Out of my mind and also mindful

Some things have changed for EVERY single one of us, and EVERYthing has changed for some of us.  I have had so much on my mind since the end of February, and so much to say, but have tried to keep from going out of my mind and just tried to remain mindful.  I listened to doctors and government officials from China in January and I listened to doctors and government officials from Italy in February.  I listened for weeks as most of the whole world paid attention to what was happening on the planet, yet far from here and wondered, time after time, when “here” was going to pay attention.  I am a devoted listener to NPR and I contribute annually to WHYY in Philadelphia, my local NPR station, and count on BBC World News as one of my many sources of information.  I like facts and data and then try, very hard at times, to form my own opinion about the facts and the data that have been presented to me.  I formed many opinions in February about what seemed to be happening, and my significant other and I had many conversations about world news and world happenings over the many weeks before mid March.  And then in mid March everything changed.

Anyone who follows my blog, or read any of my writings back in 2016, knows full well how I feel about the current president and administration in the United States.  I am thankful that purple is my favorite color as I am a blue woman from a red family who lives in a red town in a blue state…my whole life seems to be filled with differences of opinion which is why, in general, and with the people to whom I am related in particular, I seldom talk about things that make me separate from the people I know.  A friend of mine wrote the other day, about the current president, “I hate him with the white hot hate of 1,000 burning suns” and that is a sufficient summation for me to share here.  I have neither the energy nor the interest in reiterating that which is already known…BUT what is unknown is “what now?”  Where do we go from here?  This place, this scenario, none of us wanted to be in, and yet are experiencing every day…what happens now is the question that makes me go both out of my mind and keeps me mindful every single day.

How much longer do I have to wait to wrap my arms around my granddaughters??  How much longer do I have to wait to sit at my dining room table and share a bottle of wine with my daughter??  How much longer do I have to wait to be on my yoga mat in the yoga studio that I love??  How much longer do I have to wait to share a meal at a table with our friends??  THESE are the questions that I have right now…but you know what keeps me mindful??  “How much longer will my husband be on the ventilator?”  “How many more days of half a meal a day do my kids have to have before I get my first unemployment check?”  “How high does my grandmother’s temperature have to get before she calls an ambulance?”  “How many days will my brother have to wait to see if his test comes back positive?” …those questions that OTHERS are asking…so many people are scared and so many people are suffering.  At present I am not one of them, and for that I feel both grateful and guilty.  EVERY day I say to myself, “if I had gotten my dream job in the prosecutor’s office back in the 90’s I would be unemployed now”  EVERY day I ask myself, ‘what would I do if I was a single waitress and had three school aged children’  …my effort to give thanks every day is grounded by the knowledge that I know people who have tested positive for this virus, and I know people who know people who have died from this virus, and I know people who are terrified about what the next weeks will be like because of all the changes in our work and social lives that have come to be from this virus.  AND EVERY day I wonder how it has come to be that the universe sees fit, thus far, that I have no suffering, no upset, and no worry from this virus…yet.

I tried to donate money multiple times to the NJ relief fund, during and after the concert on Wednesday and the web site and the phone lines were jammed up each time I tried, so I went to ACME instead and bought $100 worth of food that I am going to drop off to a local food bank on Monday morning.  I put together two days worth of breakfast/lunch/ and dinner for a family of four.  I feel like it is the least I could do, for somebody who is suffering when I am not suffering.  I ordered masks from my neighbor’s nephew in Baltimore who put his business on hold to make them.  I feel like it is the least I could do, for somebody who had to stop doing their job when I didn’t have to stop doing mine.  My daughter is a school teacher and her husband is a builder, her ex-husband is a mail carrier and his wife works for a law office, all four of them are still able to do their jobs, and get paid and feel that sense of security that so many, too many, have lost.  My parents and my aunt and uncle, all nearing age 80 and all retired and all so far healthy; the four closest members of my family are so far avoiding all of the worry that many older people have.  They may vote for republicans, which I hate, but they are not unwell, which I love.  I don’t know how I’ll feel later today about anything…I do know that right now how I feel is thankful, that so little in my life has changed, and I guess I just want to let the world know how sad I am, and mindful of that, while so many are going out of their minds with terrible uncertainty.  Many people have said and written, we are in this together, but we are not…some of us are inexplicably lucky and some of us are devastatingly suffering.  I guess mostly I just want to write that we should try, harder when necessary, to be kind to those who need it, because the truth is, tomorrow could change everything for every single one of us…