This girl is trying to be positive, and for the most part I am absolutely killing it. But all of this isolation is taking a toll on all of our mental health, as well as our physical health. Quarantine and social distancing are really hard when you are a people-person. E-learning is so challenging from every perspective, and some days there isn’t enough grace to go around. And I’m sick of face masks and hand sanitizer, and concerned about our diminishing immune systems. Before anyone decides that I am a monster who doesn’t care about the safety of others, know that some of our dearest friends are really struggling because of circumstances that are out of their hands, and caused by this pandemic. And since this is my blog, I get to write about it if I wanna. And I wanna.
One of my very best friends and her husband own an auto mechanic shop. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, their business has been terribly slow, which means they are paying their employees, but not themselves. They also happen to have some of my very favorite humans for children, and children cost money- especially as they eat my BFF out of house and home during remote learning. If things haven’t been stressful enough for them the past 2+ months, the torrential rains in Central Illinois this week caused their basement to flood with 3 feet of water, most likely ruining everything. They did not have flood insurance, and their home owners insurance offered them no help. Trying to dry everything out so they can see if anything is salvageable is the waiting game they are now playing So the extensive and exhausting cleanup, loss of everything in the basement, and cost of re-finishing the basement is theirs. All this added stress while their business has taken a massive financial hit. Seeing the exhaustion on her face breaks my heart.
We have another friend who is a farmer. He is waiting to see if those same rains destroyed the corn he had gotten planted between rainstorms over the past several weeks. If it is ruined, he will have to re-plant his destroyed fields to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars, get his soybeans in, and pray the rain stays at bay long enough for him to finish it all. We saw him last week, and he wore his worry and anxiety like a coat. We were having fun, but it never left him for a second. It’s not just having to re-plant, it’s the fact that this is his livelihood for the next year, and last year’s less-than-great crops are still on his mind. His paycheck has nothing to do with how hard he works, it depends on weather and a ton of other factors that are completely out of his hands. Now we are seeing on the extended weather forecast that more rain is on the way, and I am worried about how all of this stress is affecting his health, because how could it not?? It’s just devastating. And there’s nothing we can do to help.
Another BFF of mine owns her own business. She makes memorial beads and other amazing things from fresh flowers and ashes. (betsysbeads.com) Her business requires materials like clay and elastic cord from places like Hobby Lobby, which did not make the essential business list. But for her business, Hobby Lobby is essential! Online orders have been taking several weeks to be delivered, and many of the products she needs are out of stock, and that delay means her customers wait longer to get their orders. It has also drastically slowed her business and revenue stream. She and I took a road trip last week to Indiana so she could go to Hobby Lobby and get the items she needed to complete her orders and keep her business going. As we drove, I felt like we were teenagers smuggling fireworks over state lines around the 4th of July, like the police were going to pull us over and make us go back to Illinois empty handed. I cannot wait for small businesses to proudly re-open their doors, serve their customers, and have an income again. It’s their livelihood, and they need to make a living.
On a more upbeat note, the kids and I stopped in at Target the other day to get a few things we were out of, and there, next to Target, was one of my favorite stores, closed. You can’t imagine how sad I was to have to see Home Goods from afar and know I couldn’t go in? I love that store! They have the best hand soaps and cookie sprinkles in the entire world! So many hand soaps in super cool bottles with fantastic smells- and CHEAP! Why oh why did I not get those 2 bottles of bergamot soap the last time I was there? They were in my cart and I was in love, but I put them back because I thought, “Girl, why do you need so much hand soap when you just bought 2 bottles the last time you were here?” Let’s just say I’ll never have that internal dialogue again. Then there’s the sprinkles selection- incredible! They don’t have basic, loser sprinkles, they have magical sprinkles in the most amazing packaging, and they have them for every holiday and in so many colors. And they are so cheap!!! Cookies with these sprinkles on them are on a whole different level. I can lose myself in those 2 sections of the store. Seriously, where else in the world are you going to get heavenly-scented hand soap for cheap and beautiful cookie sprinkles for around $3 each? Only at Home Goods! I will be in the store on opening day, visiting this old friend of a store, and stocking up on soap and sprinkles, and probably a cart full of other great finds.
All of this upheaval has been weighing on me, seeing people we love struggling in so many ways because of situations that are out of their hands. Knowing there is nothing we can do to help is really hard for me. So I do what I can- take a meal, send a text and let them know we are praying for them, and make a phone call to check in and let them vent it all out. None of that fixes anything, but making sure they know we are standing beside them helps the isolation seem less alone. I want to encourage you to reach out to your loved ones and comfort, encourage, and support them in whatever struggles they are dealing with today. We could all use a little extra love right now.