When I experienced the initial taste of this Covid-19 pandemic back in early Spring I thought, like many, that this would be a short-lived-quarantined-lock-down-mask-wearing moment. A blip in our lives and then everything would go back to normal. It was no big deal. Bad things like this don’t happen here. We’re too smart, too evolved, too progressive, too first world, too Canadian.
I also thought, ‘I can do this. Hell, I’m tailor-made to do this. A shy introvert, lover of solitude, a lone-walker, a recluse by nature with strong hermit propensities and a deep abiding love of a quiet private space to practice and hone this lifelong pursuit of eavesdropping on the world around me and then writing about.’
What a fool I was. I am not made for this at all. The joke is on me.
Maybe the reason I’m feeling so unbearably blue, so down-in-the-dumps and heavy-hearted is the profound awareness that this isn’t just a brief blip; isn’t a temporary deviation from the norm or something we’ll all recover quickly from and resume our lives. We understand and know more about this thing now. And it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon. And while it’s around no one is really safe.
Some people won’t recover from this, at all. There will be no resuming life. For many, it’s irreparably devastating. Permanent. Over. That is a shattering thought, one that is difficult to fully grasp and feels surreal.
This notion that there is something called ‘normal’ to go back to is just an illusion anyway. In its place is the crystal-clear realization that that normal wasn’t so great, at least not for a whole lot of people.
Instead of normal we need something better. For everyone.
Politics aside, unless you’ve been living under a rock or on a desert island for the past few years, and especially in the last six month, there’s no ignoring or turning a blind eye to the radical sweeping sea change and revolution our world is undergoing. Long overdue, I say. That leaves me feeling somewhat encouraged, and dare I say even for me, hopeful.
Since March I’ve been swimming in a proverbial soup of emotions. Not just depression, my go-to reaction. But all the feels. The complete gamut. The entire catalogue. The whole freakin’ enchilada.
It doesn’t take much to make me cry these days. Everything touches my heart. I cry over honest-to-goodness sad things. But happy things can bring on the tears too. So does stupidity and thoughtlessness. And careless remarks and humor that harms. The pain and suffering of people I don’t know, and those I do. All the hurt and anguish felt everywhere. A television commercial, a movie, a song, a book, the news – good or bad – can spontaneously bring on a flood of tears. I never know who, when, where or what will be the catalyst for the waterworks. It just happens.
What I’ve noticed is that most of the time it’s the small stuff that tugs at my spirit the most. New age psychologists and motivational gurus have advised us to not sweat the small stuff. And there was a time when I believed that, maybe even said it a time or two. But not anymore.
Now I believe, it’s all about the small stuff. The little gestures and expressions of caring and compassion, the extending of grace, and all the simple courtesies given and received, patience under pressure, the holding of a trembling hand, the spontaneous hug, words of encouragement, the sincere smile, the tears and laughter shared, bravery in the face of danger. All the precious everyday acts if human kindness that so often goes unnoticed.
These are all the things I see now. Some days, the only things I see.