Caregiving in the Time of CoVid-19, #18: Arguing About What We Cannot Change

wisteriaOne of the great things to emerge from this time of social distancing and quarantine is the astonishing amount of online communication that is going on each day. In the course of the week, I get at least one email from my parents’ retirement/assisted living community (so far so good), dozens of messages from a neighborhood Facebook group that was established to help people support one another, and lots more from the regular Next Door app.

Add to this the various connections via Facebook, Zoom, texts, and plain old email, and these communications can fill up half of the day, and that doesn’t count the online exercise sessions, church, and various other spontaneous connections, such as the group of retired teachers from my school who came together on Zoom for an hour of conversation.

I am fortunate that I do not feel lonely! Thank goodness for strong Broadband.

Most perplexing to me are the people that go on and on about situations that, they feel, need to be corrected. These include frustrations expressed about grocery stores that do not do enough to keep us perfectly safe and the ongoing shout-out about when and where to don one’s mask, this latter concern expressed in some way in someplace almost every day.

The mask conversation begins with someone posting a thought that they were someplace where there were people without masks. Shortly someone else will chime in about a trail, path, or neighborhood street where people are running and walking without masks — not with or near other people. Some of these posts can garner over a hundred comments for and against walking or running with or without masks. People get emotional, angry, and aggressive, and I’ve stopped participating in these types of conversations.

So here we are in the middle of a time when we do not have much much control over events except what we do in our own lives, and people keep going over and over problems that they cannot control. I want to shout, but I don’t, “Hey people, I wear my mask, you wear yours, and just stay away from people who aren’t wearing them.”

I find myself mumbling the Reinhold Niebuhr’s serenity prayer in these situations, reminding myself to  “…accept the things I cannot change… change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

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