Welcome to the club. That’s what Jim said as he pulled the needle from my arm. “You’ve saved at least one person’s life. You can’t do better than that.” I gulped and resisted a moment of emotion that I didn’t want to reveal. “Awe, thank you Jim. You and Alanna made it so painless. Thank you for what you are doing,” I said.
I’ve felt like I should be doing more. I’ve helped a friend out here and there. I’ve offered my Juggle Source services for free, and my prayer list is long, but I wasn’t sinking my teeth into anything where I could see an impact. There are so many people on the front lines, it’s hard not to be part of the equation when I am seemingly healthy. Instead, I’ve spent hours designing products and learning the skill of maintaining an Etsy store with T-shirts and other products. I recognize how crucial it is that I am creative and generate an income. I would tell anyone that’s what they too should do. Yet when life is so broken, I want to fix something. And now with what seemed like a small amount of energy, I had fixed something. No, I had saved someone. Jim said so. And he welcomed me to the club.
Over the last many years I’ve been admitted to “clubs” that I would have rather not joined, but because the direction my life took, I’d become an unwilling member. That is life. Most of us have become a member of some club we’d rather not join. Single, unemployed, illness,… the list is long. I’m starting another club: The Coronavirus Carb Club. We insiders can call it Triple C. If you know what this is, you are automatically admitted. Criteria is that you have to have had at least one baked good a day for the last week, homemade or store bought. It doesn’t matter. OK… I’m going to loosen up the criteria. If your Go To has been chips and salsa or potato chips, you’re also a member.
Being welcomed into the club felt honorable. Here I’m talking about Jim’s club, the American Red Cross, not Triple C. In the past, I’d been turned away for one reason or another. This time I was accepted. Good weight (thank you, Carb Club), good iron count, good blood pressure. Woo Hoo! Being fifty-nine in a day of coronavirus, this was good news. I had a weird sense of accomplishment, like a little satisfaction that in the face of being of “that group,” I could beat the odds. Not that I will tempt them.
Right now we are all members of a club that we didn’t choose. It’s the Coronavirus 2020 Club. There is one condition: you are alive. You don’t live in a particular country, county, or city to qualify. It is not income or socio-economic dependent. There is no consideration to profession, education, social status, race, political party, or religion. There is some preference to a certain age group (that I will not repeat), and people with underlying health conditions. But still all people in the world are active members, even if slow to accept this status.
There are a whole lot of downsides to this club. Initiation is a steep expectation to sacrifice mobility and submit to authority. For some, we will do it because we respect or fear authority. For others, we will do it because we want to do our part in keeping others safe. For some it’s to keep ourselves safe. For many, it’s for all these reasons. But some cannot conceive of the absurdity of an invisible attack on human kind. And it does seem absurd. We all recognize that this virus doesn’t line up with what we, especially Americans, know in our world of modern day medicine. These individuals can’t get past this, or some won’t let something stand in the way of progress and living their lives. Especially something they can’t see. The invisible enemies are always the hardest to confront.
In spite of our perspective, we’re all part of the club. Rules for membership are given to us via an overwhelming number of sources: TV, radio, Internet, social media, and each other. I access it all, every day, although, I’ve begun to take breaks. I even spotted info on a piece of paper lying in the middle of the road yesterday. Because it didn’t have Dr. Fauci’s name on it, I decided to place it in the garbage. We must sift through a lot of the info we hear and see, and do the same, place it in the garbage.
Really, there are three simple (not easy) rules:
- Stay home
- Wash your hands often
- Keep six feet between yourself and others
Everything else is a variation of that or instructions on how to accomplish those things.
This experience is the great equalizer. We’re all subject to the same threat and must figure out how to cope. And that we are. Before we joined this club, we often suppressed emotions, some so foreign we couldn’t identify them. So we could take on the demands of the day, we kept them at a distance, way more than six feet away. If they tried to persist, we’d be on to the next thing, never allowing grief, loneliness, insecurity, or others, to crack open that door.
Today’s rules force us to slow down, give in, submit, and stay put. Our emotions have a chance now. We can’t use our calendar of daily activities as an escape. Whatever we’re feeling as a result of this new world demands our attention, whether we like it or not. Just like Hoda Kotb’s sadness erupted without warning for all the NBC viewers to see. We think we are fine. We want to be fine. And then we are not.
But here they are, our emotions. We get to welcome them, and transform them. We don’t send them away. We don’t dwell in them. They are not to be feared. We stop. We talk with a friend. We listen to music. Sadness, loneliness, and uncertainty joins us in the moment. We say hello, acknowledge them, and in the process we discover our humanity again. We embrace them, and invite them to be useful. Our feelings of hopelessness can choose to be hopeful. Helplessness gets to choose to be helpful. Discouragement gets to choose to encourage.
I hope you feel the camaraderie of this experience that we are sharing across our city, our state, our country, and across our world, like never before in our lives. It isn’t a them and us. This is a “we.” In China, New Zealand, or Hawaii, we join God’s people all over the world. This is really really hard for them, and for us. This is really really good for them, and for us. Welcome to the club.
There are three things that I just know God created because of his abundant love for us: sports, music, and coffee. Forgive the mix of genre, but I love all three so much. And by sports, I mean competition. I suppose a person could entertain us with his basketball shooting skills on a YouTube video, but without competition, it isn’t the same.
But like you, I see so many wonderful talents via Facebook and You Tube, and I want to share them all. But since I’ve been posting more than usual for connection, and a lot as I market Juggle Source and my new Etsy Store products, I have refrained from the myriad of things I want to share with everyone!
But I have to share this. We’ve lost our sports. But hallelujah, music prevails.
It’s the Garth Brooks Gershwin Prize Season 2020 on PBS. It was an amazing experience of artists honoring Garth Brooks, with performances by Christ Stapleton (unbelievable), Trisha Yearwood (tear jerker!), and Keith Urban. But the highlight was Garth’s performances alone, in the second half. When you watch this performance, it’s clear why he was admitted to this particular club.
And thank you Jimmy Fallon for being the funniest person on earth. My schedule has been completely disrupted, and I owe some of that to you.