Week 3 and things haven’t changed at all. In fact, we all have these gut feelings that they’ve actually gotten worse. This morning, I saw my son pull into the driveway from his night shift at the ER. I grabbed the dog and waited by the window to wave at him before he entered the house.
Except he didn’t.
He stayed outside in his car for 30 minutes. I couldn’t see what he was doing, but I was worried. What if he fell asleep from exhaustion – should I call him to wake him up? Or maybe he’s listening to a podcast and just wants to finish it. Or he’s undressing out of his scrubs so he doesn’t take them into the house?
The dog and I waited. He didn’t leave his car. She was pretty heavy so I leaned against the window with her full weight on my arm. Finally, I ran to the living room to get my glasses so I could see exactly what my son was doing.
He was sitting in his car, staring out the window.
And so I decided to leave him alone.
An hour later, after he was showered and cleaned up, my son came up to the kitchen to get a drink.
“Good morning,” I chirped. “Saw you sitting in the car! Izzy and I wanted to say hi. Are you okay?”
“Long, horrible night, mom. I can’t talk about it.”
So you see, folks. What we’ve been feeling is real and valid. Things aren’t that great right now, and I think it’s okay to be freaked out. I received so many messages from my last blog post – words of encouragement and hope, but most especially words from people who like me, needed permission to admit that we didn’t have to hold the world up in warmth and positivity. At least not for the whole time. We’re allowed to feel lost and isolated.
Most importantly, we’re allowed to question our beliefs.
We’ve been complacent in this aspect. Social media has made everything and everyone so accessible, we stopped waxing philosophical about things that were inanimate or unattainable. And now, faced with so much disillusion about the world, our leaders and the idiosyncrasies of being human, we are filled with doubt.
But it’s the path we choose when faced with confusion that defines how we stay sane during this time of apprehension. We can choose to take very minute, every hour, everyday that we have together with our families to appreciate the things we’ve taken for granted.
Like grocery shopping.
Or family dinners.
Or getting into your car and driving around the block.
Counting your shoes and realizing how many pairs you don’t need.
Running. Even if you’ve always hated it. You’re in open air and the wind is on your face and there’s nothing you hate about it anymore.
For 35 years, I have gone to bed each night with one single prayer. A prayer of gratitude for the people I love, the people who love me, the people who I don’t love and those who don’t love me. Each night I’ve prayed that I may one day deserve all the blessings I’ve received. I still receive those blessings today. Despite what is happening around me, despite the fact that I am not immune to this disease, that I may be exposed to it more than most of you with a son who is on the front lines – despite questioning what we’ve done to piss off the universe so much that this feels like such a payback – I am grateful.
Gratitude gives me strength.
Gratitude gives me hope.
Gratitude takes me away from anger and disappointment.
Gratitude will light the way, steer our path and keep us rooted in our faith. Don’t get lost. We need each other. Right here.
On this Palm Sunday, no matter what your faith – there is significance in Jesus arriving in Jerusalem, hailed for a moment and then crucified at the next. This is the cycle of life. And as in all things, this too shall pass.
Stay home, Stay Safe, Stay healthy.