Social Distancing Week 36…Both/And 3.0

Friday, November 20, 2020…10:38am

The end of week 36.

As predicted/warned/cautioned things are about to get real ugly – again. But this time the dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases and subsequent return of social restrictions comes hand in hand with the hopeful news that multiple pharmaceutical companies have had good trial results with their vaccines. We are once again reminded that life in a time of global pandemic is truly a both/and proposition.

Or at least, I need to remind myself that life in a time of global pandemic is truly a both/and proposition. I’ve hashed this out two previous times this year (Social Distancing Week 3…Both/AndSocial Distancing Week 8…Both/And 2.0) But as the weeks have turned into months, and the holiday season is now upon us, I have been struggling to find the positive side of the both/and ideal.

I realized this week that in the heaviness of all the (very real) things about which I am sad, or worried, or angry, I am not allowing the space to also see the things that are joyful, or hopeful, or beautiful. Somewhere along the way in the past 36 weeks I forgot to keep living in the both/and.

Can you relate?

Here’s the fundamental thing I had forgotten – I get to choose my response. I can choose what to notice. I can’t ignore the reality of the heavy things we are all living through, but I can choose to also notice and celebrate the lovely moments in the midst of the heavy season.

There are both challenges in our home, and good things happening in my family.  We will have both painful and good memories of this time. There are both heartbreaking and heartwarming things happening in the world. Life in this strange time is hard and exhausting, but hope and goodness can be found in even the dark places. Both/And.

Way back in week 3 of this altered reality, I wrote these words:

I am beginning to think that when I look back on this strange time, it will be a feeling of Both/And that will be the lasting memory. This is uncharted territory, with no defined ending and part of the beauty in that is the fact that we can all give ourselves permission to feel all the feels as long we are also giving everybody around us the permission to feel all the feels.

Perhaps it’s time to take my own advice and lean back into a Both/And mentality. There is both hopeful news and a stark reality that we are still living through a pandemic. Let’s try to hold both things lightly.

Be well my friends.

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