Throughout this year of uncertainty, and through all the debris it has caused; I have learned one thing for sure and that is having faith in oneself is a form of courage. We learn that courage is not the absence of fear but doing something in the presence of it, but what happens when fear controls our lives and everything in it? Where do we draw the line between letting a healthy dose of fear kick us into high gear or hold us back from experiencing life, love and the pursuit of happiness?
The amount of lives, love and living we have lost this year is exponential. Not only did people lose their loved ones, but they lost their faith in others, their faith in daily living and their faith in our country. We can say to ourselves “It could be worse, I should be grateful for what I have and give thanks to God and the Universe for sparing me from the pain and hurt others feel,” or we can remember that no matter where the pain we feel comes from, we are allowed to grieve over what we have lost despite what others are going through.
People always try to compare themselves to others and make their own lives seem more or less of a struggle, but in reality no matter what it is, we are allowed to experience that pain and longing. This pandemic not only brought us loss in lives, but loss of faith in the ability to experience happiness and the courage to express it to others. Anytime I hear the word COVID, it brings anger into my heart as if it’s a dirty word to me, something taboo that flips a switch in my mind. I think of all the people who lost their lives, all the families left to grieve alone, all the elderly left to be “safe” in their own homes or nursing homes lonely and afraid, the first responders who were suffering in the surge of worrying about their patients and going home to their loved ones, the young mothers left to give birth to their babies alone, the mothers who lost their babies and couldn’t grieve properly with the ones they needed to lean on for support, the friends and families who couldn’t see each other in fear of getting sick, the children stuck on a virtual screen becoming more and more withdrawn, depressed and academically inept without their second homes at school, and the difference in opinions of our nation that brought hate, anger, violence and hostility to our neighbors and friends.
Then I start to think of the robbery the dirty word caused... robbing couples of their inability to marry and and see the faces of their smiling loves ones behind masks, or shields, The child who was experiencing the wonder and awe of Santa through a plastic box, the funeral services of those who couldn’t hug their mother or brother in fear, the teachers who tried their hardest to bring safety and happiness to their students struggling to smile behind a mask and breathe while trying to project their voices and teach under such abnormal circumstances. While the children in our nation are exposed to more fear, anxiety, violence and death than ever before and we forget they are there listening and absorbing the same fear we are and we expect them to learn? The business owners who are robbed of their right to earn a living while waiting for the assistance of a government that never arrives. The young athletes forced to move and train in a small cage like a mouse and those getting procedures or surgeries left alone without support.
But above all this I ask myself, “Is it okay to feel happiness?” The answer is YES. No matter what this dirty word has caused, if we do not have the courage to live our lives and experience happiness in the small things we are not truly living.
As an empathetic person, I take in all the pain and suffering around me and I feel guilty when I experience happiness. I am letting the loss of others affect my ability to live, my ability to have faith in others and in myself and it affects the courage I possess to live my life as I see fit. Faith is a blind belief, a belief that we can only feel and not see. The courage to have faith and feel happiness through strife and global grief is showing true courage. The silence we endure through all this loneliness is not okay. Instead of lamenting over the sadness and loss, we should also be able to rejoice over the happy victories that each day brings us: being able to get out of bed, answer a doorbell, going to work, hugging a friend, seeing the sunrise or sunset, having a baby, getting married, going for a walk or simply breathing is a task in itself right now. It is now more than ever important to Experience happiness and HAVE FAITH IN YOURSELF THAT YOU ARE ABLE TO EXPERIENCE HAPPINESS DESPITE THE TRAUMA SURROUNDING YOU. If we don’t, we are not truly living and the lives we were given were meant to be lived.