Today’s Word from Denise Wilson…
Denise is a TLC member, and faculty at the University of Washington
Here’s a typical work day during the pandemic. These days amount to just about seven per week, since the apocalypse was declared and certain professions deemed essential assumed that all persons employed in those professions were suddenly superhuman, devoid of any needs related to rest, relaxation, or recuperation.
I wake up in the morning feeling like a pile of bricks. My body feels so heavy that getting out of bed using my available muscle strength seems to be violating one or more laws of physics. It has been another busy, busy night supervised by a brain that is scrambling to complete multiple repairs of my psyche before it’s time to get up and go again. Some of that overnight repair job is submarined by stress dreams like the one where I’m late to the airport and run into every obstacle in the world en route, ultimately missing a most important flight to who knows where. Some of my sleep time is devoted to more ordinary nightmares where fear, anguish, and grief trade hands with one another over a story with no real plot but enough emotion to sort out and organize whatever lay heavy on my heart the evening before. Since the pandemic began, however, these dramatic dreams are often overshadowed by moments of terror where I am trapped in the middle of a horrifying situation while paralyzed by my brain which is preventing me from running out the door into the yard and down the road while still sleeping. Exhausted from all these machinations that go on in the night, I fall into deep dreamless sleep shortly before it’s time to wake up and get moving again. Of course, my body is at odds with my schedule and fights to keep me in bed, piling the bricks on one by one in the hopes that I’ll take another hour to sleep and recover my strength.
Having managed to push the bricks off of me and climb out of bed, I’ll get in a couple hours of being clear and focused, before the mental fog rolls in off the cerebral horizon. An equation that seemed simple suddenly becomes gibberish. A scheduling hiccup becomes impossible to resolve. A question from a student sounds like it’s uttered in a foreign language. A simple question about the grocery list might as well be about the theory of relativity. And with every question or every problem that I can no longer address with any measure of skill or elegance, I feel more dismayed. Inspired by my missteps, the mental fog grows even thicker.
By mid-afternoon, my battle with the mental fog has sapped most of the day’s energy and by the time I’ve finished class or finished with the umpteenth meeting of the day, I’ll find myself walking through a sea of molasses. While transitioning to the next item on the heavy-laden to-do list, a headline I only glanced at about death, sickness, lockdowns, or questionable political decisions now slows me down in equal measure to the mental fog that continues unabated. And, if I dare to take a break and close my eyes for too long, the bricks come back. And so it goes. Walking the days of the pandemic.
Hauling around a bag of bricks in a thick fog through a swamp of molasses … sums it up
By the early hour of ten or eleven in the evening, my day is done and my gaze is drawn to my bed with the greatest of anticipation as would be expected from the exhausted mere human that I am. In my tiredness, I’ve already forgotten about the nightmares and the chaotic dreams of the previous night. I can’t wait to collapse into bed and do it all over again.
Reminder: Tomorrow, Tuesday June 23, is our drive-through Food Drive, 11:00 to 1:00. Swing into the church parking lot with your bagged groceries, and TLC staff will collect them right from your car!
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