Lent 30: HALT! You OK?

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I know that I’m just a little crispy around the edges right now, and it’s almost a guarantee that I’ve been spending altogether too much time looking at screens in the last week or so.

So when I see pictures or posts that talk about how everyone who isn’t “going” to work is having a superfun mega-extended weekend, just like we’ve all been wishing for, it makes me pretty mad. It must be nice to “work from home”. And thanks to farmers and nurses and front line people and food services people and essential workers and truckers, like if you’re not on this magical list, that means  you’re not working.

I mean, totally – anyone who risks getting exposed to C-19 definitely deserves our absolute gratitude.

And Farmers and truckers and people who keeps us fed and clothed – absolutely.

But you know what? You know what? I work in high-tech, and there are 800 people in my company, and our “extra long weekend” looks like extra long days helping support all the schools, colleges, universities, trade schools, associations, and corporations with course continuity so that students who are scheduled to graduate still can. So that students who need courses to go to work can get accredited. So that students don’t lose their year. So that when this thing is finally done, they don’t have to start over because they couldn’t finish. Thousands of others in hundreds of other high tech companies that are helping stabilize the economy. Sure, we’re lucky to still be earning and we’re still able to spend.

But when you disparage how cushy it is to work from home and then wink at us like that actually means sitting back binging netflix. This isn’t a nonstop weekend. Yes, we are super-fortunate to be able to flip our workplace from an office somewhere to our living rooms and home offices and kitchen tables. But you know what, it’s not ideal for us, either.

My boss said something today at a meeting. This isn’t just business as usual with your laptop plugged into a not-usual electrical outlet. There’s nothing usual about this for anyone, anywhere.

And it’s not a competition.

Some have lost jobs, with all that means. Some who live on assistance can’t buy their necessities because people are taking more than they need. Some who work in medical fields are sending their kids to live somewhere else to keep them safe. Some people self isolate in their home offices because their partner can’t. There is burden on everyone. There is responsibility on everyone. Those who take on more burden need others to take on more responsibility.

I had a friend who is a priest and I spoke to him about my (then) teetering-out-of-control whitehotfury, gave me a tool to use to help me not set myself ablaze. He said that perhaps, before I start looking for a jerrycan full of gasoline, or, yaknow, a missile, HALT for a sec. Take inventory and see if I’m H(ungry), A(ngry), L(onely), or T(ired). Because when you’re any of those things, you’re going to be vulnerable to poor decision making.

Like, say, being madmadmad about how someone joking about really, really long weekends suddenly becomes an attack on my friends and coworkers and a whole industry being underappreciated.

Oy vey.

This Lent, may I find a little extra patience for the extraordinary circumstances in which we all find ourselves. And when I can’t muster that patience, may I at least HALT for a sec.

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