[Because this message is written in the first person, you will need to adapt it a little!]
To [ ]:
We care about you .
“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are” – Harold S. Kushner
On Being Kind and Offering Grace
On April 14th I sent a daily care message sharing that there would be a hiatus for “a few days” in me sending messages. A few days turned into 22. I hadn’t been feeling well for about a week, and, in fact, had been tested for COVID a few days earlier. I received my positive test results the next day.
I have intended to write a message for two weeks now and have not been successful for many reasons: time, energy, my brain not properly functioning, and I think mostly because I am still so deeply impacted not only by my personal experience with COVID, but by the experiences of those I love, that I wanted my first message of re-engagement to be meaningful and helpful to others and I didn’t know where to start.
I apologized in a meeting today for not following through with some of my responsibilities (that bothers me so much!) and for emails that may have errors in them as I am still having some difficulty communicating. A colleague and dear friend made me promise to be kind to myself and to give myself grace . The words resonated with me and caused me to pause.
b: disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency
c: a temporary exemption : REPRIEVE
d: the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them
a: of a sympathetic or helpful nature
b: of a forbearing nature : GENTLE
c: arising from or characterized by sympathy or forbearance
This virus has been insidious. It is impacting us from every angle – personally, professionally, emotionally, physically. My friend’s words reminded me how important being kind to others and giving grace to others is when trying to navigate the complexities of managing all aspects of this virus, particularly the emotional impact it is having on us. I will be endlessly grateful for friends, family, and colleagues who have shown me kindness and grace when I have not been at my best. But, I ask myself, “Have I done the same for my family, friends, colleagues?” “Do I understand the impact this virus has had on them and how that might be the reason for their (insert): behavior, decision, words?”. It is a lifelong reminder that understanding the context of another’s life is critical in assessing your interactions with them, making sense of the interactions, and guiding how you chose to respond.
This experience, and I don’t specifically mean my experience with having COVID, I mean the broader experience with the virus, has also prompted me to better understand my own context and to reflect on what’s important to me as it relates to my family and other personal relationships, to work, to the value of life and helping others, and to re-prioritize my time to focus on those influences which are healthy and positive. I hope your experience might prompt you to do the same.
Going forward, I hope to send weekly care messages. I hope you don’t mind the indulgence, as I have found writing these to be one of the most rewarding and healing experiences for me during this tumultuous time.