Pandemic isolation and small divinities

A friend of mine posted yesterday a simple message asking us to offer compassion and even small gestures of kindness to ourselves and others. She’s a nurse, and so is her sister. To say this pandemic time has been hard feels woefully inadequate; anyone who knows a healthcare worker knows it’s getting harder. Too many people are suffering, in ways many of us, including myself, have yet to experience.

Lately, I’ve felt mostly the strain of isolation: a wave of grief mixed with my own over-analyzation about what suffragettemugrelationships this pandemic may have changed, on a number of levels. About how connections I’d assumed were solid have seemed to fade—due, perhaps, to all of us living daily under the combined pressures having to work, parent, cohabitate, and simply exist during a global pandemic. I know I’m not alone in these feelings because I’ve heard others express them, too … and I know most of us are putting one foot in front of the other, even in times of joy.

My brain works like this: The questions create more questions. I tend to hunker. All this is to say, over the past two days I was the recipient of the kindnesses my nurse friend mentioned. Dear friends reached out in small, personal ways: the gift of this perfect consignment store mug, a thoughtful note, a funny text, a walk around the block. And it’s no exaggeration to say that these were nothing less than small divinities, bright as an unexpected glimpse of stars, or the moon, through a break in the trees.

So I echo my nurse friend. Show compassion. Reach out. Offer a smile to a stranger (because even in a mask, we can all recognize a smile in the eyes). I will do the same, and we’ll get through this together.

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