It’s 2 days after Election 2020 in America and I am pondering the various things that have happened during the election season, in addition to all the things that this year brought into our lives. None of us knew that when we rang in the new year on January 1st, so much would change so quickly. For me it started out with losing colleagues who had been integral in my professional life for many years. That feeling of loss became more intense when the state went into mandatory lockdown when it became clear that the Coronavirus (Covid-19) had reared its ugly head and was taking lives on a daily basis. The devastating effects of the global pandemic became real for me when I stood in a long line outside of a grocery store, six feet apart from others and wearing a mask and gloves. The cancer survivor in me was triggered!!! In fact, the first few weeks of dealing with the realities of what was happening in the world made me angry and annoyed because it felt familiar. The mandatory isolation, mask wearing, frequent hand washing and sanitizing reminded me of the cancer and post-transplant precautions and restrictions that I had to submit to during that journey. Although I initially harbored negative and anxious reactions, I understood how important those regulations and restrictions were (and are) for the sake of protecting myself and others.
As if the global pandemic hitting us in various ways was not bad enough, racial tensions heightened as we watched videos of black men losing their lives in ways that should never happen. Protests and riots dominated the streets and the media. Feelings of rage became the order of the day and I was once again forced to figure out how to handle restrictions and the racial climate. I chose to limit my dose of daily news, unfollow a few negative trash talkers on social media, binge watch shows on Netflix as well as choose to learn more about the African American experience by the things I watched and read. It felt like too much – the rising covid cases, the number of deaths, the unjust acts against people, the negative political ads, the deceptions, the way our hearts were exposed for lack of compassion and empathy, the loss of income, the loss of dreams, the loss of close friends, the absence of hugs, the constant Zoom meetings and broadcasts, and the missing moments of love from people who should know and do better. I was fatigued and the world felt the same.
Fast forward to these post-election days of uncertainty (votes are still being counted as I write this blog) and the fatigue continues from the various things that have happened this year - people losing their jobs, students and parents working from home, entrepreneurs losing their businesses, people dying from covid-19 without loved ones by their sides, racial tensions, the obvious divide in America and so much more. It feels overwhelming and unbelievable. Yet, in all of this, I had to make a choice to get up everyday and figure out how to do life without losing my mind, my faith in human decency and in God.
Once I realized that the pandemic was going to be a marathon and not a sprint, I began looking for things to be grateful for instead of complaining about not being able to interact with people and enjoy the regular routines of life. I chose to be thankful that I listened to my good GOD gut instinct weeks before the covid crisis hit America, and purchased extra toilet tissue (not knowing that weeks later, they would be difficult to find in the stores). I chose to be thankful for saving money on gas because I was not driving to work every day. I enjoyed sleeping in later and not having to wake up to an alarm. I was grateful that I did not have to commute in traffic. I appreciated the flexibility of working from home. I initially resented Zoom but grew to appreciate this meeting platform. In fact, my first overseas speaking engagement took place on Zoom when I was guest speaker at an event in England. Bottom-line is I chose to acknowledge and appreciate the simple yet significant things.
As I wait with the world on the final results of the American election 2020, I exhale and embrace what I know to be true. Fatigue does not mean we should throw in the towel. In fact, it is an invitation to pause, pace oneself and prioritize what is most important. There are so many things outside of our control but in the same token, there are many things that we can make choices about regarding our responses and reactions. I have already decided that regardless of the election results, I am going to trust in THE ONE who knows my future because He is already there. I am going to remain true to my daily assignments and obligations in life so that I will bloom where I am planted. I am going to remember what is true because ‘facts’ can sometime be false and ‘friends’ can sometimes be fickle. I will choose to prioritize self-care while seeking to care for others as well. I will choose to inspire lives in simple and significant ways.