I feel afraid. I feel overwhelmed. Social distancing. COVID-19. Toilet paper. Stock market. Jobs. Recession. Closed. Masks. Hand sanitizer. Flatten the curve. Food.
I try to follow the steps of a logically thought out plan. But, sometimes, while staring at the empty store shelves in front of me, I panic and buy odd things like shoelaces while trying to modify my plan midstream. I have nightmares. I am unable to sleep. I stay up late. I go to bed early. The days of the week have lost all meaning.
I see my concerns and anxieties mirrored in your eyes. I want to reach out and hug you, shake your hand, and reassure you. I want to befriend you, but I can’t. What if my body works for the enemy? What if I, without knowing, carry your battle? So, this distance must exist between us, but I feel so isolated…so alone.
You and I wander the aisles of stores wanting to ensure we provide for those in our care while not preventing others from doing the same. But, how do we know what we “need” when we are uncertain of what we are preparing for and how long whatever it is might last? The rules and layers of limitations and restrictions flying from news conferences and official proclamations change so fast they should collide in midair. Instead, they land on us one by one, grounded indefinitely, and we struggle to breathe under their weight.
I stood in an aisle a couple of days ago near tears holding two packages of hot dogs uncertain if I “needed” both or if you, whomever you might be, might need one, too. I am trying to love you, my neighbor, but I feel lost. I don’t know how to navigate this road. Am I still even on the road?
Please, offer me grace. I am sending you the same. Confused and directionless looking for an unmarked road, we pass each other going opposite ways. I see your confusion. I see your worry. I see the stoic, upbeat front you put on for those you support, and I see the desperation behind it. You are not alone.
I see you. I am you. We are in this together…six feet apart.