There’s a lot of imagery that defines this strange, restless, panicked time. Major monuments, tourist destinations and airports without crowds. People queuing outside with gloved hands on their shopping carts, face masks covering their nose and mouth, waiting their turn to shop in Trader Joe’s. Masks on face after face. That look of fear as someone is walking on the same side of the road in the opposite direction as another and they don’t know how they’ll keep six feet as they near.
Local boutique in Fairfield with mannequin modeling a paper face mask
Those are the images of social distancing. I realize that the imagery is far more grim in the hospitals, but those experiences are not mine to share.
As I near the end of week five of social distancing, I have more hope than I did throughout the first month, like when I posted on day 10, day 14, and day 25.
It’s not because things are looking better. Our corrupt federal government is awarding 80% of coronavirus stimulus money to millionaires, rather than struggling Americans. The Trump administration is handing out $55 million allocated for PPE to a bankrupt business with no employees or equipment to make such items. Trump is taking advantage of this time to share more intimate conversations with Putin. He’s discouraging democracy by spreading mistruth about voting by mail and taking a page out of a dictator handbook while forgetting about the American Constitution while claiming to have ‘total authority.’
The home front has its challenges as well. We’ve been baking bread and eating non-perishables for weeks as we make our groceries stretch as far as they can. With this stretching, though, last week we found ourselves stressing. My husband and I were bickering about what our tween was eating almost every day. Catching him sneaking snacks became a really big deal. We were forgetting that being extra safe was a choice, not a sentence.
On top of that, a tween doing what a tween does: complain. A toddler doing what toddlers do: tantrum.
If you’re thinking, ‘where’s the hope in that?!’ I get it. I think it’s primarily that we’re settling into routine, and that we had a lot of sunshine this past week. It’s a few hours my husband’s blocked off from meetings during my toddler’s nap time so I’ve gotten alone time walking around my town–time to BREATHE that I hadn’t had quite enough of before. It’s back to being a collaborative couple, looking for ways to take care of one another. More time playing catch & frisbee outside, more hands in the dirt gardening, more sword fights with sticks against the little guy. It’s getting a brand new book in the mail after suffering through a couple of low-quality thrifted ones I never got around to reading before (I see now why). Those little moments I decided I would seek out in my last post about the quarantine.
Sometimes those little moments of light are ignited by messages of hope I’ve seen on my walks, or people have shared on our county’s rainbow hunt Facebook page. Little reminders of the beauty after the storm. Sometimes it’s seeing a fully bloomed tree, a splash of color that reminds me that nothing lasts forever.
These are the images I want to focus on. Individual people and families taking time out to uplift a stranger in a time of crisis and despair. A reminder that even if our government is failing us, the American people are still good hearted and deserving. That we’re surrounded by heroes, big, small, willing and many who didn’t sign up for this, but are fighting anyway.
Times are hard, but the best I can do right now is to share a bit of the beauty, gratitude and kindness that I’ve come across during these times.