People are struggling and scared.
Over and over again, people tell me that the hardest part for them is not the job losses, the closed movie theaters, the shutting down of the restaurants, or any other change related to money or entertainment. Across the board, the most challenging part of this pandemic is being away from their loved ones. We are all experiencing this collective pain.
Very few people were prepared for the complete shift in their lives.
They had no idea what to do or how to cope with suddenly losing the lives they have had. I knew what to do. I have 15 years of social distancing experience. While Ron was in prison, my heart ached across the distance every single day. If your husband is in prison, you also have a whole lot of experience dealing with separation from your loved one. You understand how hard it is. You live with this pain every day your loved one in is prison. The emptiness is not just in your home, it is also in your heart. You know how to make it through this.
Two critical things make this situation different: It is affecting EVERYONE, and everyone is in danger.
Social distancing is mandated for everyone right now as we face COVID-19. The virus continues to spread and overtake lives. Our nation is still trying to adjust to the shock of extraordinary measures that impact every area of our lives. As if that is not enough, the spread of the virus is catapulting families into fear-driven, irrational behaviors. It is a scary time. We are living out what our grandchildren will be learning about in history books. No one was prepared for this. Families are devastated and terrified, and you can help them.
I know each of you is also trying to adjust to the lockdowns of the prisons.
With prison visits all over the country halted, families don’t know how to stay in contact. Prisoners are at risk of contracting the virus, and that is frightening because healthcare inside prisons is minimal. States across the nation are faced with decisions about releasing prisoners early to avoid an outbreak, and we all wait with bated breath as they make these decisions. It is hard, really hard, to hold onto faith and peace as each day unfolds with more bad news. But today, I am asking you to think about how you can help others around you.
Although you are walking through a situation that few understand, you understand what most people are suffering right now. You have the advantage (dare I use the word “advantage” to describe the hell you have overcome?) of experience with social distancing. You weathered weeks adjusting to a “new normal.” Those days were ridiculously painful. Some days, all you could do was crawl through the day. But you found your footing, and soon you became stronger. You were more resilient, and you had developed the courage you needed to face everything and recover.
Today, your neighbors need to borrow strength from you.
They need you to remind them that they are going to make it. They need to hear from you that the distance that is between them and their loved ones will only be there temporarily. Tell them you know it hurts, but that they will be OK. Their family will survive and grow more resilient if they focus on being grateful for the things they do have.
I want to encourage you to speak up and share your stories of overcoming so many challenges. Help others to find the courage they need to face the challenges of this global pandemic and adapt their lifestyles to overcome it. Families need comfort, encouragement, and understanding to help them get through this season. They need the reassurance that this will come to an end; lest they need to know they are capable of surviving. You are in the unique position of therefore being able to speak hope into their lives.
Let’s change our world and combat this virus together.
Stay well and ash your hands. Remember to stay at home. But most of all, encourage others through social media and phone calls!
I am rooting for you!