"So, how have you been doing this first five months of the pandemic?" I heard the question asked to someone behind me and it took a moment to even process that it. First, I I counted in my fingers the months since March, thinking there was no way it was five. Then I remembered March 13 when we walked out of The Bridge extremely proud of our preparation for the two weeks ahead of us. We were sending our students with neat packets of work, ready for or two weeks, hot-off-the-press. Teachers had been given their directions. We were confident in our plan but not for even one hot minute did I consider that in August I would hear a casual comment from one person to another, "How have you been doing the first five months of the pandemic?" I had to break it down...
It definitely implied there was more to come. And it was completely without an end date. It wasn't like when you say, "You are halfway through your pregnancy. how is that going?" or "You are two years into college. I know you can't wait to finish" Nope. It was just expressing that five whole months of our lives had been spent in a whole different way than before and no one is making predictions about how long it might last. So is five months halfway... or will we still be living it out in two years?" No one knows.
It was said so casually, like the kind of thing you would say to a stranger in an elevator, as though it was that topic that wouldn't offend or stir up any emotions in anyone.
"How about this weather?"
"Have you checked out that new restaurant?'
"Sure is hot."
And then...five months...wow...just wow! I never dreamed we would still be talking about Covid this far in....not that it would affect this school year or summer camps or getting my oil changed or hair cut or attending my church for at least months, maybe longer.
But this unknown man got one thing right. We need to check on each other. We all have emotions tied to this thing...sometimes crazy emotions we are hesitant to talk about. This thing has people hurting and feeling sad. People are disappointed and have overwhelming feelings of loss. We think and rethink and overthink every decision. Where we formerly could make a good decision and simply put it on the table, now we find ourselves with a plan B and C and D. One lady told me she had made it to Z and was starting with AA.
"We will do this...but if we are in Quarantine again by then, we will do it this way instead."
Last week I had my own Covid scare. I spiked a high fever. I was in so much pain and had chills for hours, though covered up with blankets and a hot pad. my first thought was "I had better be burning some calories here!" I thought and thought and could not think of anyone I had been exposed to. I had missed the last weekend at church. Other than that I had been to work. I had worn my mask, religiously. I had changed my clothes every day immediately upon walking through the door. I had taken zinc and Vitamin B and C and D. I taught kids to bump fists and elbows and wash hands and social distance. In the halls of the school we put stars on the floor to show kids where to stand. We added to pool noodles to make them six feet long to show them how six feet looked. I had not only been careful...I had taught other people to be careful.
But lying there shaking the worst thoughts came to mind. I thought about being in the hospital without Tim by my side. I thought of precious people I might have exposed. I thought about how claustrophobic it would feel to not get a good breath of air. I wondered what long-term effects it might have on my body. When my fever was over 103 I asked my husband who shaves your legs when you are on a vent and if no one is there to shave your legs and you die do you just end up going to meet your Maker like that, as if you didn't care enough to clean up? I asked what happened if no one in your family can be there if they have to decide to put you on a ventilator? Does the family still get to decide or does a team of doctors decide it is best and that is it? I was clearly going to die. I was a mess. I am now blaming on the fever. Two Covid tests proved I did not have it. There would be no ventilator. I was not going to die. Not of that anyway.
Maybe we need to be asking the people we love or even just like a little how they are doing, how they are really doing? Because the craziest of us will tell you just fine right out of the gate. But when those close enough to ask, "How are you really doing?" we tend to fess up. If there is one thing I have learned through all this it is how very much we need one another. We are like a beautiful tapestry that, when we allow the threads of other people's stories a place in the rich design we find we are more beautiful for it. Ask people how they are. Check up on folks. Don't assume they are okay because if they are like me some days they are very okay and other days they are so very not. Take a minute to look into other people's hearts and find what is there. Be the light. Share His light.
"So how are you doing...really?"