For me, one of the hardest things to get used to during this pandemic is the uncertainty.
I’m one of those people who wants the news, even if it’s bad. I sometimes search out the spoilers before deciding whether to watch a show or movie. I feel a kinship with Harry, from the movie When Harry Met Sally, as I flip to the last page of a book and read the ending first.
“Not knowing” bothers me. I’ve thought about why this is, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because “knowing” is a component of decision-making, which is a component of action, and action is the best way (for me) to manage my feelings. From an emotional perspective, doing something is a coping mechanism; it keeps me from being overwhelmed or getting stuck in sentiment. From a practical perspective, doing something allows me to (hopefully) make a difference, even if only in a small way, even if only for a moment.
There’s been a lot of uncertainty, a lot of not knowing, in this pandemic. It is better in some ways now; we’ve learned more about the illness and are more capable of protecting ourselves. Some of the jobs that were lost or on hold are returning. Some of the challenges have become easier. We’ve made progress, but we aren’t completely out of the woods yet. The uncertainty still exists.
Which is why I was excited to volunteer at a local COVID-19 vaccination site yesterday. I have no medical training, so I directed traffic. In terms of “big picture” impact, it was not the most important task. Judging by the hundreds of cars making their way through the vaccination line, however, it was a needed and helpful chore.
As each car passed, I felt a little hiccup of delight. Each car represented one more number on the pandemic scorecard. Instead of it being a negative number, however, it was a positive step forward…and I was doing something to contribute. It was just a little something, only a minor something, but it was a thing I could do to help us all get to where we want and need to go.
Based on the smiles of people in the cars, and by the overall happy mood of the other volunteers at the site, my feelings weren’t unique. We each had our own specific reasons for being there, our own emotions and experiences that had brought us to that place at that time, but we had all chosen to be part of this hopeful process. We were driving away the uncertainty, together.
Here’s to the power of doing something.