U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland wasted no time responding to a September 29 letter sent to President Biden by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) asking that he examine angry parental protests of local public-school district school boards for...
Lessons in Lockdown: Life, Love, and Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff
Some of the most beautiful – and heartwrenching – life lessons delivered by lockdown, and the pandemic, have revolved around relationships.
I’m lucky. I live with the love of my life, who also happens to be my best friend, so love, hugs, support, and listening ears have been readily available.
Like most people, I’ve experienced ups and downs through this. Depending on everything from hormones, to which way the wind might be blowing, to what’s been dripped out through newsfeeds and social media, sometimes the most mundane of situations has felt like a real kick in the feels.
I know I’m not alone in this.
I know, for many, depression has spiked – and I can absolutely understand why.
Like many of you, I’ve lost loved ones through this as well – and not just because of the dreaded virus, but due to the immense pressure and mental health challenges, the lockdown has wrought.
We’ve been in uncharted waters. There’s been a deliberate spread of mass fear and anxiety, our freedoms have been eroded, and many are feeling at a loss, not knowing which voices to listen to, who to believe, who to trust.
We hold on as best we can, despite the sands beneath our feet constantly shifting. Or so it seems.
One thing I’ve learned is that support can come from the most unexpected places.
Throughout this, I’ve done my best to reach out to people when my ‘spidey senses’ have given me a nudge. I’ve called, emailed, WhatsApp’ed, Facebook messaged, and texted people, out of the blue, just to check-in, because it *felt* like the right thing to do.
I’ve learned to trust my instincts when I get that invisible tug to let someone know I’m thinking about them and ask if there’s anything they need, and, most of the time, that sense has been spot on.
I’ve also learned that, in the times where I’ve needed a friend through this, someone to check in with me and see how I’m doing, the source of that caring has sometimes come as a surprise.
There’s magic in this. The knowledge that we’re on people’s radars, without even being aware of that depth of connection and love, can be oh so comforting.
And so, I want to remind us all of this…
This experience, though we may all be living through the same lifetime, will be different for all of us.
We will each approach lockdown life – and leave it – with a different set of feelings, learnings, and values.
At times, I’ve felt let down by those I *expected* to have my back, to somehow *know* I needed an extra check-in, that extra level of compassion and empathy being offered, that simple act of reaching out without it being the result of a request, or as a reaction to something I’ve said.
I’ve allowed myself to believe people’s words and promises have been empty, and to think of that old saying about the true flavor of a teabag only really coming to the fore when in hot water.
And that’s when I’ve reminded myself that we all have different value sets, different triggers, different ways of coping through these extraordinary times.
It’s when I’ve also reminded myself that, just because we might check in on others, we shouldn’t expect the same in return. It’s an act of compassion and caring, not a reciprocal agreement… we don’t give in order to receive.
We need to remember that, sometimes, people may display behaviors that, to us, may seem petulant, selfish, uncaring, or even cruel… and that may well be because they’re hanging on by their fingertips and doing their all to just keep getting out of bed in the mornings.
Sometimes, it takes every bit of energy a person has to just care *enough* about themselves, let alone funnel bandwidth they don’t have into displaying care for someone else.
We need to take a step back. We need to recognize that everyone will be dealing with the challenges of lockdown, and current world affairs, in the best way they can, regardless of whether that neatly jigsaws with our individual ideals and values.
We need to cut people more slack.
We need to cut OURSELVES more slack.
And when support does come from unexpected places, we need to be thankful for that.
We need to recognize just how wonderful it is for someone else to spare us a thought, to reach out and send love and good thoughts our way, whatever might be going on for them. There’s such a blessing in that.
We *could* go down the road of believing this past year has sorted the wheat from the chaff when it comes to friendships and relationships across the spectrum.
Think about it for a moment, though… that’s quite a negative way to frame things, isn’t it? It’s so easy to slip into a victim mindset from there.
Instead, it might be wiser, and kinder – to ourselves AND others – to simply acknowledge that, when the proverbial hits the fan, everyone operates as best they can with the resources available to them.
It doesn’t mean people don’t care. It means everyone’s struggling to make sense of this, to bring their best selves, or to just get by.
You won’t always be at the center of their world, and that’s okay. We don’t always get to take center stage – sometimes we’re a supporting act and much lower down the playbill.
We never really know how many plates people are trying to keep spinning, or what’s going on in their worlds, so we need to do our level best not to sit in judgment or fill in the gaps.
Don’t care to feel cared for in return. Care, when you have the capacity, because it’s a good thing to do.
And when someone does show care for you – whoever they are and whenever it comes – be grateful for that. Be grateful in your heart.
In a world populated by billions of people, someone stopped to think of YOU. And that, my friend, is a miracle.
Be well. Be love. Be YOU. Always.
Until next time,
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