Hang in there
Cindy asks if I could help her get the Easter decorations out of the attic. For my efforts, I get a splinter in the palm of my left hand.
It’s burrowed deep, underneath my skin. I try tweezers, a pin, vinegar (I read it on the internet… it must be true), and as I write this I have it coated with a baking soda paste (another internet suggestion) and have it covered with a Band-Aid.
It doesn’t really hurt, I’m not complaining, but I know it’s there. Eating, reading, talking to you. No matter what I do, I’m aware of the splinter in the palm of my hand.
I’m sure you know the feeling–something goes wrong, something hurts, even if mildly, and you can’t stop thinking about it as you sit on the couch or take out the trash or set the dinner table.
These days, I suspect, we all have a splinter in our palm.
It’s just impossible to escape the news of the day. The infections. The death count. The tightening of restrictions.
Personally, there have been quiet moments of sadness, uncertainty, and lostness.
I mean, it’s hard to do anything without thinking about the situation the world is in. It’s overwhelming. I feel bad for my children, heck–all children for that matter and doctors and nurses and the unprotected food-store workers and the out of work restaurant workers and people who can’t get their medication and the dads who can’t be in the delivery room with their pregnant wives and widows and widowers and my friend who lost his dad and can’t hold a funeral him and the friend of a friend who died alone in a hospital bed last night.
I walk outside and stand on my porch and take a breath.
The squirrels chatter and the birds chip and the sun hangs high in the blue sky. It’s comfortable. A perfect evening for baseball. But there’s no baseball. There’s a splinter in my hand. I make a fist then open it.
My phone buzzes with a message from a friend who wants to make sure I’m “hanging in there.” As if they know I’m taking a deep breath.
I smile and go back inside.
I don’t know what will happen. But I’m confident that we’ll be okay. We’ll get through this. There are too many good people in the world like my friend, like my former student, like you. When things go wrong we have an uncanny ability to do uncanny things.
We check on friends. We get creative on YouTube. We sacrifice. We persevere. We transcend.
We do little things that procure humanity’s survival. We activate our empathy. We quell our own pain as we hear the loud cries of our communal pain. We love thy neighbor. And when we love they neighbor we, in turn, love ourselves. Not in an Instagram way, but in a very human way.
In a way that makes the world a better place.
The pain you feel–you don’t feel it alone. Unlike a splinter in your palm, we’re all feeling the communal ache. It’s deep and real.
And despite it’s earthly presence, some ignore the pain in their own hand to help others. I’m glad these people are here.
Even if we’ve never meet, I want you to know I’m thinking of you today. Somehow you have found me and you keep opening your door/inbox and inviting me in. You gift me reassurance. You listen to me. And I’m sure, if you had the chance, you’d would ask, “how’s your hand?”
I’m fine. I got the splinter out with a pair of tweezers.
Thanks for asking.
PSS– The picture below was sent to me by Mary S.. She’s in Boston taking care of her daughter. No matter your neighbor, your haunt, your situation– the sun will rise. It will be okay. You will overcome.