Heavy and light in the time of coronavirus

The sheer magnitude of what is happening around the globe right now is staggering. I’m not sure there’s a corner of our world that will be left untouched in some way by COVID-19.

In my little corner, I am certainly not unchanged. In fact, I’m living in a strange dichotomy due to the pandemic spreading like wildfire. Let me explain.

There’s an intense heaviness that I think we all feel to some extent.

The heaviness of knowing thousands of people are losing their lives to this disease. And even more thousands are losing loved ones, unable to even say a proper goodbye. So many countries impacted, so many families forever changed.

The heaviness of suddenly bearing the weight of our children’s education. The wondering if our jobs will still be there for us when this is all over. The attempts to keep our families together and somehow still thriving without being able to cross our own property lines.

The heaviness of cancelled plans, missed celebrations, lost wages, shuttered parks.

The heaviness of seeing all of the front-line workers, exhausted by their task while all we can do to help is idle at home.

The heaviness of uncertainty, of not knowing when this will end and if the normal we once knew will ever fully return.

And yet.

There’s a lightness too, and hopefully most of us are sensing this as well.

The lightness of shedding the mental to-do list, knowing there’s nowhere we can go tomorrow and therefore nothing we have to prep for tonight.

The lightness of fully relaxing in the evening – no running off to meetings or obligations, practices or games, classes or lessons.

The lightness of just being together, with no pressure to plan the next dinner party or play date. Instead we have spontaneous FaceTime connections or Zoom calls that don’t require a clean house or make-up.

The lightness of letting go our need for control, our desire for stability, our grasping after the next activity.

The heavy, and the light. I think it’s in the middle that I find myself exhausted – trying to navigate both at once. Legitimate emotions, at war with each other while a war rages on.

I don’t want to dismiss the heavy, to shrug it off or ignore the reality of what so many people are facing every day. However, I do avoid most news and have unfollowed some social media accounts, choosing to limit my exposure to what matters most to me.

I don’t want to miss out on the lightness of this time either: the opportunity to lean into family, to renewal, to being instead of doing. However, I do hope to be changed by this experience, to be bettered in the midst of the chaos.

And so I live with both on my shoulders, and I’m okay with that.

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