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Acceptance in the Time of COVID

Updated: Apr 20


What a crazy time we’re living in! It’s hard to comprehend. It’s scary. It’s frustrating.


Yesterday I saw news stories about protests in some states to allow schools and businesses to open back up. It’s normal to be angry about this COVID pandemic. Our world has been turned upside down. Could things have been different? Yes, of course they could have been. But in America we’re very used to our freedom.


A few weeks ago it seemed completely unfathomable that millions of people would stop going about their normal, everyday business and just stay home. It was inconceivable that kids would stop going to school, college students would pack up and go home. That office workers would have to become experts on Zoom and that getting dressed for work would mean donning sweats and a nice top. I couldn't have imagined a few weeks ago that we’d have to wear masks and cue up (6 feet apart) just to shop at Target. Nothing like this has happened in my lifetime.


From inside our homes, it can be tempting to get caught up in the inconvenience of it all.  It can be tempting to look for someone to blame and to even go into denial that these measures are even necessary. It’s natural to second guess a decision as costly as this shutdown has been.


It’s hard to wonder where the next rent check is going to come from. For those who have savings and investments, it’s hard to consider reallocating money to living expenses when maybe that money was originally earmarked for the kids' college fund or a tropical vacation or to repave the driveway.


When things change as rapidly and drastically as they have recently, it is perfectly normal to resist and deny that it’s necessary. I keep thinking about my grandparents who came of age during the depression and WWII and I gain inspiration from their fortitude and courage. Those hard years that they lived through, serving in the Army during the war, losing friends and persevering through fear, uncertainty and sacrifice puts this quarantine into perspective. It doesn’t make it better but it makes me recognize that we are all tougher and more resilient than we give ourselves credit for.


When I get nervous about the economic cost of this shutdown, I think about how much I would give to save the lives of my husband or my children. I’d give everything I own to save them. So in that context, I recognize that even though this shutdown is costly from an economic standpoint, if it saves my family and those of people around me, it’s a small price to pay.


Arriving at acceptance doesn’t mean that you have to like the situation. It just means that you stop actively fighting it. It means that you preserve your energy for more productive pursuits. Finding the silver lining in this time doesn’t mean you love being cooped up. It just means that you can be present in what is. Get curious about acceptance and see what you discover.

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© 2018 Terry B. McDougall