I wasn’t sure if I wanted this to be a blog post, so I did something that I don’t normally do. I started this as a Word document on my computer. I knew that I needed to write. My brain is overactive, always processing, and mulling. It can be exhausting to keep up with the thoughts inside my head. At this point, I have the feeling of a balloon about to pop. I turn to writing as a way to clear my head. Sometimes the world makes more sense after I have written my thoughts down. Sometimes it just helps to acknowledge my thoughts even without resolution. This is where I find myself today.
We are coming up on one year of pandemic life. I am experiencing a fresh wave of exhaustion and fatigue. At the beginning of this month, our area went to “phase two” of our recovery plan. This means that we can see another household for social gatherings. At first I was excited for the prospect of a play date or a dinner with friends. After such a quiet season, I thought I was ready to shake things up and see people again. Because our family is trying to keep our social interactions limited, we’ve been operating mostly in response mode to social gatherings. We aren’t creating or seeking out opportunities, we are responding to them as they come our way. Eventually the first “ask” came. Would we be open to a family dinner with friends? You would think that would be an easy yes, but it wasn’t.
There are so many factors that play into saying yes to a social gathering. After all the processing, we said yes, but I’ll be honest, I was a nervous wreck over the decision. Following the guidelines and being mindful of the rules doesn’t protect my family from risk. This isn’t a new development, but after four ultra-cautious months, I felt this truth acutely. I prayed continually before the dinner and I’m still praying after that there would be no negative consequences.
We all have different opinions on the rules. I respect the differences. At the end of the day, I am only accountable for my own actions. I often feel like I am the most cautious person I know and this has left me in a lonely place. I am not cautious because I am fearful. I understand that my immediate family isn’t high-risk when it comes to surviving the virus. I am cautious because I am trying to be considerate of others. I don’t want to be the reason someone gets sick especially those who are at risk.
Lord willing, the virus will run its course and herd immunity will be reached. The need for rules and regulations will lax and we will have more freedom in making personal choices like how many people we see in a week, if we wear a mask, etc. We are not there yet, but I’m already sensing the struggle it will be to re-enter the world. Some people will race back to “normal” life. They will dive head first into waters of normalcy. I have a suspicion that for me returning to normal will look like dipping my toe in and then maybe wading in to my ankles, my knees, and my waist. Will I ever feel comfortable going all the way in? I don’t know and that feeling of uncertainty is unsettling.
Living with all the unknowns and the loneliness of being cautious feels like a heavy weight today. I know that “this too shall pass.” I will pray through the discomfort and the tension. I sincerely don’t know how I would survive without my faith. I don’t have to have all the answers. I can trust. I can believe. I can hope. I can pray. God is in this and I will hold on to Him. And to wrap this up, here are a few pictures from our mostly quiet week at home!