I remember being in active labor with my oldest Junior Tribe Member. He wouldn’t be born for several hours yet. But labor was excruciating. It had started at midnight and I had been awake all night in labour. I was tired and it HURT.
I remember telling the nurse:
“I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore.”
I may or may not have started to get off the bed to go get my clothes to leave.
I wanted to be done. Of course I did.
But wanting to be done didn’t change the reality that being done was not an option.
The only way out was through.
I was stuck in the painful middle. The baby would be born when it would be born. Didn’t know how long it would take, how hard it would be. Didn’t matter.
Wanting to be done was an irrelevant desire.
Sorta feels that way, right now, for many of us in the middle of Pandemic 2020, doesn’t it?
Our email inquiries for counselling/therapy have gone up in since the pandemic started.
The proportion of emails that are asking for anger management has blown up–because, frankly, people are blowing up.
The internal distress of life since the pandemic has gone up. It increases our RPM’s bringing our idling speed up just beyond our awareness.
It just doesn’t take as much for something to bring a person into the red zone–RAGE.
People are snapping at each other–at home with spouses and kids, at the grocery store with total strangers. Beyond our awareness, tension builds–and then someone is a few minutes late, or says something sharply, or just looks at you the wrong way–and SNAP!
People are crying more, too. More tears, more often.
Commercials of poignant beauty bring tears. Difficult conversations bring tears. Heck, sometimes a piece of delicious chocolate cake or one more email can bring tears. This is an emotional time that is hard for us all.
The light at the end of the tunnel is there. A vaccine is coming. Treatments are being discovered. More and more is known about transmission and risk and prevention all the time.
We will get through this. The pandemic will end.
None of us know exactly what post-pandemic life will look like.
The aura of certainty, which never actually existed, is now visibly and concretely gone. All of us are living in a world where we feel the:
- vulnerability of health,
- uncertainty of the future,
- constant tension of divisiveness,
- vibrations of tension emanating from the stress of others
We’ve marinated in the uncertainty and vulnerability of COVID-19–and there is no date on the calendar when there will be certain relief.
Not knowing when this will end is a big part of the hard. We are about 6.5 months in.
October 2020 is like being 10 miles into a marathon–which we didn’t train for. Or sign up for. Or ever wanted to run. So it’s hard.
We don’t know how long this marathon is. Because a marathon’s end is known–26.2 miles.
In fact, this is no marathon–we are waaaaay past 26.2 miles–but there is no clear finish line.
Them: “We’ve signed you up for a very long race–like a marathon, but not really. We don’t care if you’ve trained, or if you want to. You will run this race. It will be hard and long.”
You: “I don’t want to run this race.”
Them: “Tough. You’re in, like it or not.”
You: “Exactly how long?”
You: “Like 10 km?”
Them: “Well, we don’t know yet. It might not be very long, but once you’re well into it, we’ll let you know. It might be really long.”
You: “Like 100 km?”
Them: “Could be.”
… 90 km into the race
Them: “Yep, longer than a 100. Definitely longer than 100. Much longer.”
You [huffing and puffing, 90 km into a race you didn’t sign up for, and did NOT train for]: “I’m super tired. I don’t know how much longer I can do this for. How much longer?”
Them: “Hmmm…a lot longer. But we don’t know. Even once we think we could end it, it will only end for some–maybe. It took take months for us all to reach the finish line. Even once we think we’re all finished, we won’t know for sure.
Do you see? The race is hard, in itself.
Not knowing where the finish line is a whole extra layer of hard.
We will get through this.
Just like during my labor, everything in you might just want to say, “I’m done” and want to go back to life before COVID-19.
Let me say what the nurse said to me when I said that in labor:
“No. That’s not going to work. You have work to do. Take a deep breath. You can do this. You can. Take another deep breath. We will get through this together.”
I didn’t like it when she said this–but it was just what I needed.
That boy that I pushed out of my body that morning after a long, labouring night is now 26 years old. In just a few months, he will be with his own wife through labor to welcome his baby into the world.
It’s gonna be hard, but she will get through.
We all will.