Years ago, when we lived in Harrisburg, PA, I was returning home from running errands. I’d left Seth at home with Rod and had 1-year-old Dan in his car seat behind me. I turned left onto 20th Street, and was almost to the top of the hill just three blocks from home. I didn’t have a stop sign, but the cross street, Berryhill, did. A car traveling on Berryhill St. slowed at the stop sign, but didn’t see my car. aIt entered the intersection hitting us on the right rear door. The other car wasn’t going fast, so the collision was not a major accident. Dan and I were fine, just shaken up.
However, I never again assumed that cars would stop at that stop sign. I proceeded up the hill and slowed at that intersection, just in case. I haven’t been back for years, but I imagine I just might still slow down at that spot. It was a traumatic incident, and the results of such incidents get absorbed into our very bodies, including a heightened sense of anxiety, especially under similar circumstances. It is a normal human response to trauma, and it requires time and coping strategies to change.
The past 15 months have been traumatic for many, if not all, of us. Our sense of security and safety has been threatened, as have our lives and livelihoods. Now that safety guidelines are changing, it feels both good and odd to socialize with others, to remove our mask, to receive a pat on the back or to give someone a hug. Masks and social distancing have provided safety. Removing our masks and decreasing the space we keep between each other will take some getting used to for many. Like going through that intersection where the accident happened, I may hesitate and be cautious in certain situations. So might you. I pray that we can be gentle, loving and kind towards ourselves and each other. Jesus had something to say about that, “love your neighbor as yourself.” That’s good advice.
Love one another,