COVID Confidential

by Robin Mitzcavitch, Director of Religious Exploration & Education

It’s probably not just me, but sometimes I feel like it is. How am I “supposed” to be as we continue into another season of COVID? I read a lot of articles. Revelations. Old news. Confusion. I’m absorbing other people’s experiences and opinions surrounding this pandemic. I feel the weight, like others do, and I agree that it’s getting old. So old. I tell people how I feel. In turn, I listen to their different takes. Sometimes we agree, and sometimes I feel burdened by others’ extreme caution or lack of it. I decided to take a deeper inventory and try to sort out what I have come to know personally, and what I have observed with a deeper understanding. Please indulge me as I share……..

My Top 10 COVID Lessons (so far) 

  1. COVID ruins plans. It’s hard to identify as a planner right now. How can I live if I can’t plan? Is the COVID message to “live in the moment”? For my occupation, that seems daunting. I plug along.
  1. Humans look for a culprit. We all know this. Pointing fingers does no good in my world.
  1. Most people need people around them. At first it was sort of an adventure. Let’s celebrate our introverted side, resting those vocal chords, re-wearing those same sweatpants, and letting our hair grow long and turn gray. Soon, I noticed that I was having in-depth conversations with my letter carrier. A really interesting person, by the way.
  1. Life goes on. Yes, even as the world seems to be spinning in chaos, people do “regular” life things like get educated, sing, dance, fall in love, have babies, celebrate, and grieve.
  1. Social media helps and hurts. Simultaneously. I’m sitting in my house, making my 5th quilt, and they are daring to travel! Then, I have to travel. People place the “surprised face” emoji on my post. So what’s the big deal? You have to live!  Am I judging? Am I being judged?  I’m connected on social media to people I may never have been connected with. Social media has helped the teens I know not be so isolated. Will I ever be able to begin to balance the two? It’s surely a love/hate relationship.
  1. Thank goodness for technology. Yet, technology gives me anxiety so, I feel the need to grow a garden and walk in the woods. And thank goodness for ZOOM, because I am still employed because of it, but if I hear “Robin you’re muted” one more time……
  1. Fear brings out the worst in people. I had to have my knee replaced smack in the middle of COVID.  I decided to do it in Maine with a great surgeon that had been recommended to me. I planned to stay with my best friend for part of my recovery. A few days into my recovery, my friend came home from work feeling deathly ill, called his doctor, and was told to go get a COVID test. I panicked, called my husband to pick me up, and began hopping around on one leg trying to get all my gear packed. FEAR made me shut off my empathy for another. Because…. if I have COVID, then my husband probably does, and he was just with our granddaughter and his elderly father, and my physical therapist is now in trouble, and she has a sick child at home….and down and down into the rabbit hole I go.
  1. Hardship brings out the good in people. I volunteer with the IHN Family Shelter. During COVID, people gave more. Fact. People kept up with their pledges at UUCW – even though their future was in question. They knew what pulling their pledge could mean for others. I tipped MUCH better at the coffee drive-thru. I made masks for strangers and delivered them. As far as I can tell, this goodness is holding steady.
  1. Humans adapt. Some kicking and screaming all the way. (That would be me.)
  1. Can we be more flexible and not die? I want to let the child at the shelter sit on my lap while I read a story to him. I want to hug my sister-in-law at her husband’s funeral. I need to scrap the plans without guilt – even though the Youth Group will be disappointed. I need to say, I don’t know, and not feel like a slacker. I need not to be frozen, and go ahead and plan events with great hope that they’ll actually happen.

My overall take is that I still don’t know how to feel. I still don’t feel comfortable being that human who flies through life by the seat of her pants. But I know a bit more about balance. Balance is a lesson that is presented to me over and over again. I see that maybe I never had good balance to begin with, and now I need to be better about that.  

It’s not all or nothing. The lines in between should be blurred, and probably for a darn good reason. People are different, and we need to honor that and learn how to focus on what energizes us. I hope to keep myself safe yet connected (in whatever altered way) to the good things in this life and the good that still can be accomplished. I know I’m not guaranteed the clear answers which I search for. I’m learning to live with that without feeling like I’ve given up.  

Hope is a funny thing. But, history shows that hope can grow in dark places- and yes – in times like these, the growth is challenging and slow. What else can we do but till the soil and pull the weeds? I will pull on my gloves and try to support myself and others to keep the balance and the hope together. Will you join me?