We’re crashing. We seriously thought we could do it. We rallied ourselves up. The adrenaline was high. We knew what we had to do and we could do it… Switch to social distancing… Switch to working at home… Switch to remote schooling. We got this. It sounded manageable because we were told that we were staying in for two weeks. And that seemed to be very doable.
For some, it was intense work of changing up the way offices were run, or medicine was practiced, or preschools and schools switched to home-based. For some it was endless hours of getting systems ready to run a new way. For others, it was a sudden social change with kids home all day without the usual supports of friendships and playgrounds and activities. For some, it was sudden isolation, stuck within their own four walls of the senior high rise without Bingo night or card games or opportunities to talk with each other.
And we thought we could do it.
But then as the weeks ran into one another and the days blended together and the time stood still, we realized we just couldn’t do it anymore. We were crashing. The adrenaline was gone. The constant stress and unrelieved worry that simmered underneath our conscious emotions began to overflow. We had prepared ourselves for the sprint. We didn’t realize we would be undertaking a marathon.
And just as the tears started to leak and the brain started to spin, we suddenly realized that all our natural coping mechanisms were gone. The tight squeezing hug from a friend. The hanging out together over a cup of coffee. The meals around the table.
Sure there’s the telephone and the FaceTime and the Zoom Happy Hours. But suddenly we realized that wasn’t cutting it. Because if nothing else, this crisis-demanding social distancing has made it abundantly clear that the human body is designed to be in close connection with other human bodies. The energy that radiates from our very cells when next to another feeds one another and refills one another. Being together uplifts one another and soothes us. Technology cannot replace touch and proximity.
Week 6 of shut-down and we’re crashing. We’re crashing because jobs are lost and money is tight. We’re crashing because we don’t want someone telling us what to do. We’re crashing because we just need to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The word “indefinite” doesn’t work for us. We need control. We need a timeline. We need to know.
We’re crashing because we’ve never lived like this. We don’t know how to live like this yet. And we are not getting clear and consistent information and instructions. We don’t see a clear and unified plan. We’re crashing because we’re scared and angry and feeling helpless.
We’re crashing because our usual coping skills weren’t built for this and because we we’re hard on ourselves. We expect to be productive. We expect to get things done. We have forgotten how to rest.
We’re crashing because there are moments when we can’t see the light. The hurt and the pain that surrounds us. The illness and death of friends and family. The images of mass graves being dug and long lines of cars waiting, desperate for food. We’re crashing because the world is so different than it used to be and feels less safe.
We’re crashing because it is time to crash. The Corona Blues have set in and we are each having to face the darkness. And it’s time to rethink what we’ve been doing. It’s time to look forward to a new world and a new way of life. It’s time keep our eyes out for the light that is there around us.
And it is time to give ourselves permission to rest. It’s time to find activities that help us make time stand still. Reading a book. Doing a puzzle. Intricate coloring. Baking bread. Weeding the garden. Long walks through the woods. Anything in which time warps and what feels like ten minutes has been forty-five. For in those moments, the body pauses, the breathing calms, the stress lessons and the soul heals.
It’s time we give ourselves those “zen” moments and encourage one another to do so as well.
Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
We just have to “be”…God’s got the rest.