I would have loved to have shown you a picture of us all on the couch (where you should be right now), but it would be a lie. In true army fashion, even a pandemic won’t keep the corps of engineers home. He would rather be here with us, but he’s out in the world, trying to find systematic ways to help flatten the curve when people must leave their homes. Any photo that has Eric in it would be with him half asleep, still in uniform. I am married to a freaking badass.
So many of you have reached out, seeing as you know we live in Germany, and we are ahead of you in the COVID-19 virus crisis.
You all freaking rock.
Please check on your neighbors the same way you have checked on us.
I wanted to update you here on how we are doing, feeling, and what we are seeing. It is my hope that this post gives you a little comfort, or makes you feel a little less alone.
This post is going to be a little outside of my normal writing style.
It’s honestly, just going to be a stream of thoughts. Raw. Hopefully inviting. And a little more ‘untailored,’ compared to my usual style. My brain and heart, like yours, are at capacity, so it is what it is.
As I am writing this to you, I am on day six of social distancing. Eric is still required to go to work, because that’s how the army works, but we are both actively trying to keep our space. Other than a few necessary errands I have run (where I was the awkward person constantly inching away from close proximity humans) I have kept to myself.
As a normally very active extroverted person, it’s hard.
As of today, German borders are closed. The region we live in has more than half of all the COVID-19 cases in Germany. Stores are closed. Groceries, hospitals, and pharmacies are still open. Takeout can be purchased from restaurants. Nature has not been cancelled.
Day 1: I cried a lot. And then I made prep lists. And then I got on Facebook – this was an incredibly bad idea. I cried some more.
Day 2: I cried a lot again. And then spent too much time on Facebook reading things I realized were just triggering anxiety. I got off Facebook. I couldn’t focus well enough to study my graduate work, so instead I decided I needed to establish a healthier routine because I believe, mathematically speaking, we need to brace ourselves for a long-haul. I decided my new routine, and then I started deep scrubbing my home. Also, I put pictures of the dogs on Instagram. They are going to be famous.
Day 3: I cried a lot, and then all the stores were closing so I ran a few errands for things like dishwasher soap which I didn’t realize we were low on until all the stores were closing.
I ended up buying a LOT of bananas, two 2oz bottles of rubbing alcohol for 8€ (close to 9$ – apparently in my head I can make my own hand sanitizer and all the cheap bottles were gone), four things of sunscreen (but why?), an unreasonable amount of body lotion, and a thing of newborn diapers even though I am neither pregnant nor do I have children. This was my panic purchase. None of it made any bloody sense.
Oh and a lot of condoms. Because if I can’t get to my birth control for any reason, I am not going to be the mom of a Gen Covidlennial baby. That just sounds like I am setting myself up for hellish teen years. My husband told me he would rather die than have to use condoms. I told him that wasn’t funny right now.
I did also bought actual necessities.
I got home, looked at my ridiculous loot which made no sense when I wasn’t feeling rushed, and remind myself that we are all only human.
It’s totally okay to laugh at this ridiculous purchase. Day six, I start to laugh about it too. So, if any of you need newborn diapers, I have some.
Wondering what I was thinking? I was thinking other people in my neighborhood are expecting, and if all the toilet paper jerks make a move on to wiping rear ends with diapers, I can hook a neighbor up. Yes, I did actually think people might use a diaper as toilet paper… Weird times, y’all.
My husband called my rubbing alcohol purchase “beef milk” which is a nod to a Parks and Recreation Episode where Annabel Porter tries to sell regular cow’s milk for (like) 10$ a liter. The shortage made me panic like you so apparently, I am now the proud owner of designer rubbing alcohol. Not to brag or anything. I did actually need rubbing alcohol.
I also took Luna to the vet and bought flowers. If I have to be quarantined to my yard, it’s going to be filled with so much Jesus it will feel like a little slice of Heaven.
For those of you that don’t know this about me, I believe nature is evidence of God. I go outside for my time with God. I see God in mountains and trees and flowers. I am pretty sure God lives in nature, nowhere near a city, and that’s where I like to go meet Him. If at any point I am no longer allowed to go on nature walks with this crisis, I will have a Jesus haven of my own in the backyard. I am extremely thankful for my yard right now, and that I do not live in a tiny shoebox in a large city.
Day Four: I was on the third day of trying to have a routine for myself. I stopped crying so prayer, routine, and healthier self-talk seemed to be helping. I woke up and got dressed because treating my day like it is intentional is good for my head. I focused on my graduate school work because the world needs smart people now more than ever. I cleaned. I went on a walk. I ate bananas. I bought nothing because I still felt bad about my stress purchase from the day before. And because I don’t need anything, and if we need nothing we shouldn’t buy it.
Day Five: Woke up. Read my Bible. Realized Facebook is a necessary evil – because I live far away from everything I know and everyone I love, I am going to need to keep using Facebook as a tool to keep in contact, and because if I don’t engage somehow my semi-extroverted self is going to struggle. Decided to start a “Good News” Facebook group linked HERE. It’s for all the people whose mental health benefits from a place to just go read about the good news right now, as this crisis spreads and news about it gets worse. This is my first order of couch leadership – this is what I am calling isolation leadership. I hope that this page will help others like me who struggle to be alone for long periods of time, and who need a dose of happy in all the scary things. Good news is still news, social distancing need not be emotional distancing, and we need to spread hope like wildfire.
I believe good mental health helps us social distance more effectively and for longer. Which we need.
Day Six: Woke up, prayed. And now I am writing to you. I am uncertain how the rest of today will go. I put a bra on so things are looking up. Literally.
So whatever your madness looks like, its probably pretty normal right now.
We are very scared. Just like you.
We are scared for our loved ones from whom we are far away as we continue to serve you.
We are trying really hard not to go into the deep dark place in our heads where we wonder if we never see them in person again because this virus takes them home.
We are scared because we both have taken and understand statistics and we know the numbers do not lie. This is going to be a very hard next few months for a lot of people around the world (in a lot of dynamic ways), and the only way to stop it is FOR EVERYONE to literally stop leaving their house.
We are scared, because we know that for flattening the curve to be effective, we are looking at more like a 3-month (or longer) span of time where you need to stay home. Just two weeks, respectfully, won’t do shit. The exponential math just doesn’t work out.
We are afraid of the people who aren’t taking this seriously. We are afraid for the people who are jeopardized by those who don’t take this seriously. We are worried that you aren’t truly prepared for what will be required of you to flatten the curve, and that you won’t do it, even though we know you can.
We worry about the economy, for all the obvious reasons.
We are worried about the other systems that were already strained that are being affected by this – like social work and the justice system.
We worry about your mental health.
Regardless of all this – we pray.
We prayer for wisdom.
We pray for leadership. In ourselves and others.
We pray that you sit down and stop buying toilet paper.
We pray you take walks and do at home work outs and keep connected with loved ones, because better mental health will make preventative work easier in the coming months.
And we keep showing up (at least six feet away from others). We believe you need more leadership and less videos of people losing their morality and punching each other over toilet paper.
Those people – they need some Jesus. We all do. But I’d like to start with those people.
We believe that this is an incredibly important time to demonstrate leadership within our local and global communities. We believe it is a time to demand good leadership from those in charge. We believe it is a time to meet our own calls to leadership.
It starts by not purchasing more than what you need and putting your neighbors at risk.
It starts by being thoughtful and fact based in what you post.
It is believing you are capable of hard things, like staying home when nobody wants to.
It is checking on your loved ones.
My call to leadership – it’s speaking to you openly and honestly, walking you through this crisis, inviting you into my shared struggle, helping you combat your fears with hope the best way I know how. My call to leadership is helping you to lighten the load. Soon it will be fundraising on the page as I work through a few details. Its running the Good News page. It’s reading picture books to your children online. And it’s continuing to run this blog so you have a safe place to land on the internet. It is doing this with a heart of love and faith and resilience, instead of fear.
We believe you have the power to affect change even if you don’t believe it yourself. And for all of our own selfish reasons, we hope you do what you are supposed to, because we love a lot of old (grandma, I’m not talking about you…I know, I know you are only 50) and immunocompromised people very deeply.
“If not me, who? If not now, when?” This quote seems to be making it’s rounds in my head these days.
We believe God is at work.
I know, the God comment seems to catch everyone off guard right now.
How can you still believe in God? “If God exists, God is either not all powerful, or not all loving, as is proven by not intervening.” I hear this one a lot.
I don’t believe this. I think that certain things are allowed to happen. And I think there is good coming from this epic shitstorm.
Globally, we are trying our hardest to work together in such a way the world has never seen.
We are reconnecting more intimately and carefully with our friends and family.
And mother nature has been over our shit for a long time now. Green-house gas emissions are WAY down, giving mother nature a chance to breathe.
That’s a lot of good and God-esque things that are happening.
Here is what we want you to remember, above all else.
Be gentle with yourself. And with others. I know you feel anxious. Out of balance. Worried. I see you. As a deeply empathetic person, I feel your energy and I know it’s heavy. I personally feel like I am energy overstimulated at the moment. I get it. We aren’t meant to feel or deal with these feelings chronically, and yet we are. Some of us are going to cry. Others are going to lash out. Others will just shut down all together. Be gentle with each other. And be kind to yourself.
Whatever it is you are feeling, it’s normal. You are normal. This situation, that’s what is not normal.
Remember all those times I told you life is hard but hard parts do not stop it from being incredibly beautiful? Remember how we talked about not confusing the words “hard” with “bad”? Well now is the time to meditate on what I said all those posts ago.
Take sympathy on the toilet paper purchasers. They are just trying to make sense of their fear in the best way they know how, even if it doesn’t make much sense. This is a weird and confusing and uncomfortable time for everyone, and people do really weird things when they are stressed.
Help the old people get what they need. You are fully capable of turning your hose into a bidet, but many of our most at risk don’t have the joints for that anymore. So i’ll just cut to the chase – don’t be a dick.
Remember all the people who were already living on the fringes of society who are also shouldering the weight of what is happening. People in poverty. At risk youth. The homeless. They needed you before this, and they still need you now. So do the addicts, love them too. Give them a little of your extra if you have it to give.
After this all passes, may we never look down upon those that do things out of desperation, like leave war torn countries and illegally cross boarders. Our people started breaking skulls for ass wipe.
This isn’t a media stunt. It’s too expensive to shut down the entire world like this, for it just to be a media stunt. Please sit down (in your house, six feet away from others) with this opinion. Honestly.
It is good leadership to stay home.
It is negligent, selfish, and just plain stupid to go out if it is not absolutely necessary.
We are at a turning point in history. We cannot and will not go back to the way we were before. This is proof we can work together better. This should bring us an immense amount of hope.
We are at a time where we can demand better from our leadership. From each other. And from ourselves. Now. And for all of the tomorrows.
Remember how many people are running into this situation, rather than away from it, on your behalf. Grocery store clerks, doctors and nurses, and local leaders for example. Recognize the helpers. Feel hope because of them. Thank them. Be gentle with them. And the next time a vote comes up for raising the minimum wage to an income level they can live off of without fear, remember they kept you fed and healthy while the rest of the world went mad and hunkered down.
Remember, you have never been as beautiful as the moments when you do things in love. Like you are right now.
We believe you can do this. And we believe you have to.
We love you, we will continue to serve you to the best of our abilities, and we are in this with you.
We are you.