What a year. Exhale. Breathe in… Breathe out… Repeat.
Everyone has been touched by the pandemic, elections and social unrest. We are tired and longing for a solution. I have been hoping to have some sort of guidance; some certainty. Just something to believe in to get me through the moment, the day, the weeks and months ahead. What is that certain thing? Well, we have all learned for sure that the only thing we know to be certain is uncertainty. So where do we go? What do we do? How do we make it through?
Some positive things of note have occurred throughout the last year.
The Chiefs did win the Super Bowl. Was that really this year? We have learned how to wear a mask without fogging up our glasses (maybe). We have learned how to find cute masks for our kids or rep our favorite team or company. We have learned that eating at home can be fun (maybe, again).
There has also been tremendous sorrow.
Loved ones not connecting as they wish. Grandparents not seeing their grand-kids. Parents not seeing their kids. FaceTime is great but, it along with Zoom, House Party, Google Meets, Microsoft Teams etc., can only carry us so far. Plus the rampant spread. Over 1,000,000 kids. Over 10,000,000 people in the USA. 200,000 plus deaths. What is the solution? How can we handle (gulp) potentially another year or more of this. I think the solution is simple, but not easy. I think the solution is one word.
Love. I am focused on it every day. Not the, I love my Peppermint Chocolate Latte love. But, the love everything in front of me kind of love. My family, my staff, my patients, the person who cut me off in traffic kind of the love. The love is patient, love is kind, love. Richard Rohr, an author, spiritual writer and Franciscan friar wrote “Love is the only thing that transforms the human heart.” He goes on to say, “It is only we humans who have been given the free will to choose not to be what God created us to be.” This is powerful to me and I think of these quotes every day. I frankly don’t see any other choice. I have surrendered to this idea and will practice it, sometimes poorly, every day.
So, what does this look like?
At home, it is easier. I have already practiced daily, loving my kids and my wife. I can do better, but there is a precedent set. At work, it means, more time given to patients. Listening. Love listens. It means giving you a forum to talk about how hard things are. Asking questions. Listening about the hardships our pandemic has created. The deaths from the disease. These deaths include grandparents and kids. Suicides. It means me not running on schedule. It means me pausing to create space for you to chat, if you wish. Love does this. It allows room to breathe, to listen, and to give hope. Love can ease tension, if we let it. Richard says, “We must trust the pain and not get rid of it until we have learned its lessons.” It is a painful time now, but to me, love will get me (us?) through. This is the lesson learned. This is what I am choosing. This is my choice. I hope you will join me.
Brian Matthys, DO