Social Distancing: Week 2
We have no idea how long this might go on. Last week, there was still some hope of this being short term. School closures were only scheduled for two weeks. Today, schools are closed until May 15 (at least), and I’ve heard mention that it could be up to eighteen months before things get back to normal. The air is full of the unknown. Will we ever go back to what normal was, or will normal be something totally new?
Did we live our last week of our old routines without knowing it? Did I appreciate enough the freedom to swing by Target after preschool drop off just because, pushing a laughing baby around in that red cart, picking things up just to look at them with no concerns of needing to immediately sanitize my hands? Did I appreciate the ability to gather in person, to enjoy a Saturday at the park, a child’s birthday party, a church service? To order groceries and have everything in my order available in just four hours? To swing by the library and browse the shelves or take my children to a program? To sit in a restaurant, hearing the chatter and laughter of others, as I enjoyed a meal? To sit in a carpool line, waiting to pick my children up from school, listening to a podcast or reading a book?
When will this all be over?
When it is over, what will our new normal be?
Will we return to life as it was before, with an extra dose of thankfulness for the mundane and ordinary that we took for granted? Will life be changed in ways we can’t yet imagine?
Three weeks ago, there was a threat on the horizon. We were starting to understand that coronavirus might have some impact on our day to day lives. I picked up some extra groceries, started to realize that school might be cancelled for a couple of weeks. Quarantines in other countries were on the news, but I couldn’t wrap my head around that being our reality.
Now, the threat is all around. Life has changed. Our state is under a stay at home order, I haven’t been in a car in two weeks, my kids have Zoom calls instead of school, and grocery store orders are no longer complete or available the same day. The rhythms and routines that made up our days are suddenly gone. I scroll the news and see death tolls and healthcare workers begging for the appropriate equipment to protect themselves. There is fear and unknown and disbelief--how did everything change so quickly?
It’s hard. It’s scary. We may not know the true impacts of this time in history for weeks, months, years to come. Not only the lives claimed by this virus, but also the impact on our economy, our healthcare system, our normal ways of life.
In the midst of all this there is still beauty to be found and much to be thankful for.
There are people stepping up to help, sewing masks for healthcare workers, checking on at-risk neighbors. There are healthcare workers, grocery store workers, and other essential workers bravely putting themselves at risk to serve us. There are school systems working to get food to children, and companies providing free internet and educational resources. Teachers are putting on parades to wave at students in their driveways and bring a smile to their faces, calling their homes to check in. Virtual art classes, dance classes, workout classes, and any other kind of class you can think of are being created. Neighbors are leaving messages of encouragement in sidewalk chalk or in windows, decorating their mailboxes with balloons to bring a little cheer. The pace of life has slowed. We can eat more meals as a family, take more walks as a family, spend more time in the backyard enjoying the beautiful spring weather.
There is good to be found alongside the scary and unknown, and that’s how life is, isn’t it? Joy and sorrow are often intertwined. We never know what twists and turns our path may take and tomorrow is never guaranteed. Even on the brightest day, the shadows still exist, and on even the darkest days, we know that the sun is still there. These days are long and full of unknowns, but laughter can still be found and good memories can still be made.
You can find my reflections on week one of social distancing here.