Whoa. The past week has been intense… surreal. As Seattle takes its place as the capitol of covid, the virus itself has lost its steam as the primary driver of fear. We see our communities collapsing around us, minimum-wage workers losing their jobs, schools closed indefinitely, gig-workers out of gigs, and small businesses saddled with a lot of hard choices. The economic and social impact of distancing has hit us hard, and its only Week 2.
I have found myself vacillating between panic and calm rationality, and I know I’ve been here before. I lived in NYC during 9/11 and I watched the first tower collapse upon itself from my bedroom window, a mushroom cloud of humans and debris billowing out in my direction. I could not believe what I was seeing and half expected the empire state building to open up so that superman could fly out. What I saw was so improbable I thought anything was possible. The coronavirus pandemic feels an awful lot like that, and I know now what I also knew then. Life as we have known it is over.
This is not necessarily a bad thing.
I resent how the media has handled the outbreak. The truth is most of us will not be harmed by COVID19, even if we get it. But we are taking drastic measures because for some of our people, it is very, very deadly. We are self-quarantining to protect our community, not to protect our individual selves or our families. We are suffering this discomfort because community matters, well-functioning health systems matter, and our ability to care for one another is the great opportunity here.
I’m uncomfortable AF. The uncertainty is killing me. My chest is tight, my throat is dry from allergies and acid reflex (or is it Covid?), and I’m googling ‘coronavirus seattle’ five times a day. I want my mommy. I want to run away. All of it. But when I reflect on my discomfort as an act of love, I feel a little lighter.
After 9/11 we had an opportunity to embrace tolerance, to reflect honestly on the role we have played in Mid-East relations for decades. But instead we opted for the language of hatred, pledging vengeance on the ‘evil-doers.’ It was soul crushing to witness. And we’re still suffering the consequences almost 20 years later.
With the coronavirus pandemic, we have an opportunity to be the change we want to see as result of this crisis. Let’s understand that individually we are only as strong as the fabric of our community, and instead of choosing fear, lets determine to help each other out.
Let’s be in this together, even if we can’t actually be together.
CURA was founded intentionally to be a gathering space in the communities where we serve. We cannot healthfully gather in person right now, but please join us virtually every Friday morning for some mindfulness meditation and community reflection. Details here.
We wish you the best.