photo: Nature's consolation March 31, 2020 C. McLean
Someone close to me was crying yesterday afternoon
crying into the phone, telling me she was afraid that this would go on forever, afraid that we might never be relaxed about being close again or ever be able to visit one another in comfort, normally, like we used to do. "It's hopeless," she said. "I'm going back to bed."
I tried to suggest she might want to get some air.
"Try getting out on your little patio. You have to get outside a bit. If you could just get a little sun."
"Well, no," she said. "Not today."
Then I tried the worse case scenario approach. "Just imagine if it was a war and if we all had to stay indoors all the time to avoid nuclear fallout, and if we didn't know when the war was going to end, and if we had already lost friends or family in that war. Right now we can still go outside. We are all well and so lucky."
"No sorry," she said. "I'm going to bed. Again. "
It may have been a weak strategy, to try to uplift the spirit with disaster comparisons but I couldn't think of much else at the moment to say that might help. It could be worse stories sometimes work and help us feel a little more fortunate for what we do have. But what we are going through although not a nuclear war, is confusing, depressing and uncomfortable. In truth I could understand why my dear someone close felt like going to bed. Again. It is very hard not know when or how this will all end and wondering when we will be able to come together without fear. So many questions that still can't be answered..the truth is we just don't know.
These days sometimes there are tears (and there were quite a few yesterday afternoon). Maybe the best one can do to really be in touch again with someone close is to be attentive to difficult feelings and to listen. I don't always succeed when I try to offer what I can, and I don't always feel up and encouraging about what we are facing, not at all..it's horrible not to be able to touch, to love without fear and anxiety. If I let my mind run and I think too far and too long there can be fears about the future and when it all feels impossible and I am lost and when there is nowhere else I can run and I feel nearly defeated, I turn and go outside. Again.
"Resilience" can always be found in the field.
Cheryl L. McLean