Saturday, March 21, 2020

there is a light

"There is a light
We can't always see
And there is a world
We can't always be
If there is a dark
That we shouldn't doubt
And there is a light
Don't let it go out..." 
-U2, 13 (There Is A Light)

To bother with saying the world has changed seems silly at this point. We all know.

The world is standing on its head, because of something we can't even see with the naked eye. Something effectively invisible, unless the tools of science are employed.

In many ways, that is the height of terror, isn't it?

And so here we are, waking in the morning and hoping maybe this was all a bad dream, and things are still normal, and we'll go to work, or the kids will go to school, and we'll go to happy hour on Friday night, like usual.
But things aren't normal, and we won't do any of these things in any normal way, probably for quite awhile.

And you know what?
It sucks.
It really does.
It sucks.

But simply, the only way out... is through.

Over the past few weeks, and particularly this week, I'm sure we've all learned a lot, and received some important reminders. I don't know what it's been like for you, but here are a few things I've learned / reminders I've received in these days.

I've learned that it's worth turning mute "off" every so often during teleconferences so that we can hear each other laugh.

I'm reminded that many people genuinely do care and want to help one another, even when there are some among us hoarding toilet paper and basic supplies. My coworkers and I are a fairly tight group, but this week was full of unexpected emails and text messages to each other, saying things like, "If you need anything, remember I'm just a couple streets away", "I want you to know, I really appreciate working with you on this project and I'm glad we're in this together"; calling into a telecon and being greeted with, "Hey stranger! It's good to hear your voice...".

Yes, seemingly invisible things are amazing. They have very visible effects! They can terrify us, they can upend our lives, they can cause irrational behavior, but they can also remind us that the most important things in life, of course, are not things, but each other.

I'm not going to lie, this work week was stressful. I don't mind mixing things up now and then, but it's truly difficult when your routine is *completely disrupted*. It's hard to go from meetings and project work with your coworkers in the same room to telecons and emails and working from your living room with your dogs (and no, I'm not complaining about the dog part!).

Right now, I don't know if there's enough wine in the world, or enough long afternoon runs, to get through this. I do know there are plenty of tears, and yes, some of them are my own.

But the only way out, is through.
And the only way to get through this, is to keep hope alive.

So whatever it is that buoys you, that keeps your spirits up, that keeps your hope fueled, do that. Pray. Meditate. Exercise (obviously, in an appropriately socially-distanced manner). Have a glass of wine over a video chat with friends. Watch a movie. Play a game with your kids. Bake. Dance. Sit in a candlelit room at night.

And check in with the people in your life, particularly those who might be scared (and yes, it's okay if you're scared, too), or who are especially vulnerable.

Please, friends, keep each other safe, stay home unless you absolutely cannot, and stay healthy.  

There is a light. Don't let it go out. 

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