Oh Lord, I am just plain tired. Are you?

St. John of the Cross coined the phrase “Dark night of the soul.” I get it. We have endured a global pandemic resulting in an economic downturn. We witnessed a horrific murder caught on video that gave way to peaceful demonstrations, awareness and riots. We are beginning phased reopening that signal the beast is on the run — maybe.

Navigating the information highway over the last three months has been exhausting. And to boot, the “breaking news” changes day by day and sometimes minute by minute. Nerves are wearing thin.

Folks are becoming increasingly anxious to get on with their lives. I have a granddaughter arriving into this troubled world this month. I have yet to book a flight. For most of us, COVID-19 has upended our entire lives. Jobs are lost, projects halted, vacations canceled, and nothing feels normal.

And how can it? We are in a very different place.

Business owners are struggling. Some had defied executive orders and opened. Small businesses are hard hit and experiencing unprecedented losses. They are faced with a conundrum: Whose guidelines should they follow? My heart hurts for business owners who fear they will never be able to play “catch up” and reopen.

Others are so infuriated that they have taken their frustration to the extreme. We have witnessed demonstrations in front of state capitol buildings and Main Street America. These folks are seen carrying American flags and guns (I do not get the gun thing) demanding their rights.

Folks are feeling out of control. And why not?

We are struggling with two viruses: COVID 19 and intolerance. We humans have the tendency to look for a scapegoat when the situation is beyond our comprehension. Our reactions to these death dealing viruses are causing social unrest and making us physically ill.

Control freaks are having a difficult time. (I relinquished that moniker years ago. Trying to control the world was too heavy a burden.) Control freak or not, no one likes to have decisions made for them.

Those who are free spirits are having a rough patch. Free spirits are hard-wired to pick up and go whenever adventure calls. They are finding their wings clipped. They are not flying anywhere. (No pun attended!)

Sometimes we vacillate between the two extremes; sometimes we hover in the middle. Wherever we are during this strange time, it would be wise to learn the art of bending and swaying.

Many folks have routines that keep them grounded. There is one caveat: It can get a tad uncomfortable when our routines “have“ us. The slightest change may throw some folks into a tizzy. Those whose routines have them are slipping and sliding instead of bending and swaying—and that is a dangerous place to be.

Some are stuck in the “this is the way I always did it” mode. Surprise, surprise! The way you did it does not currently exist. And, where does that leave you?

Let’s face it: Nothing remains the same — ever. Sept. 11 changed the world as we knew it. The death of a loved one can send us toppling into a void. Life changes. Bending into our new normal is the only way to go without snapping.

The global pandemic and alternate facts era are occurring at a moment when politics and society seem to be in a flux. As we began to reopen, demonstrations and riots broke out in response to the murder of George Floyd. Could it get any worse?

The need for flexibility and patience is paramount. Ah, patience. That, friends, is not my strong point. The Latin root for the word patience is “to suffer.” It is the ability to remain calm in the face of adversity, frustration or suffering for something beyond ourselves. This is difficult during normal times, let alone these perilous times.

Remember the bending and swaying?

Calling out each other, defaming good police officers, rioting, looting and demanding one’s rights by violence is counter-productive. We are expressing our rights by assembling peaceably — peaceably being the operative word.

Protesting during a pandemic is a tricky business. Social distancing and mask use was not always evident. We need to stay smart, lest the beast makes a comeback.

Folks, we are in this together, so they say (although sometimes I wonder about the word “together.”) At the very least, we can accept the uncertainty and pray for the grace to endure for as long as it takes.

Most of us will not emerge from these trying times unscathed; but surely, we realize that New Yorkers are resilient.

And this, my friends, makes us unstoppable.

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Celia Marszal-Iannelli
Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in 'retirement' — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.