By Kacie Wehland
How are you doing today? I know, I know, you’re hanging in there. What a crazy time we are living in right now. I know you never thought you would ever experience something like this – something so surreal, something so uncertain, something so big. You have faced big and uncertain before, but this, this is something so unbelievably, well, out of your control. All you can do is literally stay home and wait it out. Sit and wait – not something you’re great at.
When you first heard of COVID-19 you didn’t think much of it. “It’ll blow over soon”, you thought. You most certainly did not expect to be in lockdown. To not see your family or friends for such a long time. To see grocery stores so empty. To be doing school and work from home, on your laptop, on your couch, in your pjs. But here we are. Sitting and waiting.
It took you awhile, to believe this was happening, to understand the severity of it. It all felt so big, almost too big that it couldn’t even be believable, so you didn’t even feel the worry at first. But now, it sinks in as you sit and wait.
Week one of quarantine felt easy, too easy. It was spring break so no homework, no school, no work, no responsibilities. Just you, your couch, your dog, and the next show to binge watch on Netflix. You took advantage of getting to sleep in; eased your mind from all the troubles and stress you usually feel throughout the semester. And you didn’t feel bad if you decided to stay in your pjs all day. Life would go back to normal soon right, let’s enjoy this time off while we can…right?
But then you got that daunting email. You couldn’t go back to school. You couldn’t go back to work. This wouldn’t be over in two weeks. This wouldn’t be over in a month. The realization of that numbed you. You sat on your couch, in your pjs, in fear. Not even fear of the virus, but fear of what staying cooped up for weeks on end would do to you. The anxiety snuck up on you while your guard was down, creeping its way into your mind until it consumed you. It took charge of your thoughts and of your limbs. You sat there, immobile. Waiting to move.
You sat there for hours, but it felt like days. So many questions. So many concerns. “Why is this happening?” “When will it be over?” “How will I stay motivated?” “Can I do this?” I know that was hard for you. I know how easy it is to sit on a couch and ignore the things that still need to be done. I know it all felt so big that it wasn’t even worth trying. But look at you now, you are doing it. Three weeks later and it has not broken you. In the midst of the worry, the fear, and the uncertainty, you are doing it all. In fact, you are grateful that there is still homework to be done and that you are even capable of doing your job online when so many people don’t have that luxury. To you these responsibilities give you structure, and you need that! It’s a comfort for you. It says that life still has some normalcy to it, and that you must continue moving forward, while you sit and wait.
But structure wasn’t the only thing you gained. You gained a new perspective on life and became grateful for all the little things. Yes, being home all the time can be difficult, but how wonderful is it to see your beautiful family each day, something your busy schedule often kept you from. And that technology that often frustrated you, how grateful you are for it now, as it allows you to see those not so close to you. And you know that list of things you’ve been wanting to do? Do a puzzle, read a new book, clean the house till it shines, try those new recipes. Well you have done those too, and how freeing it has felt for your life not to be consumed by all that work and school, to make time for you again. You truly deserve that. Yes, time has been moving slowly, and what a miraculous gift that has been. Cherish it as you sit and wait.
This virus has taken many things from all of us, but it has also given us something as well. There are some words you never thought you’d say! But it’s true. You used to think the world was divided, and in many ways it still is. But in the past couple of weeks you have seen humanity unite in the face of incredible adversity. To see people from all over the world work endless hours to find a way to defeat this disease. To witness people singing and clapping from their windows to show gratitude and support to all of the first responders who put their lives on the line everyday so that we can stay safe. And to see something as simple as a colorful message written on the sidewalk just to lift your spirits as you take your afternoon walk. There is so much beauty in this world, beauty that often becomes clouded by ugliness, but somehow always finds a way to be prevalent again. This brings you so much hope, comfort, and peace and we all need that during these trying times. I know this hasn’t been easy, and that every day hasn’t been as positive as this letter makes it sound. But you are trying. You are creating beauty in the face of ugliness, and you will prevail. So, sit, and wait, and breathe.