There are so many things that are difficult about being a person right now.
There is what there has always been,
And there is a long list of what has never been before.
There are the dishes in the sink,
And there are the cereal boxes left open on the bottom shelf of the pantry.
There is the constant presence of people stuck in the house,
And there is the new fear of letting them leave
Because I’ve become painfully accustomed to them being always here.
There are babies born and notes to send,
There are deaths, so many deaths, and notes to send.
There is the laundry basket,
The domestic version of junk mail that never stops showing up.
There are meals upon meals upon meals,
Someone is always hungry,
And I seem to be the only one who knows where to buy more milk.
There are new words and phrases,
Like, “mask up” and “you’re on mute.”
There is hand soap and hand sanitizer,
Always needing to be restocked.
There are the people who need us,
The parents and the children,
The friends virtual and face to face,
Though all of them seem virtual now.
There are people following the rules for all of us,
And there are a few breaking them for all of us.
My son said, “Mom, remember Tiger King?”
And the fad of six months ago felt like two years.
This year has had more days than any other, it seems.
Let the dishes sit in the sink for a few minutes.
Leave the crumbs in the bottom of the toaster oven.
Throw away the leftovers you planned to eat.
Nobody else will be any less hungry because you didn’t clean your plate.
Give yourself one less thing to do.
Give away what is of no use to you,
No longer beautiful to you,
Don’t keep the puzzle without all the pieces, just in case that piece shows up.
Don’t sort the socks anymore.
Life is too short to make sure your feet match inside your shoes.
Don’t need to answer the phone – or even the door – unless you want to.
In fact, you don’t need to answer anything
Except anything that stands between you and the life you want,
Your hands are not the frayed ends of a tight rope,
Spreading your arms taut between stress and strain,
Threatening to break you under the increasing weight.
You have been brought into a time in between,
A space between longing and awakening,
Give yourself time and space for the becoming.
Make space for your own healing,
And that means letting yourself feel however you feel.
In the words of John O’Donohue,
“Be excessively gentle with yourself.”
In the words of Anne Lamott,
“I get thirsty people glasses of water, even if that thirsty person is just me.”
For the one who is exhausted:
Rest is important work, too.
~ ~ ~
A vulnerable conversation with my brother,
about absolute exhaustion and the humility of bed rest.
Love you, out there. Take care of you.