The past few mornings I admit that the weight of the world’s problems and trauma have worn me down and out.
My capacity to compartmentalize and put on an attitude that “All Crisis Pass” has been beaten and battered since March.
I cannot watch or listen to news. Any news.
The posts on social media have gone beyond toxic. Well meaning, kind and generous people in private become vicious, mean spirited and intolerant on public platforms.
One day we’re told not to wear masks. The next day we’re told to wear masks.
The mask wearers applaud themselves and criticize those who don’t, won’t or can’t wear masks.
Those not wearing masks applaud themselves and criticize those who do, want, and can wear masks.
A vaccine is weeks away. Months away. Years away.
I will get the vaccine because it will save my life. I won’t get the vaccine because it will take away my life.
The life we’re in is the New Normal. The past was Never Normal. The future is Not Normal.
People who are white are racist. Those who are not are unreasonable. None of us are Americans.
It’s okay to break the law. It’s not okay to ignore the law. The law is what we each want it to be when we want it to be where we want it to be.
We’ve turned everything and anything in our day-to-day life into a reason to judge somebody else.
All of us have opinions.
I have opinions.
And, it occurs to me, more and more, that my opinions are like everyone else’s: Opinions.
Dispensing them once made me feel empowered. A kind of therapy that allowed me to share what I believed — sometimes based on facts — sometimes based on fear — sometimes based on ignorance — sometimes based on experience — but always an opinion.
I find myself sharing my opinion less and less with people. Not because I don’t have them.
But because I have grown fatigued trying to anticipate the reaction of those with whom I share them with.
Simple acts of kindness and generosity — once the thing we were told in a book were to be random — are now more calculated, more careful, and more and more….random.
I want to give up.
More and more I just want to throw up my hands and say, “I’m out.”
I close my eyes at times and drift away to places where none of the rancor, bitterness and hurt occupies any corner of my mind.
Yet, it feels empty and unreal and unfulfilling.
The feeling passes and then I remember the real world I live in.
One where people are hurting and need help.
Parents are terrified their children will get sick from a virus. Parents are terrified their children will get sick from isolation.
Parents are terrified they will get sick from their kids. Kids are terrified they will get their parents sick.
People are scared their liberty and freedom are being taken away. People are angry that they have never had full liberty and freedom given to them.
People I don’t know are struggling to find hope in the future with no job, no money, and no options.
People I do know are struggling to find hope in the future with a good job, plenty of money and lots of options.
It all seems so unbearable.
Yet, the option to give up is not an option I am willing to embrace. No matter how desperately I want to give up.
I remind myself that I have been on this Earth for 20,805 days and counting.
The less than 5 months I have had to live in the COVID-19 world represents .007 percent of my life.
The 5 months of COVID-19 do not define me.
The roughly 20,655 days before it invaded my safe space are the days that do.
Those days are the ones that saw good days, bad days, and worse days. Days of joy and happiness and ones of hopelessness and despair.
Moments of loss and some of gain but all of a life in which every bump and bruise and wrinkle and missing hair has been a reminder that giving up is not an option.
We are in this together. Not all equally. Some are in worse places than others. Others in better places than most.
But, we’re captive on a planet not of our choosing.
We might move on the planet but we aren’t soon to move from the planet.
There’s a world to be saved. People to help. A planet to heal. A country to fix.
All that doesn’t just happen.
None of it goes away by closing my eyes, or my mind, to my responsibility and obligation to be a member of the human race.
So, I can’t give up. I won’t give up.
And, neither should you.