I’ve seen a meme going around that says, “What a year this week has been!” You can say that again. So. Many. Feelings. The mind/body connection is strong: I’d be lying if I said my digestive system hadn’t been engaging in some sort of extreme sport while I process all of this. (TMI?) Like many of you, I’ve felt bouts of panic at 4 a.m. (and had one case of hyperventilation that I didn’t feel coming – well, that was exciting)!
But here’s the thing. I’ve been through worse, and I’m guessing you have, too.
Call me an optimist, but let’s allow some of our darkest moments shed some light on our current situation.
The uncertainty is frightening. We’re all in lockdown mode (or should be). But we’ve all dealt with uncertainty before.
Perhaps, for example, we didn’t know where we were going to go to university. What would happen when we got there? Would we love it, hate it, or ever make a good friend there? Then, a few years later, what the heck were we going to do after graduation? These were BIG unknowns and we managed them without a map.
Have we moved across the country or around the world, feeling like we’re flying blind but somehow, we managed to land safely? Yeah, me too.
Have we ever had a surgery, hospitalization, or medical scare that made us worry that we might not make it? Yep. I’ve been in the back of an ambulance, I’ve been “put under” for surgery while my young child waited at home missing her Mommy, and awaited test results that “didn’t look right.” I get it.
Has anyone ever been through a horribly painful divorce? How about losing a child? Yep, I’ve experienced both of those life events, too. Those were darker than these days are.
Uncertainty feels awful. Admittedly, there were times I didn’t think I’d make it through some of those experiences. But then something – SOMETHING GOOD – always happened.
The clouds always lifted.
I picked my university and made a whole lot of good friends. Many years later, I still count some of them among my nearest and dearest – no matter how long it’s been since I’ve seen their faces. When we’ve had the opportunity to catch up, it’s like not a moment has passed. We’re all just wearing slightly older shells of our previous faces and bodies. (And the same is true for the friends I’ve known from elementary and middle school, too. Gosh, I love you all.) Maybe you have someone in your life like this, too. Or several someones.
I moved to Montréal on the heels of a multi-year separation and incredibly painful divorce-in-process. I knew no one at all, was wondering if my darkest days were behind me or ahead of me, and felt absolutely as socially isolated as I could have in those times. But one day shortly after my arrival, the man in the office adjacent to mine brought a bowl of grapes to my desk, sat down, and offered to share some. That right there was one of the turning points for my heart – I saw the entire goodness of humanity summarized in a bowl of fruit. This stranger cared enough to reach out and connect. He couldn’t possibly know how often I’ve thought of his kindness and re-lived the warmth it brought my heart. That was love.
As a wise therapist once told me, “When something happens – whatever it is – you’ll deal with it.”
That’s the most grounding advice I’ve ever received. “I’ll deal with it” combats every single “what if” that arises. One day, one breath at a time, we’ll deal with it.
It’s exactly what we’ve done in every other uncertain situation in our lives. And that’s what we’re doing now, too. Sure, this feels different in its own ways. Last I checked, however, fear never did anyone any favors. It’s no different this time. Don’t let the media tell you otherwise. When you’re tempted to worry, remind yourself that you’ll deal with it.
If I could right now, I’d pack a bowl of grapes and sit down with each one of you, sharing that emotional goodness. Until I can do that, though, know that I love you. No matter how isolated we are, we’re never alone. Every good deed you’ve ever experienced; every random act of kindness that someone imparted to you, is still with you. All the hard stuff is still there, too, as a reminder that you made it through those days of uncertainty, fear, and worry. Today, along with all the love, they’re your proof that things will get better again.
You’re all in my heart and in my prayers every day, friends. Every last one of you.
Sarah R. Moore is an internationally published writer and the founder of Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. She’s currently worldschooling her family. Her glass is half full.