Before Covid -19, we didn’t commonly refer to people as essential or non-essential. Some people seem to be surprised to find out just who we can’t function without. A large percentage of Americans are sitting at home trying to ride this out either by working from home or not working at all. There is always the fear of job loss and no income, but nobody wants to get sick or make someone else sick. The rest are going out there every day putting their lives on the line and we are grateful. I won’t even list the types of workers doing that for fear of leaving someone out that deserves to be named too, but I want to impress something else on all of you. Those workers aren’t doing it on their own either. The rest of their lives are not on hold while they are out there doing what’s necessary.
I say that because each of those essential people had other responsibilities and has someone picking up the slack for them. Whether it’s child care, elderly care, or the spouse staying home with the kids and animals because it’s too risky for the worker to come home. There are those shopping for others, providing food, doing the things others can’t, or just offering uplifting messages and prayer. They are all essential, too. There is no such thing as a non-essential person. We all have value and can offer something to each other. Whatever is happening at any given time, determines whether it’s a person’s time to step up or not. Their moment to shine.
Perhaps better terms would be crucial and essential. As an example, those health care workers are crucial to our well-being. They are literally doing their best to save lives. But their back up people are keeping their lives away from the job running and waiting for them to come back home. They are essential.
It takes so much to keep our lives going in the way we are accustomed. Now, we are facing situations that we never dreamed we would and it’s taking considerable adjustment. One day our lives were going along like always and then we woke up to the news that things were about to change. Having to maintain social distancing has made us realize how much we need human contact. We would be having a worse time of it without technology, but it’s also a constant reminder that it’s just not enough. There are those who struggle to deal with the stress and anxiety accompanying this virus. When you fight that in your everyday life, throwing something life altering into the mix makes it that much harder to cope. Even the best of us who think we have it all together, can’t help but feel moments of fear and anxiety. I can’t imagine being so overwhelmed that it’s a struggle to get out of bed in the morning. I know I have people with whom I can be honest about that. They help keep me together. When you have to appear strong for others, you need that safe place to go and let it all out. I try to be that person anyone can talk to about their feelings.
My husband has done almost all of the shopping for us. He only goes if it’s necessary, but it’s his way of protecting me and also our grandchildren. It’s one thing that their mom is considered essential and goes to work every day, but we both feel it’s too risky for both of us to be out there and exposed too. Of course, I worry about him. I am a born worrier. Every day I think about him, my kids, my grandkids, my extended family, and my friends. I worry about people I don’t even know! I spend a lot of time praying for everybody. Every time I hear that phrase, “We are all in this together”, it kicks off that litany of people I am concerned about. Still, I do not feel consumed by it and I have many friends and family to thank for that. My faith keeps me steady, too.
That’s the point though. We are all in this together. There isn’t any one person more valuable than another. We have families and friends that love us, who need us, and who can’t imagine life without us. Every single one of us is essential to this life. We aren’t measured for value by the job title, the salary, or the people who work for us. We all have a role to play. Sometimes it’s easy to realize how important it is and other times, it’s not. All of those people who have been taken from us by this virus left behind people grieving for them. Some were famous and many were not, but the world feels the loss of each of them. We owe it to them, and each other still here, to never become non-essential.