When all this started I wondered if this was anything close to what it was like to receive a terminal cancer diagnosis. We had the initial experience of our world seemingly being picked up, turned upside-down, and shaken out. It was sudden and frightening, and no one knew what to expect in the early stages of this new disease sucking up ventilators and shutting down sports.
After a week or two things started to settle down. Church was cancelled and classroom studies were conducted online. This was different, but doable, and enough normalcy remained to make you aware that life had changed, but not too much. The hope began to emerge that maybe this disease wouldn’t be too bad? That the tsunami heading for the shores of American hospitals had vanished. The texts in my sibling chat gradually slowed as each of us had either businesses to run, homework to do, or kids to take care of.
We encouraged each other to wear the masks. We filled each other in on the state of our local stores. We challenged each other to pay attention, think, and keep an open mind. Here’s something that’s incredibly obvious and good for us to remember: None of us are exactly the same and we all have our own ways of thinking and doing things.
And back to the terminal, some days you wonder if this is really the end, because life seems to keep on going every day, cancer or not, pandemic or not. Some days are good and almost feel normal, but there’s always the truth in the front of your mind. You are walking around with a disease, and with a clearer sense of what is important, of what it is you want to spend the rest of your life on. There are days of having to face the “g” word.
I never realized how difficult uncertainty could be. I’m not normally a planning-type person, but the fact that I don’t know any more what to expect in May than I did in mid-March has got the unsettledness creeping back. Seizing the day and living in the moment were always more about methods of fun, not survival. And now I guess that’s not completely true, for we know that in all things difficult, it’s more about step by step, and day by day, the lasting way to joy and plenty.