I feel so far away from so much of what I love.
My family, my friends, my teams, my cities, sometimes, even myself.
I booked a flight to Uruguay in February, with a return flight to NYC in March. Then they closed the airport and I am still here. It’s now almost July. The airport remains closed.
So many emotions have come up over the last 4 months.
Depression for the police brutality and violence I am seeing through videos my friends in NYC send me. Unease around the loss of almost all income for my business. Anxiety around the global pandemic that made us all fear each other. Guilt around laying off employees. Fatigue from communicating through screens.
But then there are other moments.
Moments that give me hope, or peace, or joy. I wrote about many of these moments in a recent post.
Moments of love and music, of dreams and meditation, of nature and simplicity, of loving animals and cooking with peaceful ingredients, exploring the mystical corners of Uruguay and looking up at stars.
A few days ago, I was walking to my local health food store, and a girl in her late 20’s approached me.
“Can you help me cross the street? It gives me anxiety to cross busy streets alone,” she asked.
Before I could even say yes, she wrapped her arm inside of mine. I could tell she was scared. And I was glad to offer comfort. It also felt nice to have a stranger touch me.
Sure, I said, and I crossed the street with her. And then another.
She thanked me, released her arm, and I turned around.
As I did, I looked at the hotel that is a few blocks from my house here in Montevideo. For the last several months, it’s been boarded up, curtains closed, lights off, empty. But that day, the windows were open, there was someone at the front desk. People were walking in and out. Between the anxious arm resting in mine, the sensation of light from the previously dark windows, and the coming and going of people, tears fell down my cheek.
A few weeks earlier, I walked down the beach on Montevideo’s Rambla. A father was playing with his small child. She was jumping with ecstatic joy.
“Touch the moon, daddy. Touch the moon!” she kept exclaiming.
I stopped for a second and realized that he had a stone in one hand, his daughter’s hand in the other. All four of their eyes were looking up at the moon.
“But, what if I don’t make it?” the father asked his daughter.
Just try! She insisted.
He threw the rock. It went high in the sky and in that moment, his daughter screamed with delight….
“You did it! You did it!”
She gave him a high five. He smiled and said, “I did it.” I walked away, smiling, too.
I don’t know when the airport opens here. I don’t know when clients will start to call me again for conferences or videos. I don’t know when police will stop abusing their powers. I don’t know when I will hug my parents or meet my nephew, or how I can hire back employees. I don’t know when I can connect with my friends in ways I am used to.
But I do know this.
We all need someone to help us cross the street.
We all need someone to shine some light into our dark rooms that we’ve had closed off for too many months or even years.
We all need someone that makes us feel like we can pick up a rock and throw it so high it hits the moon.
We all need someone that celebrates us when we try something that seems impossible.
And maybe when we learn to accept and give help, we will get what we’ve been anxiously awaiting for the last several months.
The world to open up again.
Or maybe for some of us…
For the very first time.