I have a confession to make.
Despite getting to work on time (all but today) thanks to the short commute, a coworker that allows me to hug her fuzzy self as needed, and ample opportunity to air out said coworker in the wide open spaces Kansas affords, I’m feeling all the feels. The laughter – yes. The prevalent uncertainty and concern for people I love and those I know in passing – yes. And tears that threaten to roll down my freckles.
Routines help. I have a list of overarching goals (Healthy heart. Healthy Thinking. Healthy Body.) and then a list of daily personal and professional goals. Thanks to Izzy (aforementioned coworker), I get out at least three times a day and on at least one good walk for us both.
I feel like I am doing some good out there in my working-from-home to encourage, inform, equip and hopefully inspire our K-State community … K-State family.
Family, friends and colleagues keep in touch. My gratitude jar is filling up. Most of the people I know are healthy and navigating losses with wisdom and community (even at a physical distance.) I have so much.
And yet the grief shows up at 2:30 a.m. or 4:30 a.m. or 12:37 p.m. with a punctuality that defies explanation. To be honest, I’ve learnt that grief and anxiety mosey by my home with regularity and long before the current COVID19-tinged season. Just as wonder and hope and joy make their home here.
Monday, I knocked out a bunch of work that was no longer needed by the end of the day. Life is moving at a quick clip right now and decisions are made in a rushing river of information. We adapt. We have a growing picture of what is important.
Tuesday, I read an excellent article about finding meaning in grief and offered it up to the good of the order. It seemed to resonate with folks.
Yesterday, long before the birds were up, I reached for a book that reminded me of the power of acceptance in grief and uncertainty. In the wee hours with the occasional train whistle and hooting owl, I realized that this is where I fall down. I’m great with Finding Meaning, that active sixth stage of grieving. It’s all about go and do and seek and find. But, I am lousy with the fifth stage of grief, Acceptance.
“Acceptance: the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered, to be in the embrace of what is without resistance.”* I have a sneaking feeling that acceptance is where peace grows the strongest root, too. So it behooves me to learn how to accept what is and what cannot be changed. And then continue to live and explore and be.
Instead of accepting what is, and with a certain amount of understanding how I learned to leap over acceptance, I have championed the resistance. This should not be. This cannot be. People are bewildered and hurting. This is bullsh*t. I must make this right.
It’s like I have a five-pound sack of meaning and now I’m going to cram 10 pounds of action and response and “mitigation” into that sack … and wonder why it often rips and tears.
“Accept things we cannot change …” has always sounded like shirking my responsibility.
But it is the one area of my lifelong shadow of grief that I have not embraced fully toward mastery. Perhaps because it requires so little action. It requires no mitigation, in fact it eschews any kind of tweaking and tinkering.
To accept the situation we are in now – March 2020 – and to be responsible neighbors, coworkers, and citizens means we need to accept the call to stay away from other people unless they share our homes. Acceptance today is to significantly limit our personal freedoms for a time so that we and others have a chance to stay healthy for the long term. We accept discomfort and distance so we – as a keystone species – can become free of a virus that is no respecter of personage, personality, nationality, or socioeconomic status.
So to be “in this together,” I need to learn to sit with my discomforting grief and uncertainty; to apply myself to learn a bit more of this “acceptance.”
To stay at least six feet from people; staying at home more than away adventuring.
Acceptance means no escaping into chocolate, wine, whining, or self-absorption.
Acceptance that comes from love and respect of other people – strangers – and for myself. In this time, acceptance is an unselfish act of love and community.
Acceptance means that my expectations are softened at the edges and to feed the soil of my heart so it no longer bears the seeds of resentment. Because, my expectations are not what will help keep people healthy and restart our community’s economy once we are on the other side of this pandemic.
Acceptance. This is my challenge today when I have no stiff upper lip. No rise and shine and woohoo. Just a late start to the day and a genuine desire to learn this acceptance, the fifth layer of healthy grieving and uncertainty with an eye to the long-term goal of living a good life, with great love and good people.
Acceptance: A new kind of wonder and adventure.
How are you friends?