. One day we will be permitted to go out again, hug our loved ones again, and make small talk with neighbors and strangers at stores. In the meantime, those who are sharing virtual stories, songs, and science experience with kids who are stuck at home give me hope. Strangers on the internet who write encouraging articles give me hope. People who are hanging Christmas lights in March because everyone needs some light in the darkness give me hope. Hope is desperately needed right now, and it is here, a little glimmer of good in a time of crisis.