Sheltering in place?

Our world has changed so much in the past 3 months. What seemed like a “virus on the other side of the world,” has now appeared on our doorstep. My sister in CA is currently “sheltering in place” and trying to teach her class remotely. My sister in ND is trying to keep her dialysis patients, her nurses and herself safe and healthy. I started working from home last Friday while my kids are both at home.

It’s all new territory. Very few businesses had “in case of pandemic” procedures in place. I doubt anyone had heard of sheltering in place or social distancing. Restaurants are closed or doing take out/drive through only. Bars, salons, massage, and many other small businesses are closed. Teachers are trying to figure out how to teach their kids online and parents are trying to figure out how to help. Shelves are bare at the grocery stores and hospital workers are worried and stretched thin.

Last week, I was spinning with anxiety. You’d think an introvert would love the idea of quarantine. But I was still going to work and each day left me emotionally exhausted. I felt out of control. I worried I would transmit to someone even though I wasn’t infected. Any cough or sniffle made me cringe. A few online groups started up with the purpose of helping others. I joined, sent a couple of packages to people in need, and when I helped someone else, something neat happened. My mind stopped spinning. I felt useful.

No idea of how to do math with your kids? It’s ok, there are people to help. Working from home and just want to stay in your pj’s? It’s ok. Meals and chores planned or just winging it? It’s ok. What isn’t ok is putting others at risk. It’s not ok to be rude to the grocery store employees or to hoard essential items.

All across the country there are people coming together like never before. Even though we are isolated, we are hanging hearts in our windows. We are having Zoom meetings and virtual happy hours. We are going on neighborhood “bear hunts” for teddy bears. I cannot control the people who go out when they shouldn’t. I cannot make all of the kids safe. I can do my part to limit my exposure and keep my family safe. I can reduce my chances of spreading something to a person who is at high risk or immune compromised. You can too by staying 6 feet away from people, being aware of what you touch or staying home if possible.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. If you’re sheltering in place like my cat, you can still reach out… send a note, pick up the phone, do a conference call or a Zoom meeting, hang hearts in your window. Come together while staying apart – if we all do it, hopefully it will be enough.

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