In the last few days, my phone has been peppered with texts and missed calls of people checking up on me. I will admit – I am really bad at texting people back. Sometimes it takes me 3-5 business days to respond or remember. Sometimes I respond in my head, and it doesn’t make it to the person.
I’ve also been on a writing hiatus, which I need now-and-then to recharge and just do LIFE. Admittedly, I do this with my social energy as well when I’m overwhelmed – I shut down, recharge, and reemerge. To say the last few months have been stressful may be the biggest hyperbole of the decade. We’ve all had to adjust, contemplate our mortality, and learn to live differently.
People have been throwing around the phrase “new normal” which is what I associated with chemotherapy, which really is a romantic way of saying “reality”. It’s our today, but it’s not our forever. That’s what I looked forward to when going through treatment and during this pandemic.
There are numbers, interviews, and statistics about almost everything. Mortality has been politicized and weaponized – tapping into fear for our present and future.
In the weeks leading up to the initial shut down, I stood in the hallway with a colleague who I deeply respect from a different academic department. We talked about connecting a piece of literature, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I’ve always enjoyed volleying an idea to someone of a different angle to see what they may get out of it and what I may not be seeing from my vantage point. Looking back, I didn’t know how much we would all need the connections of the text and the needs we all require that the both of us pulled apart in an empty hallway fiber by fiber.
Regardless of science and psychology, there’s something which was not measured in the Maslow’s Hierarchy, could not be quantified in any cancer patient going through treatment, and also has not been measured in all of the statistics and reports in the media right now regarding COVID: HOPE.
The HOPE of a healthy and better future is what is making people strive toward a vaccine and others to elect to stay inside to save others.
That’s what we can do even if it seems all we can do is stay home to save other lives and the numbers are climbing. Hope is not a number and also not a passive practice. Hope is an ACTIVE expectation of a better future. We have to actively build others up in hope instead of tearing each other down with numbers. Hope is what pushes people past what they thought they could do! Hope is what is going to help us pull our heavy bodies from bed when all the arrows point towards the world falling apart.