Giving Up Us Against Them
This fucking sucks y’all.
It sucks that people are getting sick and dying. It sucks that we might not have enough supplies to care for the sick and that our healthcare systems might be overwhelmed. It sucks that people are hoarding. It sucks that you can be infected and not even know it. It sucks schools are closed and entire industries are at a standstill. It sucks that graduations, conferences, weddings, concerts, sporting events, vacations, and even funerals are being cancelled. It sucks that everyone is probably holding their breath when they walk past every other human on the planet. It sucks to be scared and it sucks to be afraid and it sucks – it SUCKS that no one knows what’s going to happen. That all we have are “maybe” and “might be” and “could be” and “probably.”
The uncertainty paired with isolation is driving us all mad.
Last year, I gave birth to our first child. (I promise, this is related). My husband and I took one of those cliche labor and delivery classes at the hospital. The ones where they teach you all the “hee-hee-hoo” breathing stuff. Anyway, they kept hammering away this phrase at us – pain with a purpose, pain with a purpose, pain with a purpose.
To be honest – I was terrified of the pain of labor. It was *almost* the first thing I thought of when I found out I was pregnant. While I don’t consider myself to have a very high pain tolerance, in reality, my fear of labor was so intense mostly because I didn’t know what to expect – I had absolutely nothing to compare it to in my life. You might say it was unprecedented – at least for me. (Do you see where I’m going with this?)
Pain with a purpose. The point of the mantra was to remind myself during labor that my suffering was not senseless. It was actually just a really shitty part of something really, really awesome. It didn’t make it any less awful – but it did give it a purpose. The birth of my son redeemed the pain I went through in order to have him.
This is where the comparison kind of ends – because this virus is not something really, really awesome and there’s no obvious really, really awesome thing coming. But I do have hope that something really, really awesome could come from it, if we work for it. And make no mistake, it will be work.
Again, the comparison isn’t perfect. The virus isn’t a requirement for the awesome thing I’m hoping for in the same way that labor is required for a child to be born.
But what our world is going through can be an opportunity.
It can be an opportunity for us to willingly overlook our differences, breathe through our fear, steady our shaking hands, and choose to come together and fight.
Because here’s the thing – we’re already fighting. We all know it. We fight each other all the time. It’s not news that our culture has become one of “us versus them.” But here, right now, March 23rd, 2020, is an opportunity for us not to stop fighting, but to change the direction of our aggression.
May we stop fighting each other and instead fight against the physical, emotional, mental, relational, spiritual, and economic impacts of this pandemic.
Let’s exchange Us Against Them for:
Us against illness
Us against the economic complications of social distancing
Us against isolation
Us again anxiety and panic
Us against scarcity mindset
Us against fear mongering
Rather than hunkering down and waiting for things to go back to normal – let’s aim higher. Let’s full on sprint towards this opportunity to bury whatever hatchets we have with each other and start choosing to see each other as people first and foremost, putting each other’s positions, policies, politics, choices, actions, and opinions where the belong: second to each and every person’s worth and value as a living, breathing member of society.