So, This Feels Different…

Well. I’ll admit. This blog has been neglected. Ideas have come and gone for entries, I have fleshed out full posts in my head, only to decide in the end, to leave them in my imagination – for whatever reason. Too personal, not relevant, not applicable, stupid… the list goes on. But all of a sudden, with urgency and clarity…

This feels different.

Today, March 13th, 2020, my children, and probably millions of children, are on day 1 of a mandatory school closing due to the rampant spread of the Coronavirus, and its resulting disease, COVID-19. And therefore, I’m home too. I’m experiencing some thoughts and feelings. I thought I might take to my blog, to sort out some of those thoughts and feelings.

I’m going to make it clear from the outset – I’m not a scientist. I’m not a political expert. These thoughts and feelings I’m going to explore might reflect a little bit about both, because science and politics are integrally woven into my life, your life, our earth’s life – no matter which side of any number of given arguments you come down on. But that’s not at the heart of this post. The POINT is, that we are all in this together. It is a shared existence. And this virus that didn’t even exist a matter of weeks ago, and its unpredictable effects, are hitting me straight in the solar plexus with this truth.

At the center of this blog called Harp & Home is HOME. I’m struck, today, in what feels like a very different world than I inhabited even a week ago, that now, more than ever – ready for it???? Home IS at the heart of it all.

What is home? As I’ve said in other posts, home is our sanctuary. Home is our comfort zone. Home is our safe haven, the place where we shed the various roles and characters we play “out there” when we walk in the front door. It is where we are our truest selves, for better or for worse. (More on THAT)

I’m taking in this world wide crisis, and among the millions of feelings I’m parsing through, I’m feeling connectedness. I’m thinking about a mom in Wuhan, and how her worries about friends, family, and all she knows and cares about feels exactly like I feel. I’m thinking about how Italian school teachers 3 weeks ago got up and went to work, and taught lessons, and grew impatient with students just like my kiddo’s teachers did just YESTERDAY. I’m thinking about how no one in Iran personally knew even one person with COVID-19 a month ago, just like me, at this moment. That I know of. I’m thinking of all the people who took a vacation in the last month, and got sick, or died. I was supposed to get on a plane 1 hour and 8 minutes from now (my phone is currently reminding me), to go visit my 83 year old mother. But that’s out of the question now.

This feels different, but I don’t share the burdens of these thoughts and worries alone. Residents of every country, throughout this entire tiny globe, are connected with me, in my fears, my hopes and my bewilderment. No matter what anyone thinks personally about what is happening and why, there is no doubt that it IS happening. In that, we are tightly bound in our shared experience.

So now, for 3 weeks, possibly more, where are we? Home. Where is basically everyone??? Home. We’ve been told to stay where it’s safe – where we can be comfortable – where we don’t spread around the bad things. Looks like we have some pretty big choices to make, at home.

How is my family going to make the best of being home? Will we laugh, cooperate, play games, hug freely, and support each other through the lurking and underlying fears of what’s going on outside of our home? Will we ourselves stay healthy? Will we start to show symptoms of a disease we may already carry? Will we cave to the natural inclination to let another kind of disease rear its ugly head and fester – the monster of togetherness?

I hope not. It feels like an opportunity to be our best selves, rather than succumb to the negativity that change and fear can so easily and readily bring. I pledge to try. I’m going to put my best foot forward to look at myself, my beautiful boys, my husband and my dog, and remember that we are awesome. We are imperfect. We’re a rather anxious bunch, we come by it honestly. We have so many strengths and amazing qualities, this family. I’m going to do my best to keep that awareness at the surface, and draw positivity from our awesomeness. But, like many families, we have a tendency to be impatient, cranky, critical, and dare I say, unkind. It can happen, easily and with very little provocation. I’m going to try to stay on the sunny side of things, and I’m going to lean on my family to make that effort as well. Feel free to check in with me, to see how it’s going. And I’ll gain strength from your stories too.

It’s ironic, somehow, that my husband and I took a break from the delightful and beloved effects of cocktail culture a few weeks ago. And as I listen to people express what would absolutely have been something I would have shouted from the hilltops even 15 days ago – stock up on boozy treats! It will get me through! I’m sticking to my guns to face this thing clear headed. I’m actually glad I’m this far in, for what are the odds I would have decided to face this without my cocktail companion, had I not been feeling so damn good without it? ZERO. So, thanks, universe. Also, maybe putting this to virtual paper, and knowing that someone may actually read it and ask me if I’m sticking with it, will keep me honest. Again, feel free to inquire.

This is the tip of the iceberg. I look at the difference between 3 weeks ago – in my world, in my city, in my community, in my home, in my heart – and now. That difference is vast. I see that the inevitability of change and evolving truths over the weeks and months to come will be surprising and bursting with – what? Despair? Sadness? Failure? Possibly. But have we, as humankind been here before? Undoubtedly. Maybe not just like this, with these circumstances, but hardship and devastation is not new to the spirit of inhabitants of earth. Have we remained fundamentally creative, hopeful, and loving? I’d like to think. I’ll admit, in my cynical and darker moments, I can feel disheartened. I lack faith in the powers that be, I fall prey to the boogeyman that creeps around in my imagination. I can go to that dark place. But I resolve to gain control where I can. And where is that? You guessed it – home.

Like ripples in a pond, I’m hoping that an intention of peace can start within my own heart, within the walls of my house, with my own family – that then begins to extend to my block, my neighborhood, my community, my city, my country, my world. Embracing the calm gives us strength to weather the storms of any catastrophe. This is how we keep going, creating, loving, and growing. Imagine if we were all to do this? For at the end of the day, what else do we have? The world is our home.

So wash your hands, don’t touch your face, practice social distancing, and tell someone a good joke.

And remember, I can help you buy or sell real property.

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