What a time we are in, a global experience of an invisible virus.
It scares us because loved ones, people we know from work, a walking buddy are getting sick; some are dying. I am saddened when I see pictures of a daughter looking through a window at her mother, a sister blocked from any contact with her brother. Each of us probably spends some part of our day worrying, about others, about whether we will be next.
One term we hear often is “non-essential”. As social distancing and isolating spread across the country, only the essential people can work on site – the front line health care providers, truck drivers, grocery clerks, pharmacists, doormen and women. The rest of us are not needed to keep things going. That realization hit me this morning, in my third trip out to the grocery store in three weeks. Usually, I walk, but today I drove my car because it needed to get up and go. As I drove down and across major city streets in Chicago, they were empty. A few people strolled on the sidewalk with their dogs, a few people were out to get groceries. That’s it. Quiet. Everybody inside.walking
Most of us are non-essential, I thought. Not many of us are critical to be out, to be on the job in person. A downer. Those words connote not being valued, not being needed. When I got home I looked up the meaning of non-essential – “of relatively no importance; unnecessary.” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary” I wonder if any malaise, sluggish feeling, fear might be in part because we want to be necessary. We want to make a difference. And yet, we can’t right now.
So we need to find out own ways to cope, stay in touch with friends, family, co-worker, and even those we may not know well but want to check in to see if they are ok. We may be non-essential for personal safety sake, but each of us is essential to check in with others, do the small things that say “I care”. You are important.
This challenging time for so many of us non-essentials is to know we can do small things for others that truly make a difference. Is there someone you can reach out to today, with a call, an email to extend kindness and tell another that she matters?