Social Distancing Week 21…Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

Friday, August 7, 2020…2:42pm

The end of week 21. I’m really beginning to wonder if it’s time to stop counting weeks. But I think it is the only actual marker of time that makes sense to me right now – sort of like marking a pregnancy in weeks, expect something fewer than 40 weeks would be preferred.

The prevailing mood in our little family this week is one of sadness. Sadness about school starting online. Sadness about continued isolation from many people we love. Sadness about all decisions seeming to be both right and wrong, and neither right nor wrong all at once. Sadness about utter exhaustion. Sadness about COVID-19 related things and sadness about the teens both working through “real life” problems but in the isolation of this strange time.

It’s not a crushing sadness, but it is palpable. I know that in other spaces and times I would have done one of two things with all of this sadness – either attempt magical busyness to banish the sadness away or find a way to pretend the sadness and its causes did not exist. But right now, in this time and space I am making peace with the sadness. We’re sad, but I’ve come to realize that it’s okay because in general we’re okay.

Here’s the thing. So much of life right now is just sad – both for my family and for the world as a whole. We’re in a season of life that does not have a roadmap. Literally no other family in the history of civilization has lived through exactly what our family is living through right now. I know that tends toward hyperbole, but it’s actually an absolute truth. A truth that is somehow stranger than fiction. To honor the privacy of my kids there is so much I can’t put into writing – but I’ve come to believe this week that when Mark Twain said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn’t”, he was speaking prophecy that my family would come to fulfill. It’s strange in this house right now. Strange, bewildering, exhausting, and sad.

I realized this week that I have two choices. I can let that sadness consume me and control my actions, or I can invite the sadness in and learn to live with it for awhile. I’m choosing to make space for the sadness and know that one day it will make room for happier days. When I stop trying to ignore the sadness or to fight it off, I have more energy to find the bright spots hidden in the gloom – the laughter of my eldest child, the genuine excitement of my younger child, the small acts of love from my husband, the snore of my dog.

We’re heading into week 22 of pandemic life. There will be more sadness in this season. But there will also be joy. I’m working at getting better at making space for both.

Be well my friends.

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