It’s November 2020 and we are marking roughly eight months into the Covid 19 pandemic.
Do we go more than 48 hours anymore without saying this word out loud?
I know for a fact we don’t go more than 24 hours without hearing it or reading it ~ that’s for sure.
It has become our new normal (insert me cringing at buzz words) which actually makes me wonder if we know what the word normal even means anymore.
What I do know is that throughout these past eight months I have felt that I am constantly making internal declarations about where I stand at any given time on some sort of pandemic spectrum.
Firmly following public health guidelines was easy when we were locked down.
Ok. Maybe easy isn’t the right word. But I was confident and clear in my decisions. And the majority of people around me were making the same decisions.
And then June came, restrictions were lifted and a feeling of safety washed over us.
It was a window of opportunity. If I said these words once I said them 100 times, and we took advantage of them. The good weather, the low infection rate, the Atlantic bubble. I clung to it all and ate it up like candy.
Venturing back into society, rekindling in-person family adventures and friendship.
It was blissful, and if I listened closely I could hear a collective sigh.
But now we are at another precipice ~ the beginning of the second wave and the first signs of community spread in NS.
It is all a little less clear now. The waters are murky, everyone is tired and I don’t think things will be as straight forward as they were in March. There is fatigue and our comfort levels are all over the map for many reasons.
So I’m left to make decisions that seem to change not only daily, but hourly, in my mind.
I’m left with feelings of discomfort that are difficult to explain or put into words, and that others may or may not share ~ because it feels like now we are “navigating” rather than “following” and navigating is hard.
Navigating requires sorting through not only information and evidence, but also your heart, and making the best decisions based on everything from physical risk, mental health, connection and community health.
And so I’ve found myself navigating all of this since June (because again remember March to May were “easy” 😂) feeling like a Gumby Doll. One day I’m this, the other day I’m that.
The decisions keep getting harder. Do I do this? What about this? What about that? It’s outdoors with limited numbers. But I don’t have to. It’s not essential. What about that? Do I do that? I was comfortable with that yesterday ~ but now there’s new information.
But I guess in the end what I’ve realized is this:
Every decision I make ~ even when I’m feeling like Gumby changing my mind from one moment to the next ~ every decision I make comes from the most personal place ~ and that is to be able to be an active and physical presence in the lives of the people who matter most to me and who may be the most vulnerable (even if maybe everybody doesn’t know it)
So if I say yes to dinner one day and no the next, if I am suddenly uncomfortable riding in a car with you, if I don’t “like” your photos on social media because I’ve literally set insanely low screen limits for my own mental health, if I cancel plans that we made two weeks ago, if I go on a rant about the social determinants of health, if I hug you one day but not the other, if I say yes to having four boys over one day and no the next, if I balk at a weekend away I was excited about last month, if I insist on only eating on outdoor patios bundled up in blankets, if I remind you to wash your hands when you come into my home, if I take two steps back (figuratively) or one step back (literally) please try to remember … none of these decisions I’m making are personal toward you.
They aren’t personal at all.
And yet ~ they are the most personal decisions I will ever make ~ because they are built completely around those who matter most to me. To those who raised me ~ to those I am raising ~ and to those who don’t share my blood but who I share a life with. Keeping them healthy. Keeping myself healthy so I can be available and present for them.
They are ~ at their very core ~ decisions based wholly in love.
And it’s then that my Gumby feelings fade away and become much more resolute ~ because I know in my heart there is nothing more important than that.