I'm scared.  I don't know what tomorrow will bring.  I don't know what 45 days or 6 months is going to look like.  It's scary not knowing the next step.  It's scary going grocery shopping for three families because I don't want my parents or my in-laws to get sick.  It's terrifying when you go outside not knowing if when you come back, you're going to make your family sick.

It's okay to be scared, to be upset, to be angry, to mourn.  It’s okay to be upset, to cry at night and to not be able to answer the questions that your children are asking.  I don’t have an answer when my daughter asks when she can go back to school or when she gets to see her grandparents again.  This is one time that I cannot “fix it” for her.  We used to get together once a week with our parents.  I haven't seen my parents and my sister in almost a month.  Outside of college, I can’t think of a time that I did not see them for an entire month.

It’s okay to mourn the loss of the friends and family that you don't get to see, the experiences your children are going to miss.  Maybe the long-awaited family vacation or the spring wedding.  And especially those who we have lost and those we will lose to this virus.  

I’m scared I’m going to lose my business.  Being a small business owner adds an entirely new level of fright.  People are not thinking about buying new clothes, hats and jewelry.  They're trying to put food on the table, trying not to get sick and trying to be strong and supportive for their family members.  I understand their worries and priorities, but I am worried about my business surviving this.  

I am NOT a “good sleeper” If I get to bed before 1am it’s a good night.  On a good night I usually get about 5 hours of rest.  I tend to toss and turn and I am not very good at turning off my mind.  It has been worse lately.  The other night when I went to bed I finally had enough.  I laid in bed for good 45 minutes because I needed to cry.  I needed to release emotions that I had held inside the last month. I needed to talk to God, to vent and to be still.  Sometimes I can’t put into words what I am thinking or feeling but I know that if I am still, God can “feel” and understand.  He can see my heart, my emotions, my fears. I needed to get those emotions out so I can be strong again in the morning for my family.

It doesn't matter what side of the political aisle you're on; it doesn't matter at all.  What does matter is how we get through this. What matters is when we come out of this, what is it going to look like on the other side?  What will change?  How will we be a better person?  How do we take care of our neighbors going forward?  How will we take care of our small businesses that have supported us?  How do we support our children, our schools, and teachers?  What we do for those who have lost loved ones?  How are we going to support the ones who made the tough decisions; the heartbreaking, life altering decisions? 

The weight of the world is on our leaders’ shoulders. Could you imagine being a governor, a mayor, a doctor, a nurse or the President?  Do they have time to breathe, do they have time to mourn, to pray, to rest?  Do they have time to sit down with their family at dinner and take just one minute?  Do they have time to be scared?  Whoever you agree with, it doesn't matter right now. They're humans; they are humans and they are scared like everybody else. Give them that grace.

Everyone needs a little bit of extra grace. God gives it freely and so should we.  Everyone deserves extra love, patience, and kindness.  We can't hug each other or hold hands.  You can't hug your best friend and tell her it's going to be OK.  

Maybe when this all over, we will all be new people.  We will show more kindness, more grace and more mercy.  I hope we will come out of this stronger and kinder. Maybe we will take more time to relax, to play with our children and time to see our parents.  Maybe we will show kindness the person who is bagging our groceries and to the janitor who's cleaning up the hallways.  Maybe we will show grace to the police officer who's on the street or to the doctors and the nurses who care for us.

Will you take more time to go out and play basketball in the driveway and put down your phones?  Will you take more time for those long walks that we've enjoyed in the last few weeks?  What will you do?  How will you change your story? 

Even though we know God has his reasons for doing things, we may not understand or like or even agree with them but that's not our job.  I will walk with Him, let Him walk ahead of me and lead me down the right path.  You are allowed to scream, yell, cry and talk anytime…He will listen and will always be there. He was there before this, He will be there during this and He will be there after it.

April 03, 2020 — Andrea Whitley