SELF- AWARENESS CHECK
Losing faith in an institution happened for me when the pandemic struck our country. Growing up as an only child, the local church gave me a centered source of stability. Over the years, developing a sense of moral compass, other institutions crumbled long before the institution of religion. The first institution to fail in my life was family. I witnessed arguments from an early age fueled by my father's alcoholism. At age six, I was well aware of the affects alcoholism could have on a family unit. In first grade, I would often stay awake all night with my mother waiting for my father to come home. Whatever the outcome, I would still go to school the next day, at my mother's insistence. There were periods of time my grades suffered
Through the years of elementary school, and high school I was rarely if ever allowed to invite someone to my house to spend the night due to how unpredictable my father’s behavior could be. On graduation night, my father and uncle got drunk and vowed to attend the ceremony. My cousin and uncle’s son waited at the entrance of the high school to deter them. In reality, their ramblings were just that and they didn’t show up. It still brought an uneasiness of anxiety not knowing if they would embarrass us and make a spectacle of themselves. I changed from a Christian high school to a secular school because the ceremony included the father to walk to the platform with their child at graduation. My grandmother, mother, and myself became enablers trying to protect my father’s job when he was not able to function.
Church was the one place where I could feel I belonged. The church members were kind, thoughtful, and engaged the children in activities such as Sunday school, Easter and Christmas programs and vacation Bible school. A place to grow and learn while making friends it was an important part of my life. As a teenager, I had a couple of close friends and we had our own drivers license and vehicle to go to movies and skating with church groups or by ourselves. As far as dating, I felt like I would never measure up to a young man of Christian principles and values.
Another place I felt secure was with my grandparents. They lived on their farm, and along with my cousins we made good memories. All of the holidays were sharedwere at my grandparents, later becoming traditions in our homes as adults. The beautiful milestones within a family: births, birthday parties, weddings, and funerals bind us in love. Memories made that will endure for a lifetime.
Early in the spring of 2020, we all were confronted with the pandemic that changed the world we live in. During this time, we as Americans faced the political deceptions that the agenda seemed to irreparably divide us as a country. We listened intently to facts and theories concerning the corona virus or covid. Information was daily issued on television screens and other technical devices, changing frequently. What we did know was that we had a curfew, strongly encouraged, not to leave our homes. We experienced chaos when we went grocery shopping, to find shortages of toilet paper and meat products. We were told to constantly use hand sanitizer, wear masks, and practice social distancing of six feet.
We stopped speaking to each other. We were told it was beneficial for citizens to go to liquor stores to calm themselves. We were told not to gather for worship in churches, we could be faced with fines. Eventually, people could meet in church parking lots or listen and watch a religious broadcast online. Social distancing affected people in attendance at weddings, reducing the number of friends and family. Social distancing was preventing the elderly in nursing home facilities from seeing their loved ones. Nursing home residents could speak to a family member on the phone. If someone contacted the virus and was hospitalized they were not allowed to have anyone with them. Many patients died without the comforting presence of family by their side.
Keeping the faith, requires resilience for us all. We have felt isolated, abandoned, and left all on our own. We have survived so far, day to day. We have done what was asked of us. We stayed at home, learned how to FaceTime, in medical emergency called Wal-mart to pick up delivery for necessary supplies when we are sick. We celebrated the Christmas holiday distanced from our loved ones, looking into a screen to find the intimacy we longed to share. Our children’s education has been reduced from the healthy social interactions at school to performing before a screen for limited feedback. As we do a self-awareness check, have we not only survived but thrived during this time.
Where do we go from here? Many of us have been vaccinated for covid-19, many are still uncertain if it is safe, has this inoculation met federal safety regulations. We move on from here, looking for healthy types of support to bring us through this crisis. We engage in battle daily in forms of emotional, physical, and mental challenges to overcome this obstacle we live with.
For whatever comes along we must believe in ourselves when institutions fail us. Hospitals have profited by separation of families, sickness, and death. Stores profited by shortages of supplies to feed our families and communities. Recently, the media tried to stir up panic concerning gas prices. Churches have remained closed, some still are while people are in need of the ability to connect with one another. Some say the pandemic brought about depression and suicidal thoughts for a great number of individuals. Some activities that might continue to be healthy alternatives for us is exercising in the fresh air, walking is invigorating. This year we are enjoying some relaxing of restrictions so that we can vacation and dine in restaurants again. We can be cautious, while thinking for ourselves in responsible ways. Let us never allow an institution of any kind become so powerful, the majority of people in our country are isolated for an indefinite time period.