Until last week, I was owning the lockdown. I had a routine that wasn’t all that different than my old routine. I was working from home, limiting my grocery shopping to twice a month, enjoying the forced slowdown. I don’t say this to make light of others’ struggles, but just to say, I was generally doing OK.
I took a week off from work last week partly because I needed it and partly because I had another trip cancelled so I had to reschedule the vacation time. I used my time to run some errands, relax and travel around the metro area to visit my friends, one on one, outdoors. Fortunately, the weather cooperated and I had some of the most meaningful and deep conversations I’ve had with anyone in years. It was delightful. As someone who generally thinks that if your conversation isn’t intended to truly deepen your relationship with another person, you might as well not speak at all, I felt heard and held and I hope my friends all felt that I returned the favor.
So what’s the problem? Honestly, I’m still trying to figure that out. Obviously, everyone has been affected by the goings on lately, the pandemic and the protests. Living in Portland, Oregon, we are no strangers to political protests, but what is happening now is unprecedented in my lifetime, anyway. It feels like the world is just stuck in a groove on a scratched record and we keep repeating, and getting more entrenched, and repeating.
We are all stuck. As though we’ve been driven into a dead end alley and we have no reverse gear. We can’t go back and can’t really go forward either. It’s becoming psychically claustrophobic.
So now I’m back to work. My company is starting a project to show their commitment to racial diversity and I’m on the committee to plan events, but I’m concerned that anything we do will last for a week and then be forgotten about. Corporate interest almost cannot act on these sorts of things in a way that isn’t inherently performative. The people on the committee weren’t thinking about racial justice before two weeks ago and I doubt any of them will be thinking about it two weeks from now. I hope I’m proven wrong because I think about this all the time.
Maybe this committee will come up with some action that can be sustained and will inspire some employee to take some action that will eventually elevate us out of the dead end alley. We can’t stay stuck in this groove forever. Or can we?
I pray not.