Today is May 2, 2020. I’ve been quarantined at home for 6 weeks, along with much of the state and country (USA) due to COVID-19, also called the Corona virus. I could list a laundry list of things I’m not allowed to do anymore, but instead, I want us to take a moment and think of the perspectives of others and what they may be going through. I remember living through 9/11 and it was so surreal, the country was in shock, questioning if it really happened or if we were just delayed in waking up from a horrible dream? Today seems much like movies and novels that were imagined decades ago, and so it does seem surreal, but this is our new reality.
Do you know what the image shown above is?
We may not all have the same views on whether or not it’s time to move on or open businesses, but we are all human, and can relate to the various human experiences, that are in fact, very real.
So, here’s my attempt to capture some very different perspectives of our current state of affairs. Hopefully it makes you consider what your fellow neighbors may be going through that might look a little different than the reality you are living every day. Perhaps we are all in the same boat, but maybe we are all in drastically different boats.
Medical Care Workers/Supporters
You took an oath to protect people’s lives, but you didn’t sign up for this. You didn’t sign up for watching hundreds of patients take their final breaths because of an invisible virus. You didn’t sign up for placing yourself at risk every day without the proper protective equipment; hospitals running out of ventilators left and right; having to make quick decisions about how much time to spend on someone, at the risk of their life or the next patient that is waiting to seek help. You didn’t imagine that people might lie and say they have no symptoms, only to see them with a dry cough when you reach to give them at-home care. But you love what you do and you love helping people to get better and to heal. Frustrated. Tired.
Never in your life have you felt like such a option. People on tv acting as though an older person is disposable; as though you have had your chance to live and need to be grateful for that. In your hayday you were strong, healthy, and full of energy. And now, someone may have to take care of you. You are more at risk that anyone because you are surround by other elderly people that have a high chance of contracting the virus. Invisible. Angry.
All of a sudden, you are a target. You may not even have been born in China, but are suddenly labelled “Chinese” or told to “Go back to China.” The latest scapegoat as people grasp at straws trying to displace their anger. You want to go to the store and buy groceries, but you have to worry about the virus, and also being physically assaulted or harassed. Leaders have offensively dubbed the virus a name that makes us all cringe, and puts you in even greater danger. And it seems like no one cares. Threatened. Angry.
It’s hard enough being a Black man in the US under normal circumstances, but now the country is MANDATED to wear a mask, and there’s just another fear in the back of your head about where you can and can not go. You can’t wear a hoodie and a mask; maybe you can’t put your cell phone in your front pocket because it looks like a gun. There is always an extra layer of thought of being Black in America. Here we go again. Tired. Unsafe.
Governors and State Officials
You may or may not agree with the leadership of the government, but lives are at stake. You need to make decisions quickly. Do we close schools? For how long? Can people cross state borders? What do I consider Essential? Weeks later you get a backlash. Protestors say enough is enough, open up the state. Do you give in to this? Do you hold your ground? Are you doing the right thing? Are you protecting the people? What about the economy? Stressed. Pressured.
Perhaps you lost your job and need money to feed your family. Or your business is at the brink of collapse and then you will not have income, and will be in debt. You don’t know how long this is going to last. You know that we need to feel safe, but you need to work. No one seems to be listening or they are being overly conservative. You feel your voice must be heard. Frustrated. Determined
Broadway is closed. Everyone enjoys the arts – movies on Hulu/Netflix, standup videos on YouTube, streaming podcasts and radio stations, tv shows, paintings, etc., but the Arts are always the first to get cut in schools and budgets. It doesn’t make sense. Where are the fans that say you are keeping them active through this period at home. Why aren’t people willing to pay to keep your livelihood alive. Perhaps you have started filming in your home and spreading cheer and laughter. Or performing for free through theaters. You are keeping us laughing, and it’s amazing. Not valued. Hopeful.
Grocery Store Workers
Sometimes you have to wonder if it’s worth it. You are making minimum wage living paycheck to paycheck and have to put yourself at risk every day. It wouldn’t be so bad if people respected the fact that you don’t have to be there. They come in without a mask, they make demands about why something is out of stock. Every sneeze and cough is a potential exposure. You try to keep a smile on your face and to be customer focused, but who is looking out for you? Frustrated. Stressed.
All of a sudden you’re expected to work from home and teach your children of different ages. Something is not going to get done. You’re trying to do it all, and you’re tired and frustrated, and you don’t know how to do Common Core Math, so you spending extra time trying to teach yourself. Perhaps you’re more mad at your spouse than you let on because it seems like you are doing more of the teaching than they are, or you are a single parent, trying to do it on your own. You have people nearby that could help, but they are quarantining and you don’t want to put them in danger. Flustered. Upset.
A true testament of faith. Not only must you lead your congregants in Worship and Prayer, but you have to hear about all of the sicknesses and deaths in your church community. You have to make sure to keep time for your own family and to really put your trust in God. And continue to be supportive to all of those around you that you are leading. Hopeful. Responsible.
You have always been on the front lines, but now you may have to arrest people that may have an invisible virus. It has become harder to do your normal job. Having to break up social gatherings because people simply won’t follow the rules. Worried that the several people you come in contact with may give you something that you might pass along to your family. Worried. Irritated.
High School Seniors
Maybe you feel like you have no right to pout about missing Prom, but this year was going to be so much fun. You had your dress or suit picked out. And so you hold your feelings in. Your parents are stressed out trying to work and teach your siblings. But you are sad. You’re sad that you will not get to have a graduation. You miss your friends. You miss having a senior year. What happens to your plans for after high school? So much is in flux right now, it’s a bit hard to handle. Invisible. Concerned.
Business is slow. You are trying to stay flexible, but the truth of the matter is that people are not spending while they are in fear, and most of your customers are scared about what will happen to their incomes. Perhaps your loyal, long-time customers will order take out or swing by for a small request, but you know if you are not agile your business will not survive this moment in history. Flexible. Worried.
This might be the first time you’ve ever seen all sports cancelled for the year. Kobi just died, and that was just sinking in, and now – NBA, NFL, MLB, etc – all cancelled. Watching Sports Center has lost it’s flare, and not being able to practice with your teammates has got to be rough. Sad. Patient.
The Average Resident
There’s only so much Netflix you can watch. Maybe you’re fortunate to be able to work from home. You don’t have the correct setup. You are doing 40 hours of work on a tiny 7″ screen. You want ice cream, but are scared to go to the grocery store, it’s such a stressful moment. And so you sit at home. Perhaps you are alone and have had 0 physical interaction. You haven’t physically seen friends or family in 6 weeks. You miss hugs and kisses and hi-fives. You’ve attended at least 100 Zoom or Skype calls by now and you are OVER it. Your house is getting clean though, but you’re gaining weight from all the comfort snacks and the lack of exercise. You meant to exercise on Wednesday but you have no idea what day it is, and this stupid rain made you angry. You have no one to take your angry out on, no gym to work your aggression on. You want to go back to “normal” but you know “normal” will never be the same again. You’re saving a ton of money by not driving anywhere, but you miss going to the mall or the movies. You know you have it pretty good and shouldn’t complain, but you feel trapped like a prisoner in solitary confinement. Frustrated. Tired.
And on top of that there are people that have lost loved ones or friends. And are trying to grieve in quarantine, which adds another difficulty. Or people that might have someone in the hospital as you are reading this; loss of appetite, and maintaining a thread of hope, as best they can.
We are all experiencing a different Pandemic and a different Quarantine. But we have no other choice than to get through this together. So just remember to consider these other perspectives when you might want to complain about your own situation. Remember to check on your extroverted friend that may be itching to get outside, or that loner to make sure they are ok. Grab groceries for your elderly friends or family. Remember to thank the people that are working on the front lines and to be kind.
And when this is all over, never forget how hard of a time we all had, and appreciate the small moments that we wish we could have right now.
The image shown above is a thumbtack. If you look at different angles, you can certainly see different things!
Stay Safe! God Bless!