When Fear Creeps In

Chamomile Tea and an Oreo

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” FDR.

Easier said than done but am slowly understanding the positive depth of these simple words.

While the world grapples with the pandemic, we begin what could be a long period of hunkering down. Not an easy thing to do for many reasons. But as we watch from a distance our neighbors across the ocean and how the pandemic has hit them, we slowly realize what is in store for us if we don’t. Maybe it was being a girl scout when young, maybe it was watching my father insist on having a full pantry and refrigerator that are guiding my thinking through this. He grew up extremely poor during the depression. I always got the sense he knew hunger and fear intimately. But whatever the reason, I would much rather be proactive and do whatever is necessary to avoid the worse. Better safe than sorry?

As my husband and I do just that, hunker down, I realize the privilege I have to be able to do that. It isn’t lost on me. Every morning I think of my own kids. One is in Vietnam and he can’t leave. He wears a mask everywhere he goes as do the folks from the town he’s in. The arrogant white people don’t. He refuses to be one of them. The other is working in very close contact with customers. So fear has taken residence as a constant companion in my stomach. Then my mind expands to my neighbors, those with kids, those needing their hourly paying jobs, those without health care or sick leave. Only then do the layers of all this become clear as do the depths of fear that many are experiencing, including myself.

While I won’t allow myself to travel down that rabbit hole, it’s incredibly difficult to stay away from it. It is a constant dance and it takes massive effort to steer clear. Effort that, according to FDR, is well worth my time.

So what do we do? First and foremost we give ourselves permission to stop, feel, and then act in whatever way that keeps us, our families, and communities safe. That cup of chamomile tea in the photo above did me a world of good. That oreo cookie that my husband bought me, helped too. Going out for a walk does miracles, even if it is temporarily.

This isn’t going to be easy for any of us. We are going to need to dig deep into a resolve and strength we may not even realize that we have. We will need to be deliberate and persistent. We will need the utmost compassion for ourselves and others. It will be exhausting and at times overwhelming. But we will breath through and carry on. Why? Because we have no other choice.

For several years many have been saying we are at a crossroad in time on this planet. We are reminded of that yet again. It is my hope that we are able to have the strength and clarity to do the work needed to bring anything positive that may be lurking to the forefront of our decisions and may they guide us on a new pathway of actions that benefit all.

For all out there who are struggling, as I am, may we succeed in actively fighting back any fear we may have. May we succeed in replacing it with actions needed to take care of ourselves, our families, and our neighbors. May we continue until we are on the other side. Then, may we hold onto newfound discoveries that were uncovered, especially if they unexpectedly showed us the joy and benefits of slowing down, being with family, and helping neighbors.

Stay strong, wash your hands, stay home if you can, reach out if you need help or if you can give help.

Much love, Mary

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