Last December on a drive home from Chicago, I was thinking about winter in Illinois. I had just had a conversation with a friend about living in California where the weather is amazing year-round. On that drive, I remember sliding my hands down the steering wheel while listening to music on the highway and thinking “I need winter.”

Coincidentally, I’d recently had another conversation with a friend about some dark postpartum months we had shared. We were talking about our ability to reside in a long, sleepless 14 month tunnel and emerge with grit.
This is different. Pandemic 2020 in the gray, heavy days of March.

There aren’t really words yet. It is compounding. We are carrying stress in our heads, lower backs, shoulders, arms, legs. And I’m not even a healthcare worker.
We think we have the virus because we are so stressed that our body aches from the core and waves of “digestive” issues keep happening (and didn’t I read some place about this being a symptom?) It goes on.

The Byrds weren’t the first ones to say “there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven” It was Ecclesiastes – A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
It’s archetypal. Inherently, we know what to do but moving beyond the surreality is unsettling, nauseating if we “go there”. And again most of us have a choice to not always go there. Health caregivers do not. They are rising to the occasion and literally going there, some getting sick themselves.

Here’s what is getting me through.
When I say something that makes my 10 year old daughter smile big, I rest on that for a moment. I stretch it out. I want to make that moment last. When I do that, I’m making it last longer for her, too. She may remember having that warm moment of feeling “okay” with me amidst an extremely frightening time for an older child. Everything they had/knew was ripped out from under them. They rely on stability and routine for feelings of safety and security. So right now, I’m making tiny, perhaps otherwise fleeting or insignificant moments mean everything. I’m sacrificing my grad school work to just ‘be’ in the darkness with them.

If you are not able to be with your children right now, I want you to know (even though it’s not easy) I will not take this opportunity for granted, and I am grateful just as you would be if you were able. Because this is an opportunity, on many levels.

What gets me through each day is knowing the sun is coming. It’s there. But I have to understand the purpose behind this moment. I have to respect such purpose. And I do.

Every year in Springfield IL, around April/May, I emerge from a long winter. Driving beneath my flesh, deeper than my bones, drilling into the marrow of my physical being – the sun and the air, the smell of a ball diamond, freshly cut grass, the blooming trees they pierce the deepest part within me. It’s like a tiny hole is opened and my soul pours out into the atmosphere. It’s Spring! It’s New Life! I cling to that hope right now. It gets me through. And I know it’s real because my faith runs deep.

Coming out of this winter, and this season, specifically Pandemic 2020 (which we are still very much in the trenches) will be like nothing else. The reward will be great. Like beyond what we can imagine. Because there is purpose where we are, and we are coming together in ways we have never done in history.
Our daughters daughters daughters daughters may read our words and weep.