I am scared. I am posting positive words and asking my friends how they are, but it is a call from a friend as she cries because she is losing her house because so many people have been laid off. I am fortunate enough that I work in health care, but I am scared for those around me.
This world is a dystopia come true, and while I believe that being positive is important, we must also acknowledge so many are so uncertain what world we are living in. Schools are closing down, and everywhere it is nightmare scenarios that you only would imagine in the fiction aisle. Suddenly all the politics no longer matter, we’re in a race against time and against an enemy we can’t see.
We are told to social distance when what the Jewish community does best is band together. We banded together during the Holocaust, we crossed the Red Sea when we were fleeing Egypt, we have survived so much worse and now we are asked to isolate. We aren’t allowed to hug or interact with people close with us but I am also filled with hope with what I see on my screen.
We’re all in the same boat, suddenly this has become the great equalizer. We’re all grinding to a sudden halt. The grocery clerks to the truckers to the healthcare providers are on the frontlines. The police, the firefighters, and people rushing to keep the shelves stocked while we do what we do best – sit on our couch. Yet people are losing jobs, and we don’t know when it will end.
I want to say to all of you out there – you’re not alone. While I want this article to be uplifting, I can’t forget the stories I’ve heard in the last weeks of people’s relatives dying in the ICU unable to see their family because of restrictions on hospitals, and toilet paper shortages. We have been in a divisive community and now we are all thrown together. So many people are facing the same challenges – people don’t know how they will pay their bills, we’re all facing an uncertain future and now we’re asked to do it by what may feel distance.
But we live in a world where the world is a click away. In the last few weeks, I have seen the Metropolitan Opera open their shows online, I’ve seen singing in Italy, in Israel as people led workout sessions on their rooftops. I’ve seen teachers pump out curriculum in just two days.
We have never faced something like this since WWII, and it is devastating, it is terrifying but I am bowled over at everything I see happening. Your feelings are valid but you’re not alone. There are other people going through the same thing – reach out on Facebook, talk to your friends, FaceTime, Zoom calls, read a book, watch a movie on Netflix. Make a book club, there are so many amazing resources that are now online.
Our way of life is changing, and there is so many uncertainties, the Jewish Federation is pooling together to create emergency funds, but the Jewish spirit has always preserved but don’t forget that it is okay if the one person you save is you. Your mental health matters. Focus on you, do healthy things, social distance doesn’t mean being alone. It means being six feet away, go walking, still exercise, go see the sun.
These are everchanging times but together we can do this.