Bridging the Divided

The End Times…?

COVID fatigue. A new word to add to the growing vocabulary of words associated with the virus that is consuming our lives. I am weary; anyone else feel that way? Weary of the unending COVID updates that begin every newscast, local or otherwise, weary of hoping and praying family members don’t contract COVID, and weary of being out in public and wondering who nearby may be COVID positive and not know it, or worse, know they are symptomatic or positive and potentially infecting others. It’s like playing Russian Roulette with our lives going to a store. But what choice do we have? We cannot get to the other side without going through.

I am one of the lucky ones who gets to work remotely from home. I love it. No more rush-hour traffic, I can work in sweats, take breaks with my dogs, hang out with my husband before he goes to work, and even get a load or two of laundry in the washer between meetings. On the flipside, those of us who work at home, although convenient and less stressful, never leave our offices. The other day I took a break from working remotely to take the dogs outside for a bit of sun and fresh air and realized I was close to tears. I feel that way a lot, lately. COVID depression? Why wouldn’t people be experiencing COVID depression? The everyday life we took for granted is gone or changed, replaced with the ‘new norm’.

Perhaps COVID forces us to look at our own mortality? I know I have a time or two. Most of us don’t give our mortality much thought unless we are faced with a potentially life-altering diagnosis, but now the sniffles trigger thoughts of hospitals, ventilators, and dying alone, isolated from family and friends. 

Maybe we should call it COVID traumatic stress syndrome? In this case, there is no ‘post traumatic stress’ because we are still in the thick of daily, unrelenting stress. I am asthmatic, a medical condition when combined with COVID could have potentially life-threatening complications. During the fall I typically have an asthma attack or two because of seasonal changes and allergies but this fall is different. The couple of times I have experienced a bout of asthma it seems worse because asthma vs. COVID thoughts niggle in the back of my mind. The ability to breathe is pretty important, and no matter how many asthma attacks I have each is accompanied by a degree of panic, before or after any of us had heard of COVID .

The times we live in are unprecedented; another term I am weary of hearing. COVID is enough by itself, but then we are faced with the civil unrest of racial tensions and the potential for uprisings as a result of the elections next month. I have seen posts on Facebook, on the rare occasions I scroll through the pages, that the ‘end times’ are upon us as foretold in the Book of Revelation. It seems a possibility, only time will tell. 

Those of us who have journeyed through life for 50 years or more understand life ebbs and flows. What sets the times we live in apart from other times in history is the number of battles we are subject to on a daily basis. I have lived through the Vietnam War with the daily death count of soldiers that opened newscasts every night, the assassinations of key public figures, and other cataclysmic events that ignited civil unrest, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks that shook the very foundations of our country, but they didn’t all happen at once. This is different, these days are unique, and yet, like the unsettled and cataclysmic times that are part of history, we are again presented with an opportunity to decide who we are as individuals, families, communities, and as a country. 

The battles we are facing are taking a toll. People are bitter, angry, hateful, fearful, and confused. We have risen to challenges in the past and come through them together as individuals, families, communities, and as a country, and like other times in history, the choice is ours. We can rise up and support one another, allow differences to strengthen us, and do what is necessary to get to the other side, or we can continue down the path of hatred, intolerance, and finger-pointing. If we continue down the path of hatred, intolerance, and finger-pointing, the end times may indeed be upon us…..

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