March 22, 2020
If I were playing a game of #NeverHaveIEver a few weeks ago, I could have confidently said never have I ever been quarantined or never have I ever lived through a global pandemic, but goodness to gracious...how quickly things change.
Currently we are living through a global pandemic due to the spread of COVID-19, defined by the World Health Organization, as an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. While the experts are working tirelessly in response to the spread of COVID-19, there are still so many unknown factors related to this new global threat, resulting in increased levels of fear and anxiety.
As a mom of school-aged children, a small business owner and an American citizen, my entire life has changed by the increased uncertainty and questionable stability due to the spread of COVID-19. While I haven't reached a place of debilitating fear, I spend more time than I care to admit feeling frustrated and focused on things that I have ZERO control over. I am definitely looking forward to the day when life returns to the predictable frenzy of normal.
Like many others, I engage on social media platforms to see the funny memes highlighting the experiences of the "new" homeschool parent, read about the creative ideas for hosting virtual hangouts and to explore the conspiracy theories behind the global #toiletpaper shortage. Y'all people are hoarding toilet paper...never have I ever thought there would be a toilet paper shortage. I'll save that for a different blog post.
Because I can control how, when and why I engage on social media, the various platforms serve as a positive and welcomed connection to my virtual community. However and with each additional day of quarantine restrictions, I can sense heightened levels of frustration and smaller doses of patience and tolerance. The increased volume of less-tolerant commentary reminded me of how quickly compassion can be exchanged for judgement.
While most are communicating a message to reinforce the importance of everyone doing their part to #flattenthecurve, I've read too many narratives that simplify the message of "stay home". As a survivor of relationship violence, I remember the days of being home and locking myself in the bathroom to temporarily escape the chaos and disruption. I remember the day when I went out for an evening run, knowing that I wasn't going to return home. I didn't want to end my life, but I knew I couldn't keep living in the same toxic environment. I knew I didn't want to leave my children, but I no longer knew how to provide protection. Staying home was miserable and unsafe. During that time in my life, taking a chance on the exposure of an unknown virus over the complete chaos that I was experiencing in my home, was a chance I would have been willing to take. Staying home is not always easy nor simple.
Today, my life is very different. In spite of the changes caused by living through a global pandemic, staying home is a safe and viable option. I wish there were more answers than questions pertaining to all things COVID-19. I wish I had more control over the uncertainties resulting from the impact of this time in our country. I wish everyone had a safe place to call home while trying to flatten the curve. I wish, I wish, I wish for all of the things to happen that I simply cannot control, so I have to let go. While I can't control the outcome of COVID-19, I can control how I experience each and every day. I can control the choices I make and today, I choose compassion over contempt.
How about you? How can you help shed some light on ways we can rethink how we experience each day during this global crisis? Join the conversation. Share your comments on our Facebook and Instagram platforms, by following @junitasjar or click the link to send an email.
As we continue to work through the adjustments of our current state of affairs, I wish for you health and safety along with compassion and grace. We are resilient and to get through this...HOPE is required!
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