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Is it okay to be happy in a pandemic?

Dec 02, 2020

Is it okay to be happy in the middle of a pandemic?

And what if you're not? 

These are the questions that swirl in my mind on some days as I look at my children and wonder how all of this 2020 life will affect them (and us) for years to come. 

So far, our little family has been able to weather this pandemic. Yes, our eldest's budding teenager-hood has been somewhat nipped in the bud, and our youngest's school stress has markedly increased - but on the whole, as we are a bunch of introverts, it's been largely ok for us to hide away in our little love cave. 

And when the cave got too small, we went and found a bigger cave, more in nature, so we could at least spend time with some friendly Covid-free trees during this time.

This has been a good move, and one that was a long time coming. Also one we would likely NOT have made were we not pushed into it by the current circumstances. 

What I have most noticed during this crucible of 2020, is that it has pushed to the surface all sorts of realities that were easier to deny up until now. 

Why it is we must care about climate change.

The devastating impact this pandemic is taking on communities of color. While Covid itself may be blind to race and financial status, one's ability to cope with Covid is certainly affected by those factors. 

We are NOT a fair society. 

And so the question looms: what do we DO about that?

Geesh. I am certainly not going to be able to answer that for you, but I am doing my best to wrangle with that question for our family over here. 

And while our little foursome has stayed safe so far, members of our family have been lost to Covid. We've also had a number of friends who have lost loved ones during this time. The pain swirls all around us. 

So again, is it ok for us to be happy in the midst of this pandemic? 

Well, for me, the answer comes in the form of a memory.

I remember well the day that my father died, over 13 years ago now. We were very close, and I felt as though my world had gone dark. I woke the next morning with the rush of knowledge about his death, startled by the reality of it all over again. What felt like unbearable pain was only heightened when I looked out my window and heard the birds singing. I felt legit angry. I thought "How dare you." It seemed like such a betrayal. Didn't they know what had happened? How could they keep singing in the face of this pain? Wasn't their world a gaping hole of agony as well? 

And then all of a sudden, it was like I could hear my Dad whisper something straight to my heart. He said "They are singing to remind you that the new day always starts. The darkness ends. And though I am gone, they will carry you forward, as you still have so many tomorrows, my child."

I stared at the birds and sobbed. Tears and tears of grief. And gratitude. They DID carry me through. And so did my then three month old baby. Their newness held me through the pain. Their joy lifted me out of sorrow. They weren't betraying me, they were the wings beneath me catching me as I fell.

So my friends, whether you are happy in the midst of this pandemic or not, I urge you to go FIND HAPPINESS. And if you can't find it, BUILD IT.

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