Social Distancing Week 33…Be Gentle

Friday, October 30, 2020…10:03am

The end of week 33.

The last day of quarter 1 in the 2020-2021 school year – with no near term possibility that my kids will be back on their campuses.

One day to Halloween – which has become a strange battleground with people taking sides over whether or not kids will be somehow damaged by the loss of trick or treating.

Four days to the end of “Election season” – and I want to turn off my phone and not check my email because of the extreme volume of messages reminding me how much is at stake on the ballot.

It’s all so exhausting.

We had family pictures taken on Sunday. My high school friend who has been our family photographer for the past decade always does an amazing job, and this year was no different. She sent me our edited gallery yesterday and the pictures are fantastic. But somehow, all I can see when I look at myself in the pictures, is the utter exhaustion in my eyes. There’s just no escaping that the word of the year is “exhausting” and with pictures taken in the 7th month of this strange time, there is now permanent photographic evidence of just how exhausted we all are.

Life in a pandemic – exhausting. Parenting in a pandemic – exhausting. Working in a people-focused job in a pandemic – exhausting. Holding hope in a pandemic – exhausting.

Every single bit of that exhaustion is real, and cumulative, and palpable. If it were solely a personal exhaustion, I could believe that it would dissipate with more sleep or better self care. But it’s not just a personal exhaustion. It’s a societal exhaustion and I have a feeling it’s effects will linger in all of us long into whatever a post-pandemic life looks like.

It’s exhausting. I’m exhausted. We’re all exhausted.

Exhaustion can lead to poor decisions and big mistakes. I believe that if we could all own the truth of our exhaustion, we’d make some necessary space for the gentleness of grace and empathy. Grace and empathy are always needed in the world, but at this exact moment in time we need buckets full of both more than ever. We need to be gentle – gentle with ourselves, gentle with each other, gentle with our expectations, gentle with our words, gentle with our reactions. We need to reach beyond the exhaustion and find the love – that’s where my focus is right now.

Be gentle and be well my friends.

I can see the exhaustion on all of our faces here (even the dog!). It’s a visually gorgeous image. This one won’t make our Christmas card or be hung in our living room, but it will be printed as a reminder to myself that even in the exhaustion there was always love.

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