I will be honest with you. I am writing this during my very own two-week hell time period. It happens once a year, where the moons align evilly – and in 2020 with COVID-19 – the fury is real. Some of Hell Week (I will notate is time period in the singular, even though it spans two weeks), has to with several projects that all coming together at once.
Hell week starts with the tricky timing of municipal budgeting. Our budget schedule has a very narrow window to submit our budget, hold the budget workshops, set our property levy, finalize the budget, and finally, adopting our budget. This paired with our normal quarterly reporting, newsletters, business operations, and public meeting schedules make for a tough few weeks.
Added into the mix for 2020, are ever-changing COVID-19 related issues and the beginning of school this week. Most schools in our metro started back with a blend of virtual and in-person classes. To say our community is stressed out this week would be an understatement. Over the last few weeks, I have had residents and business owners take me on a guided tour of their rollercoaster of emotions. One business owner began the conversation with furious rage, transitioned to sobbing, then pivoted back to anger all within a 30-minute phone conversation. Ten minutes after hanging up, that business owner called me back with a heartfelt apology.
I see you.
I get you.
I feel you.
This business owner needed someone to rage against. Someone to yell at about all that is going on during their Hell Week. Someone to hate. Someone to take their frustration out on all things 2020. It was not my job to take their fury and hate, but I recognized that this poor soul needed an outlet, and due to unfortunate timing, that was going to be me.
Give it to me.
Go on, get that hate out.
I can take it. (Who knew that my many years of waitressing, bartending, and retail would prepare me for the massive amount of rage from a global pandemic?)
My keyword over the last 6 months has been GRACE. To give and receive grace when I can.
This business owner has weathered COVID-19, and thus far, has made it through. That being said, the stress of going back to being not only a full-time business owner and parent – but also a full-time teacher – had caught up to them.
Again, I feel you.
I can relate.
I know your fear, frustration, and anger – because they are my own.
My biggest point of terror right now is getting an email that we are going back to full virtual learning for my kiddos. But this time WITHOUT the grace that came with the Stay at Home Orders. This time, those who we work with will not give us grace that we may be helping our kids with a Microsoft Teams call or explaining how to calculate the hypotenuse of a right triangle at the time they call.
The fact is, we will simply not be as responsive as we would like to be should we need to pivot back to full virtual learning with our kiddos. We will have more on our plate with the same number of hours in the day. Our anxiety is compounded by reports of falling revenues and job losses all around us. The personal guilt that comes with this situation is unending and infinite. The excruciating fear of losing our jobs and/or failing as a parent and a teacher at the same time is unbearable at times.
With this in mind, I ask you to be mindful and give grace when you can. When I interact with my team members, residents, and business owners, I try to lead with grace first. Given all that is going on in the world, your first question to yourself should be: Can we give grace in this situation? If you can, you should.
On the flip side of that, I ask you to receive grace where you can. Ask for help. Let people in. Tell those you love if you need help or if you just need someone to listen to you release your anger, anxiety, and frustration. This is not a sign of weakness. It takes great strength to be vulnerable and request help.
If you don’t have someone, I volunteer to be your someone. We need each other more now than ever.
(BTW, thank you to my hubby for putting up with me during Hell Week. I couldn’t do it without you!)