- October 28, 2020
- Posted by: Sharon Greenthal
- Category: Uncategorized
There are days when it feels like this is the end. Days when the monotony of life during COVID and the ongoing drone of political commentary and fighting become almost too much to bear. There are moments when I feel like sad, miserable Peggy Lee and sing to myself “Is that all there is?” Days spent searching for something to watch, something to read, something to eat or drink or do that will make me feel better and optimistic and, well, normal. Text chains among friends are not about our plans or celebrations but about what we’ve watched that has distracted us, at least for a while, from the boredom, the worry, the underlying vague sense of doom that pervades everything. I’m not, as they are saying now, instead of hungry or starving, “food insecure,” (as if all people who are hungry need is a little therapy). I am lucky and grateful to have all that I have. That doesn’t change the fact that our country, at this moment, is vastly underperforming, based on past traumas and tragedies – and that is making me very sad.
I know I am not alone. I know that everyone everywhere is looking around and thinking what the fu*k???? Was it something we collectively did wrong? Some level of delusion, or maybe too much time spent improving ourselves and not enough time improving the lives of others? Or does it really all come down to that one bat in that one place in Wuhan? Is THAT really why we’re all having an existential crisis at the same time? An infected bat?
No, it’s so much more than that. It’s the realization that we, America, are just as fallible, vulnerable, myopic, thoughtless, and dangerous as any third world country that we send money to because we see their poor, sick children on television. It’s a shock that our leaders, at least those in charge as of this writing, are committed to the advancement of their dreams, ambitions, and visions for the future far more than they are to protecting the health and well-being of the citizens of this country, both those who elected them and those who did not. For me, most of all, it’s that there is nowhere to escape from this tedious, unexpected, altered-state existence. I can’t even hug the people I love (except my husband) to make me feel better.
No one can.
And yet – I find ways to stay hopeful. I look beyond this very minute, this day, this week to a time when we will feel safe, when we will be healthy, when we will smile at each other in public and it will feel awkward to not wear a mask anymore. This year there have been so many babies born in my world that it’s impossible for me to not have faith in the future. And new pregnancies, too – an optimistic act that counters the darkness of these days we are in. There are wonderful works of art being created, and thank goodness for that – for the power of entertainment to keep us from sinking into our own thoughts too deeply. There are good, smart people who are working to find a way to help us if we get sick, or keep us from getting sick in the first place.
There is my dog, whose weight I feel as he snuggles against me in the morning, reminding me that it’s good to have another day, as I wait for my husband to bring me my coffee in bed. The awfulness of what we are going through is a little less awful with that first hot sip.
There are my kids who, despite their young adult lives being blunted by this virus, manage to stay positive and optimistic, focusing on what makes them happy instead of what they’re missing. More than ever, my kids bring me joy. They genuinely light up the room when I see them. They make me happy when little else does right now.
This is not the end. It is the middle of something no one imagined, but we will get through it. We will wash our hands and wear our masks and social distance the hell out of our lives until it’s over. When the end comes, it will be a good thing. It will be the end of the pandemic. And then, though much may have changed, we will hug each other tightly and life will go on, and we will be glad.