As we wander towards re-opening this and that in our world, I like so many others wish for a one right way to do this. I want the answers. Mask no mask? Travel is it say is it not safe? I can turn on my computer and find more than one article that supports both sides of the question. It’s all a little overwhelming.
Back when the boys were younger we created a family mission statement. A place that we could return to time and time again to make important decisions from. It hangs on the wall in the kitchen and has stopped me more than once from launching into a decision that might harm those I had committed to live so intentionally alongside.
I’ve started to wonder if I can create a similar sort of place to move from when it comes to reentering the world with a pandemic still very much at play. I know I don’t want to make decisions based on individualism but instead want to consider the community around me. Before engaging in an activity, I can ask “could this put my community at risk,” and if the answer is yes, then it is time to either get comfortable with the discomfort of missing out or get creative in finding solutions that keep each of us safe. As a white woman this sitting with discomfort is unfamiliar so it’s going to take practice, commitment and patience.
There is going to need to be a level of humility as well. The rate at which information is changing means that what I do to make a difference today may not be the right thing to do tomorrow. I can get all caught up in my own shame spiral, stamp my feet and cling to outdated information. Or I can return to my original commitment to the health and safety of the community I live in. Similar to the family mission statement, I want to return here to ensure I am living from that same place of intentionality.
I realize that just like life before the Pandemic there will be individual choices. Each one of us will read, will learn and will decide what to do based on our personal experience. I hope I will be able to be patient with my judgment of others. Because maybe they are still living on last month’s information. The rush to judgment is my go to especially when I feel fearful or judged myself. I am hoping with the lessons of the past months and the rapid rate that things are changing at that I can invite in curiosity to lead toward compassion in hopes of connecting across divided lines for the common health of the community.
It’s never before been more true that I don’t know anymore than my sons about what the right move is, or when the right time to do it will be. As a good friend reminded me the other day, “we are writing the manual,” parents have not lived through a pandemic like this before. I hope as they continue coming to me as a sounding board that I can guide them toward their own internal compass by exposing mine with an honest commitment to untangle the broken systems that have brought the world around us to collapse under the weight of a tiny virus. In the best case scenario it will give them a roadmap to grow from, at the least, I’ll be proud of who they see in front of them.