April 7, 2020 – This weekend, I had the auspicious privilege of moving my oldest daughter to her new apartment during this crazy pandemic. As we left for the DC-metro area, I had images of “Outbreak” and “I Am Legend” in my head. I had no idea what we were headed into but my daughter’s lease was up. She had no one else to help, and she needed to get moved before things got worse.
We made it to her apartment in record time, 2 hours and 5 minutes. I had never seen I-95 North so empty, not even at 2 am. Riding on an open I-95 may have comforted some, but it only drove home just how surreal of a situation we now find ourselves.
We went out for coffee Sunday morning preparing to return home and our footsteps almost echoed it was so eerily empty. We saw 3 people, including the Dunkin Donuts clerk more than 6’ away when we picked up the coffee order.
I’ve channeled my #yellow for cheer. I’ve posted pics of Northern Virginia tulips for you all to enjoy on my Instagram story. All the while, my soul just wants to have a full-blow adult temper tantrum, complete with breaking glass. I’ve breathed deeply. I’ve knitted. The anxiety and worry of what our world will look like when all this is over keeps preying on my mind: how many businesses won’t open their doors again, what our economy will look like, who is home without food, how will our November presidential election affect things.
I actually took hope from Queen Elizabeth’s words this weekend: to be resolute. That is a woman who has been through a few things. Time and again, she soldiered on despite the grim, terrible and historic events happening around her.
I began to think about who else I knew who had really been through grim, terrible and historic times. My thoughts found Elie Wiesel. I had the privilege of meeting Elie Wiesel once while working for Virginia Tech’s public relations. As a committee member who assisted in bringing him to the university for a campus-wide speaking engagement, I sat at the same table with him during his dinner. When everyone else had left him alone, I stood and took the seat beside him. I had one simple question for the man who survived Holocaust atrocities and won a Pulitzer Prize for the book he wrote about his experiences. How did you overcome everything that happened to you? Just like his book, he said it very simply. “You have to turn it into something else.”
We have all been warned about how grim and terrible this week will be. I share this story with you to help you try to find some hope.
My shop’s has been shuttered to foot traffic and we are limited to virtual shopping and curbside pickup. Our only contact with you has been via Zoom. We miss our customer’s smiling faces. We still have bills to pay, from rent to utilities to vendors. People have largely locked down their wallets to prepare for the economics of the unknown.
I don’t know what to do but to continue to move forward. With a LOT of help, I brought Robin’s Promise into its own online shop, which went live last week. With that complete, I will inventory my shop, change to a new point-of-sale system and bring The Flying Needles shop online – all with a lot of help again. I hope I finish by the time life gets back to normal.
I can only prepare for a future I believe in, otherwise, I will lose hope. Meanwhile, birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and the leaves are returning.
Today’s news was indeed grim and terrible. In the midst of the grim and terrible, find something that moves you forward and keep on pressing. Hope is a powerful thing.
Owner, The Flying Needles