I’ve tried to write some thoughts during these days of sheltering-in. But I just keep coming back to questions, not answers. If I could, I would like to sit across from you at a bustling coffee shop and ask if you feel these things too. For now, my digital reaching out will have to do. You are not alone. Does it seem like the birds are singing louder on your street these days of quarantine?
Do you miss your grandparents who have passed away even more now?
I feel parched for the wisdom of their lifetime—of wars, economic depressions and poverty. More than ever I wish I had learned more from them.
Do you swing almost hourly between gratitude and grumpy?
Are you completely bored with everything your blessed spouse has to say? Does it feel like you can’t possibly cook and clean up one more meal for your grown-ass children who are starving all. the. time?
Are you straight sick of your own inner narrative?
How many times can a parent break up a sibling argument in one day before she herself breaks out in hives from stress?
What is the actual damage to the brain of a child who watches this much streamed television? What’s the actual data on that?
How many times can one refresh a news feed before it’s considered insane, gerbil-wheeling behavior?
Are you nagged by this feeling that you should be using this time to create some really incredible art? Do you take a nap instead and then feel exponentially worse afterward?
Can you be your child’s only playmate one more time today?
Have you stopped counting carbs, gluten, lactose, alcohol intake? When is the last time you put on mascara?
What does it say about me that I can stare for nearly an hour at a wall and not have any clear, cohesive thoughts? Has my brain shut down in some areas? Have I developed cerebral gray matter for lack of social stimulation?
Why can’t I just get lost in a book? I now have so much time. Why can’t I just read a book? What is wrong with me?
Does it feel really exciting to turn your car on and drive to the grocery store? Do you hear old songs on the radio like it’s the first time ever?
Does anyone else feel happy to be going to the grocery store, (or anywhere) and then in the next breath feel afraid because you’ve just left your safe little house?
Have you looked at photos of yourself on your phone from two months ago and wondered who in the world is that person?
Could she ever have imagined there would be a global pandemic in just weeks?
Have you realized because of social distancing that you really do need people? Are you amazed, humbled, awed by the discovery that your best self is not an island?
Are you praying wild and wonderful prayers for days to come?
When your friend’s laughter at the dinner table is all that is so contagious? And are you longing like me, to be healed by it?
Are you holding fast as best you can to hope? Me too.
We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.