Life was hard enough one month ago and one week ago. For so many, the last few days have been too much. i don’t know about you but i haven’t been here before. This moment feels like a movie and yet somehow it’s real. And how long will things be this way? How do we begin to accept this new normal? Is it possible to be informed but not afraid? What happens if i get sick? What about my parents? What about my grandparents?
For a lot of people, the questions don’t stop there.
“How long will I be out of work?”
“How will I pay my bills?”
“I’ve been looking forward to this trip for weeks. Can I still go?”
“We’ve been working on this event for months. Do we really have to cancel it?”
It is a time of fear and uncertainty, to say the least. Each new day seems to lead to more questions. While i don’t have all the answers, there are a few things i’ve come to believe over the years. i want to share them here.
First off, your questions matter. Your feelings are valid. You don’t need to be ashamed if you feel anxious or afraid. And you don’t have to carry these things alone. Whatever you’re feeling, whatever you’re afraid of, there’s a good chance that millions of people in this exact moment feel exactly the same. To speak practically, this is a moment to lean on the people you love and also to check on the people you love. This is a moment for honest conversations. If you feel afraid, it’s okay to tell someone you feel afraid. If you feel confused, it’s okay to tell someone you feel confused. When we do this, we allow other people to care for us. We also give other people permission to be honest. Vulnerability invites vulnerability.
Second, i went to counseling today. We talked about the tornado that hit a mile from my house in East Nashville last week. We talked about how that feels like six weeks ago because of all the Coronavirus news this week. Counseling is where i process the hardest things in my life. Counseling is where i bring my biggest questions. My counselor sees things that i can’t see. My counselor knows things and notices things in a way that is unlike every other relationship in my life, because it’s her job and because she’s very good at her job.
While it’s only one hour out of my week, it’s one hour that gives me things to think about and work on throughout all those other hours. Whether it’s in-person or on the phone or through an app, counseling works. If you’re struggling, please consider talking to a licensed counselor. TWLOHA’s FIND HELP Tool can help you find mental health resources in your local community.
Along with uncertainty and fear, we feel disappointed as cancellations are announced. i’m an NBA fan and there are suddenly no games to watch. i’m a fan of professional surfing and the first event of the 2020 season was just cancelled. In terms of work and purpose, i’m a public speaker and all of my March/April events are either cancelled or on hold. My friend Glennon Doyle had a book come out this week and she had to cancel her book tour. SXSW. Coachella. Broadway. Baseball. Soccer.
While the list goes on and on and grows longer every day, we’re going to need some good stuff to lean on and look forward to. Here are a few things to consider:
Conversations will not be cancelled.
Relationships will not be cancelled.
Love will not be cancelled.
Songs will not be cancelled.
Reading will not be cancelled.
Self-care will not be cancelled.
Hope will not be cancelled.
That’s just my initial list. What else? What do you love that won’t be cancelled? Who and what can you rely on right now? What will you continue to participate in?
We’re all in this together. Literally the whole planet. We’re one people all connected on this place we all call Home. May we care well for one another. May we live with more grace and compassion than ever before. May we be careful and wise but also honest on the days we feel afraid. May we always always always know that it’s okay to ask for help. And may we lean into the good stuff that remains.
As for TWLOHA, we will not be cancelled. We may not be able to see you in-person for a bit but we’re still committed to this work. We’ll still be posting blogs like this one. We’ll be active on social media doing our best to offer encouragement and hope every single day. When you email firstname.lastname@example.org, we’ll still be responding. When folks reach out looking for help, we’ll continue to connect them to mental health resources. We’ll still be helping people cover the cost of professional help as well. Since 2006, we’ve seen the best of communication and the Internet. That continues even now.
Hope will not be cancelled.
When things feel most uncertain and fear creeps in, we believe that is exactly when hope is needed most. We repeat these words as a reminder that the things that bring connection and healing are still needed.
You can purchase Promise or Good Stuff in the TWLOHA Online Store right now. You can also visit our “Fear Won’t Win” page to help you hold on to hope. There are self-care tips, blogs to read, TWLOHA coloring pages to print and decorate, and other things to do at home. And of course, there are links to keep you connected to the help you need and deserve throughout this time.