My heart beats a little quicker this week. There’s crisis in the air. There are problems to solve. And my instinct is to take care of the people I love.
We all react to a crisis in different ways. Mine is to want to take charge and create safety and stability for a family. So much of that sounds ridiculous in rational terms, but it’s who I am at the core.
I don’t have a family. I don‘t have anybody to take care of — except for my dog Lucy and my cats Merlin, Thomas and Molly. On top of that, I‘m in a period of transition. There’s nobody who loves me. There’s nobody who’s counting on me. Nobody needs me.
But I ache for someone to count on me. I long for a wife and children who look to me to help guide us through what could be difficult economic days ahead.
And I find myself saying once more, “Let me take care of you.”
Nine years ago, John Paul White and Joy Williams wrote a song called “To Whom it May Concern” and released it on the album Barton Hollow, which was their last album as the group called the Civil Wars. (It’s embedded below.)
Why are you so far from me?
In my arms is where you ought to be
How long will you make me wait?
I don’t know how much more I can take
I missed you but I haven’t met you
Oh but I want to
How I do
I don’t even know who you are anymore. I just know you’re out there somewhere. And I know that you need me as much as I need you, even if you don’t know it yet.
I keep hearing people describe this period as a bleak and scary time, but I really don’t see it that way. There’s certainly a legitimate crisis. Many people will get sick and some will die. We face even broader dangers from the economic contraction this will bring.
But I don’t see it as especially scary.
I just see it as another fairly routine danger that life throws at us from time to time. You deal with the danger. You protect those you love. And life goes on here on Earth, just as it always has.
We have troubles ahead, but people who love each other and trust each other can get through this together.
I have no concerns about whether I’ll survive this crisis and come out stronger for it. I have no doubt that I can help a family negotiate these unsafe waters and come out better on the other side.
But I’m not in the position to do that, because you’re not here. I don’t know who my family is.
The song I mentioned ends with these words: “Dear whoever you might be, I’m still waiting patiently.”
That’s what I say, too. I don’t know who you are anymore. I don’t know where you are. I just know I’m aching for your presence and your love.
I’m still waiting. But it would be a lie to say I’m waiting patiently.