Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

What If…

While the enormity of what we all are collectively dealing with right now is still sinking in, I am trying to find bright spots through the challenges. This helped me a lot to reframe some of my fears and anxieties and maybe it will help you, too. While we are all understandably feeling fear and anxiety and stress during this global pandemic that has turned our lives upside down, what if:

We subscribe to the philosophy that life is always working out for us, that there is an intelligence far greater than humans at work…

That all is interconnected.

What if…

the virus is here to help us?

To reset.
To remember.

What is truly important.

Reconnecting with family and community.

Reducing travel so that the environment, the skies, the air, our lungs all get a break.

Parts of China are seeing blue sky and clouds for the first time in forever with the factories being shut down.

Working from home rather than commuting to work (less pollution, more personal time).

Reconnecting with family as there is more time at home.

An invitation to turn inwards — a deep meditation — rather than the usual extroverted going out to self-soothe.

To reconnect with self — what is really important to me?

A reset economically.

The working poor. The lack of healthcare access for over 30 million in the US. The need for paid sick leave.

How hard does one need to work to be able to live, to have a life outside of work?

To face our mortality — check back into “living” life rather than simply working, working, working.

To reconnect with our elders, who are so susceptible to this virus.

And, washing our hands — how did that become a “new” thing that we needed to remember. But, yes, we did.

The presence of Grace for all.

There is a shift underway in our society — what if it is one that is favorable for us?

What if this virus is an ally in our evolution?

In our remembrance of what it means to be connected, humane, living a simpler life, to be less impactful/ more kind to our environment.

An offering from my heart this morning. Offered as another perspective. Another way of relating to this virus, this unfolding, this evolution.

It was time for a change, we all knew that.

And, change has arrived.

What if…

Let’s all share one thing – just one thing – that has been a positive from this experience so far. I’ll start: my kids are being really creative about how to fill the hours at home (art! at-home work-outs! making smoothies!). Also, I’ve been in touch with friends and family more these past few days than usual and look forward to more of that (have you all tried the House Party app yet? It’s a great way to hang out virtually with multiple friends, and there are even fun games – like celebrity trivia, which I tried last night – that you can play with your friends). Ok, your turn!

38 comments… add one
  • ktfran March 17, 2020, 1:19 pm

    Thank you for mentioning the House Party app. My friend canceled her 40th birthday party on Saturday, obviously. I’ve already sent a group text to plan something.

    One good thing… I’m trying to reach out to and help people more. In the past, I always thought about doing things but never followed through. Now, I’m following through. I’m trying to spread kindness is this craziness.

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  • Sea Witch March 17, 2020, 2:06 pm

    My condomium association annual meeting got cancelled, so that’s a plus. 😀

    Also, China has now banned the sale of endangered wild animals as a response to the belief that this may have been the source of the virus.

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  • Miss MJ March 17, 2020, 2:58 pm

    Trump’s abysmal failure at dealing with this seems to have opened A LOT of eyes to the fact that electing an ignorant and malignantly narcissistic reality TV host to be in charge of the country is a mistake. Hopefully, it makes it more likely that he will be defeated in November.

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      courtney89 March 17, 2020, 4:05 pm

      Wish i felt that way, but Trump supporters seem to be ramping up support of him and think he’s doing a WONDERFUL job from what i’ve seen on internet blogs and love his manchild attacks by calling this the ‘Chinese virus’ (I don’t see how they don’t see how divisive this is, and how NOT HELPFUL). Ugh. Trust me that i am no Bernie or Joe fan IN THE LEAST, but #anyonebutTrump

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      • Jennifer March 18, 2020, 11:49 am

        True, his die hard supporters are still rallying behind him, but I really think the important swing voters will be driven to Biden in droves after this. MJ is right. This is really highlighting how incredibly incompetent, narcissistic, lying, (insert all bad traits possible) he is.

  • anonymousse March 17, 2020, 3:21 pm

    I am encouraged by the ways people are helping each other. At the same time, I am disgusted by those trying to take advantage of this pandemic, or those who are selfishly going about their lives like no one else matters.

    I am loving and appreciating the creatives putting out content right now. I watched Colin Meloy put on a live show yesterday and I cried a bunch. It was a little cathartic. We’ve been doing Instagram live story times with favorite children’s authors. And the Mo Willems doodle lunch break, too.

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  • Ange March 17, 2020, 4:53 pm

    My trip to Hawaii in August got cancelled, rightly so. Thankfully all the airlines and organisers have been more than generous in offering full refunds or other accommodations. Really I think that’s a net positive overall.

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  • Another Jen March 17, 2020, 6:27 pm

    Now that I’m working from home for the foreseeable future, I’m able to distance myself from toxic colleagues and focus on the work instead of the stress . Plus, I feel so much gratitude that my husband and I are both able to WFH.

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  • 000 March 17, 2020, 6:52 pm

    As a health care worker, this type of perspective just does not resonate with me right now. Can anyone recommend a forum or blog for health care workers dealing with Covid?

    I guess I can’t find one because we barely have time to breathe…

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      Dear Wendy March 18, 2020, 8:19 am

      You guys are on the front line and all of us are indebted to you. We also have to keep up our spirits and morale at home, even if we aren’t doing the hard work that you are. Mental health is also at greatly at risk.

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      • 000 March 19, 2020, 6:47 pm

        I agree, and was not attacking the post. I am genuinely seeking some resources that apply more to us, but thank you for keeping up the posts. Obviously I’m still here and following!

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    Bittergaymark March 18, 2020, 12:32 am

    On my way back home from Phoenix, I’d planned to stopover briefly at my friend’s vacant vacation home near Joshua Tree — that I did ALL the interior design as well as the landscaping. It was to be just a quick sleepover Monday. But…

    Being LA is such a mess — and I literally have nothing to rush back to… I instead spent a whole extra day micro landscaping, moving rocks, planting cacti… as well as painting the back porch which was very fun and chill.

    Truth — I think I am deliberately lingering in that if LA or greater California gets a shelter in place order, I’d much rather be out here far from most people with a yard to work on…

    So that’s been fun at least. Very.

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    • stickelet March 19, 2020, 12:23 pm

      Can we see some pictures of this landscaping and decorating??

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        Bittergaymark March 20, 2020, 10:20 am

        As there is understandably no way to share images here — please Find me on Facebook. Mark ilvedson. I am posting pics there. 🙂

  • CET March 18, 2020, 7:20 am

    After being stuck in the house working at home all day, all 4 of us take the dog out for a walk after dinner. Usually my teen son isn’t interested in dog walking with me and it’s a delight to do this all together each day. Both kids spend the walk talking about their thoughts, so it’s a nice time to connect. I notice SO MANY families doing the same thing. I have never seen so many people out walking in the evening before. It’s really great to see.

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    MaterialsGirl March 18, 2020, 9:43 am

    I took my coworker on a 45 minute walk yesterday to enjoy the sunshine and have a more active social distanced meeting. The sunshine was a welcome change.

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  • Donna March 18, 2020, 10:32 am

    My one positive thing: Since 9/11, I haven’t felt such a collection vibe of being nicer and kinder to people just because. Of course, not everyone is going to be nicer no matter what happens, but collectively I’m feel like many people care more about other people right now because we’re all in this together.

    ps. Wendy, I had the very same thought through this…..what if this is happening because we’re meant to rediscover who we are, where we came from, how far we’ve gotten off track with certain things, and how to identify very quickly what is and isn’t essential in every sense of the word. ♥

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      Bittergaymark March 18, 2020, 10:54 am

      It’s a comforting thought, I guess. That this virus is somehow sent here to do all these good and wonderful things. Let the lucky work from home, cut carbon emissions, allow people to reconnect with family, and teach kindness to everyone all while world-over millions rediscover their own special unique sense of purpose.

      BUT — reality check— the world economy is tanking in ways that will lastingly and significantly hurt the poor and middle class. (The rich, of course will be fine. Hell… They’ll profit!) But for most — the devastating effects of this will linger for years. Perhaps decades.

      MORE — people are dying. By the tens of thousands. WORSE — People will continue to die for months and months…

      This is “help?”

      Call me cynical, but the idea that the virus is REALLY here to do this is simply… a bit much. There is a reason it didn’t exactly much resonate with 000. The virus is not allowing Health Care Workers a moment to even breathe — much less, rediscover who they truly are. Instead its putting them and their families directly in harm’s way.

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      • Jennifer March 18, 2020, 11:57 am

        I both liked and disliked what was said here. Yes, there is a silver lining to this terrible time. But, it is easy to say all of that if you’re not the person currently battling the disease or the person who is sitting at home right now panicking about how they are going to pay the rent. I started to get a sore throat last night and am feeling like crap. I’m afraid I might have this thing. Selfishly, if I am sick with this crap, I don’t really think the virus is helping me too much. My husband’s business is faltering. It won’t be helping us if we lose our house because we can’t pay our mortgage. So yes, hooray that for a brief time, the industry in China has paused. Let’s not delude ourselves that the literal second this passes (hopefully) those smokestacks won’t start belching out their crap again.

    • ron March 18, 2020, 1:58 pm

      I think there are a hell of a lot cheaper ways to accomplish these things than paying with the deaths of very possibly a million Americans and many times that around the world plus the near collapse of the world economy. Really, to me these thoughts aren’t far removed from: “I’m very sorry that your mom died yesterday, but look on the bright side — this planet is now a little less over-populated.”


      But hey, the kids have off school, so it may be like 60 snow days, only with better weather.

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  • mellanthe March 18, 2020, 3:19 pm

    I love how helpful so many people are being. The lengths people go to help others or keep them safe.

    But most of the people I’ve met (since I work in healthcare) are really at risk. I’m afraid for so many people. I’ve got a front row seat to a show I don’t want to watch. I’ve isolated myself from my family due to their health conditions. I don’t know when I will be able to safely see them again. It hurts. I travel (not far) to see my boyfriend, but I may have to cut that as well if we lock down.

    I find it hard to see the benefits, but I can see why people need hope and positive things to think about and look forward to.

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  • MaggieB March 18, 2020, 4:48 pm

    A whole lot of that silver lining article resonates poorly with me, either by being inaccurate to my experience, or by ignoring the cloud that’s way huger than the minute silver lining.

    To name just a few, working from home does not mean more personal time or family time for me–the inefficiencies and chaos actually mean more time working, not less, and the nature of my work will probably soon shift to helping strategize whom to lay off and when. I’m connecting less with my parents, extended family, and friends, not more, because long-awaited plans to see each other have gotten cancelled. And yes, hopefully this will open people’s eyes to the need for better healthcare, but at the cost of millions if not billions of livelihoods and dreams, and for an as-yet-unknown number, their lives.

    I can’t get behind this kind of positivity right now any more than I could get behind someone telling you it’s a blessing your ailing loved one died because they’re not in pain anymore.

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  • alafair March 18, 2020, 5:30 pm

    I recently started a new job, have no health insurance yet, nor any sick time/PTO accrued. My last company went under, which means that I burnt through my savings while house hunting because I had to pay for a few medical things on top of the normal living. My new company is resisting working from home. And I’m sick. fever, cough etc. I had to go to a currently overworked doctor to get a note so I didnt potentially spread whatever this is (cant get tested) to the elderly workers in my office. That was another 600 I didnt have because of the insurance situation. Doctors required chest xrays, flu test etc. I have (diagnosed) PTSD directly related to food insecurity and deprivation from my childhood, which the empty shelves are rather triggering. My boyfriend is in Israel now, with no idea of when he can get home. All together it’s a lot, a huge great big ball of anxiety.

    I think that a lot of us need to vent. A lot of us are crazy scared. And a lot of us are finding comfort in positivity. For me, doing only venting makes my anxiety triple. Only looking for things to be grateful for doesn’t seem to be authentic, even in a single thread. I think we need to acknowledge both needs.

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    • alafair March 18, 2020, 5:31 pm

      I meant job hunting, not house hunting. Not sure why I can’t edit.

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        Bittergaymark March 18, 2020, 6:08 pm

        Hah. I was thinking how confidant to be buying a house!! ;).

        Hang in there. It’s a crazy fucking world right now!!

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    Dear Wendy March 18, 2020, 5:57 pm

    I agree with you all. This is monumentally awful. I feel you. We have probably lost the three main sources of our family income – this site’s revenue has dropped nearly 50% in the past week, drew isn’t working and doesn’t have a WFH option or sick leave, and highly doubt our tenants will pay rent for next month (understandably). We’ve cancelled our upcoming vacation, the kids are home for who knows how long, and I don’t know when we’ll be able to see my parents again. One of my closest friends is a primary nurse in at a VA clinic where she’s on the front line and I am so worried about her. Another close friend is a mortician in chicago and god knows what her life will be like for the foreseeable future. And I have many friends in the service industry who are losing their livelihoods.

    I thought trying to think about positives would help, but maybe I was wrong. maybe there is simply very little about this situation to think positively about.It is. struggle to stay upbeat.But I feel with kids at home, I have to try.

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    • Kate March 18, 2020, 6:18 pm

      My husband sells pricey equipment for a sport that’s cancelled. Very few people are able to do it right now. His company is already having to furlough its office and factory workers. They’re paying my husband for now at least, but obviously commissions are way down and if this goes on I don’t know how long they can afford to pay him. And they’re Canadian, so I don’t think he could collect UE here if he did get laid off. Can Drew collect? Not that it’s a lot of money…

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        Dear Wendy March 19, 2020, 7:25 am

        No, he can’t. He’s a “permalancer” at work, which is both good and bad. The good is he’s under zero obligation to go to work right now (but is all set up to edit at home if his employers want total advantage of that). The bad news is, he doesn’t get benefits (so no unemployment, no sick leave, no health insurance [we pay out of pocket]). We are among the lucky ones in that we have savings that we can dip into. We will be ok, as nerve-wracking and awful as this all is.

        I’m sorry your husband’s work is in jeopardy and I hope his company takes care of his as best and as long as they are able.

      • Kate March 19, 2020, 8:12 am

        We pay for our own health insurance too, since last summer. His company doesn’t provide it because they’re Canadian and they get it from the government. I’m a contractor and I have a 401(k) and 24 hours of accrued sick time through them, but not health insurance. Right now we’ve paused all regular market research studies, BUT we’re crunching on getting market sentiment research out into field, so I still have work for now. My husband sold a boat yesterday to a rich lady for her daughter. Maybe there will be a few more like that, but high schools, colleges, and clubs aren’t buying.

    • ktfran March 18, 2020, 6:36 pm

      It’s great to vent. And this site is an amazing outlet. I also like reading about some of the good news. A little bit of humanity does help and I like reading about how people are helping one another. Small wins are important, especially now.

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      • Kate March 18, 2020, 7:16 pm

        I just want funny content.

      • ktfran March 19, 2020, 6:25 am

        Would love some funny content!

  • alafair March 18, 2020, 6:02 pm

    I added the negative, but here’s a positive: My best friend went out shopping for me. Braved costco and who knows how many stores to make sure we had food and sanitary supplies. He hates crowds, absolutely, but was worried about me since he knows I won’t leave while I can be a danger to others.

    I’m venting the bad things and holding onto the good ones I guess.

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    TheLadyE March 18, 2020, 9:11 pm

    I appreciate this post, Wendy. My anxiety and depression have been absolutely through the roof and it’s bringing out the worst in me with everyone.

    I’m working on writing gratitude lists because that always makes a huge difference in my attitude and my life. Always.

    1. I’m grateful for my boyfriend and that we’ve been together for a year and have an extremely solid, loving relationship. We’ve met each others’ families. We love each other. We are both well (as in, no coronavirus).
    2. I’m grateful for my loving family who I know I can count on whatever happens.
    3. I’m grateful to get to work from home and spend time with my puppies.
    4. I’m grateful that when an acquaintance of mine very likely had the virus in January, I didn’t catch it from her even though we were in the same space.
    5. I’m grateful that even though I’ve been in several places where there were confirmed cases, I didn’t catch it.
    6. I’m grateful that my health insurance just kicked in.
    7. I’m grateful for technology, that we can stay in close contact even without being physically near each other.
    8. I am so, so grateful for health care workers, grocery store clerks and stockers, vets (my girls are getting spayed tomorrow), and everyone still working. You are the best, and THANK YOU.

    The older people around me seem nonplussed, like – we’ve seen this before (or something like it), we’ll get through it. I guess when you live in constant fear of an atomic bomb like my parents’ generation did, you’re less freaked out.

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    Copa March 18, 2020, 9:50 pm

    I want to say I’m eating healthier, but I didn’t eat that badly before and I’ve noticed my snacking is way up. I bought a couple bars of nice chocolate on Saturday and they’re already gone — oops! It’s nice to be able to cook more frequently, though, I find it soothing.

    I’ve been trying to help where I can, but I honestly don’t see a ton of kindness or strangers helping strangers when I go out. I see people on edge. I see some who I wonder if they care at all.

    I’m grateful for a stable boyfriend through all of this. Granted, I haven’t seen him in a handful of days at this point, but I know I’ll feel calmer when I go to his place. We’ve already been thinking of things we can do together that will be fun. I do feel for people who are single or live alone, I think the next few months of social distancing will feel really isolating for them. On which note, my boyfriend has already told me that his spare bedroom is open to my sister whenever she feels like it and I love him for that. She lives right by my place and we’ve been going on daily walks together with my dog, and I could tell she was bummed I am plan to spend more time at my boyfriend’s during this.

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  • stickelet March 19, 2020, 12:33 pm

    Thanks for this thread Wendy! I think it is a great idea to find and share some of the positive that we are noticing. I’ve seen a lot of rallying together and cohesion. My friends and I have been looking for ways to connect- such as Netflix watch parties. I’ve been cooking more, spending more time with my cat. My lab did a virtual coffee break this morning via Zoom and it was wonderful to see everyone’s faces. We decided to do it every morning. Here are a few things that might bring a smile to your face (hopefully I am copying the links right).



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  • bondgirl March 20, 2020, 10:57 am

    I might be one of the few weirdos who’s been enjoying the self-quarantine lol. In the weeks/months leading up to all this, I’d been feeling very run down and overloaded by life in general. And in the midst of all that, my husband and I had to put down one of our beloved cats and we’ve both been heartbroken over it. The cat fell ill VERY suddenly after a life of perfect health and was gone within days. We still have his litter mate though and he’s doing just fine.

    Throughout our relationship we’d talked about getting a dog and 2 weeks ago we finally made it happen…adopted one from a local rescue group. He’s super sweet and chill AF with cats. Now we have all this time to help him adjust to his new home and to get our cat used to him. Introduction is VERY slow but positively moving along. PS: anyone who’s successfully merged a dog into their cat home, I’m open to any helpful tips!

    Maybe I’m actually an introvert but I’ve loved not having to change out of my pajamas or seeing anyone lol. Getting more much needed sleep and I feel a lot more relaxed in spite of all the worldly chaos atm. Just feels really nice to not have to be anywhere right now after months of go go go. Also, there are confirmed cases in my office so definitely not going back there anytime soon. ..

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  • Allison A. March 21, 2020, 8:48 am

    I had a big work conference coming up that I was on the professional staff planning. It was supposed to be May 11-14. It was taking up the majority of my work time, and I was getting really behind in my other work. That conference was cancelled this week, so now I can start to play catch up. I like my work, so being able to catch up is a very good thing.

    Also, I’ve been in close contact with family, and I’m able to just relax at home.

    I’m so grateful for the healthcare workers who are out there on the frontlines, working in clinics, emergency departments, medical/surgical floors, ICUs, ambulances, and in so many other settings that are being affected now. THANK YOU for risking yourselves, for spending time away from family, for all you’re doing now and always. We are indebted to you.

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