“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”Art Williams
This anxiety that is my constant companion of late scrapes it’s nails across my chest. It hangs at the corners of my mouth. It paces and wrings its hands over and over and over wearing a trough in my brain. I don’t eat foods that I should. I don’t sleep well. I don’t pray enough. I don’t spend enough of my day meditating. I don’t exercise enough because it is too cold and there are too many germs at the gym. This anxiety does not just infect me. It is the true pandemic, and it has reached epic proportions. No one is immune.
I reach for my spiritual teachers, our thought leaders and politicians for guidance and hope and all I find is hollow words and a reflection of my own insecurities and confusion. Who do I believe? What do I believe? Who is right and who is shamefully wrong? Can any of us be fully one or the other? Or is it more a complex and appropriate mixture of both?
I tell myself to look inward for answers. I remind myself that love is the only answer no matter the question. Those tried-and-true pathways to peaceful gardens and streams just lead me to empty streets and walls bricked with the crumbling mortar of our cries for someone who can save us, unite us, make it all better. The lies I tell myself are plastered all over billboards in this deserted city I have built a wall of expectations around.
I used to love taking care of people and comforting them in their time of greatest fear. I fear them now. They don’t believe in me anymore. They think I am lying or hiding something, or they think I am just plain stupid. It tears at me this betrayal of faith in what I used to stand for. How? How could you lose your faith in me? Your lack of faith starts to erode my own faith in myself and the purpose I thought I was put here for. I have believed for a very long time that being a nurse was sacred in our communities, our culture, our world. It is not. It is just another lie. When I say I am tired that word doesn’t even begin to describe the desolation I feel at the loss of my identity in your eyes. I am standing here naked and afraid, cast out of your favor. Spit upon and deemed blasphemer. How? Why? When can I go home?