Living the coronavirus chaos one moment at a time

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Well, strap in, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

Some people may feel irritated as their news feeds have been bombarded by the coronavirus, but the emotional roller coaster we’re on is real. Who would have thought we’d be living in an actual sci-fi movie. As I write this, I’ve just finished my first week of home isolation with my family, and so far, we’re all fine. (As far as we know.) I don’t know about you, but I’ve been moving from angst to calm to fear to laughter — sometimes all in the same day.

At first, I was glad I was keeping up with the public health forecasts. At least my family would be prepared. So, we started planning, preparing, stocking up and hunkering down as soon as the virus arrived in the United States. Good for us. We were smart, and we were lucky enough to have the funds to buy a bunch of supplies all at once. But then I worried about those who didn’t. How were they coping? Thank God for the volunteers and donors who have stepped up to help them. But then how long can that last?

Then, as the disease encroached on Colorado, my personal fears started to ooze in and my “what-ifs” took over my brain. Although I don’t feel it, I’m just over 60, and I’m one of those immunocompromised people, so I fit the description of the usual target. What if I get this thing? How many times a day can I wash my hands before they shrivel up for good? I was spiraling.

But in the morning, I’d have a warm cup of EmergenC with my vitamins, and conversations with my daughters, and I’d feel hope and joy all over again. Until I’d go online and see people complain about their neighbors. Or the media reporting about coronavirus scams and fraudsters. Really, people, where’s our humanity?

So, yes, I’ve been up and down emotionally. Haven’t we all? But there is one thing that is constant — my faith. Not a religious faith, but a faith in our destiny as a people. Yes, this sucks right now. But who knows what’s on the other side of it? Who might we become when we’ve learned how to go within because we had months of isolation to practice? Who might we be as families after we’ve met our fears, struggles, laughs and losses together? Collectively, what will our community look like when we’ve acknowledged that our individual actions truly affect our neighbors’ lives?

I see a chaotic world right now, and maybe for a while. I’m not asking anyone to bypass the fear, anger, or sadness that is out there right now. That is real. But I also see possibility. While we walk through this together, may we also look to our higher selves to show us the way through to the other side, evolved. May we treasure family and friends while we have them. Through all this madness, there is no other moment than now, and we can choose how we respond to it. Right now, I am home, petting my cat, and feeling safe. How privileged am I?

Formerly a Colorado state senator, now a seminary student at Iliff School of Theology, Linda Newell, of Littleton, is a writer, speaker, filmmaker, and facilitator. She may be reached at senlindanewell@gmail.com, www.lindanewell.org, www.senlindanewell.com, @sennewell on Twitter, Senator Linda Newell or @TheLastBill on Facebook.

Linda Newell

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