Love in the Time of Corona Virus

Dear DFTC readers,

I’m heartbroken. I think most of the world is heartbroken in one way or another. I’m heartbroken for the students whose proms and graduations are canceled and the family vacations that are no longer happening. I’m heartbroken for everyone who is very suddenly without a job and for the loss of life that is inevitable. I’m heartbroken for the people who feel very alone and for the people who think their beach vacation is more important than the lives of people who they don’t know. I’m heartbroken for the doctors and nurses who don’t have access to everything they need to stay safe and for the students who are spending long days working at grocery store check-stands rather than sitting in their classrooms.

Like I imagine many people are I’m a bit of a control freak, and this is a very unwelcome reminder of our lack of control. In a world where we have antibiotics and vaccines, where we have almost forgotten the ruthless tyranny that something so small can have over lives and community, this virus is a reminder. Even as people and teams work tirelessly to find a vaccine, we are missing so much and losing so much. Globally, we are forced to face our fragility and mortality in a way that I certainly haven’t seen in my lifetime.

Even as conversations about reopening the country are beginning, it is becoming increasingly clear that things will not be going back to normal (whatever that means very soon). In fact, I don’t think we’ll ever completely return to a time before this virus shut down the world. One thing is completely certain; this will change us.

I work in the events industry and not just because I love all the pretty stuff that goes into a party or wedding, but because I believe that celebrations are important. Of course, the most important part of a wedding is that you get married, but it’s followed pretty closely by the gift of being surrounded by the most important people in your life.

In this industry where almost everything has come to a screeching and necessary halt. As many things are canceled or reschedule for an unclear later date, I’m so grateful that people are taking precautions to keep everyone safe, but I’m so heartbroken over people having to cancel weddings, 100th birthday parties, and conferences. I think sometimes there is a temptation, especially when something is on such a large scale like this pandemic is, to minimize and dismiss the smaller adjustments that have to be made, because in the words of Kourtney Kardashian, “People are dying, Kim.” But we can be heartbroken for the small things and still hold them in perspective.

If you’ve spent any amount of time on this blog, you probably have noticed have a deep love for Brene Brown. Her book Rising Strong is perhaps one of (if not the most) most important and impactful books I’ve ever read. One of my favorite Brené Brown quotes is on this idea of comparative suffering and how we can be compassionate about the little hardships without discounting the larger tragedies. (I haven’t listened to it yet, but I think her new podcast Unlocking Us has an episode on comparative suffering that I’ve heard is excellent).

The opposite of scarcity is not abundance, the opposite of scarcity is simply enough. Empathy is not finite, and compassion is not a pizza with eight slices. When you practice empathy and compassion with someone, there is not less of these qualities to go around. There’s more. Love is the last thing we need to ration in this world. The refuge in Syria doesn’t benefit more if you conserve your kindness only for her and without it from your neighbor who is going through a divorce… Hurt is hurt, and every time we honor our own and the struggles of others by responding with empathy and compassion, the healing that results affects us all.

It doesn’t look like we’ll be returning to arenas or crowded venues dance floors anytime soon, but I hope that we don’t stop celebrating. Life is still moving forward behind closed front doors, across Facetime calls, and under masks. As we figure out the new normal, I hope celebrations resume different. If anything I hope that this reminder of our fragility encourages us to celebrate more!

Big events might not be happening, but in the coming weeks, I hope this blog can serve as a source of inspiration for your celebrations and a reminder to choose joy.

Hope you and your families are safe and well.