The Weight: Coping with COVID-19

“I’ve never seen anything like this” is a common refrain I’ve heard over this past week or so. In grocery store aisles, in phone conversations, on social media feeds, the disruption of our day-to-day lives has been the surprise of all surprises. Obviously, we’ve known about COVID-19 for a while, but if we’re being honest, didn’t it always seem like some faraway thing before? Even when the first cases hit the US, I think many of us were in denial. I know that I sure was. And now, we’re here; in the middle of uncertainty. Most of us don’t have any life experiences to guide us on this one. And that sinking feeling of dread that many of us have in the pit of our stomachs is compounded by the fact that there isn’t an end in sight. There isn’t a quick fix, or a magic wand our government can wave. The only comparison point that many of us over a certain age have is 9/11, but with COVID-19, the enemy is ourselves.

If you’ve read any articles about it, you know that the only way we have a shot is to slow the spread of the disease and “flatten the curve” so that our healthcare system doesn’t get overwhelmed. But that means we all have to stay home, and probably for at least a couple of months, according to the experts. And doesn’t that go against every fiber of our being as Americans? We’re not a nation of people that like to stay in one place for very long. If you’ve seen me play a show, than you’ve probably heard me spill out our touring stats. “We play about 200 shows a year, and we drive 40 or 50,000 miles a year on the road!” All of a sudden, we’re not driving anywhere to play shows. I haven’t put gas in the truck since we got home from our last tour a week ago, because I haven’t had anywhere to go besides the grocery store. I’ve had multiple conversations with other musicians who are seeing cancellations into summer, and none of us are optimistic about playing any shows until at least June.

Everyone is stressed to the max about finances, whether you’re a business owner, a bartender, or a bank teller. On the other hand, think of all the people involved with healthcare who have to keep going to work. My dad is in that latter group. But even if you’re still working, we’re not going to church. We’re not hanging out with our friends, playing dominoes or sharing meals and drinks. We’re not visiting Grandparents and going to dog parks. All of the things that used to crowd our calendar to the point of it being too full are just…gone. Overnight.

When I started writing this, I struggled with the tone. I didn’t want it to seem to dark, because I always try to find the positive. And don’t get me wrong, there are positives. This situation is causing many of us to (rightly) examine our priorities and re-adjust our perspective, and it’s also inspiring a lot of creativity from people who suddenly have more time to be creative. But I also don’t want to sugar-coat the negative, or stigmatize the emotions that come with our present situation. We, as a nation and a world, are grieving. And that is perfectly okay! There is no getting around the fact that this is an event that will reverberate throughout our history for years to come, and we shouldn’t expect to just roll out of bed after a week of social distancing and suddenly be okay with it.

The world is going to be different on the other side of this. But what we have to do hasn’t changed; we have to choose kindness, find gratitude for the good things, and love each other. The way we show that love is going to be different for a while, but love we must!

The Weight of Love – The Black Keys

I used to think, darlin’, you never did nothin’
But you were always up to somethin’
Always had a run in, yeah
I got to think those days are comin’ to get ya
Now no body want to protect ya
They only want to forget ya

You’ll be on my mind
Don’t give yourself away
To the weight of love
You’ll be on your side
Don’t give yourself away
The weight of, weight of love

Dance all night cause people, they don’t wanna be lonely
Never wanna be lonely
They don’t wanna be an only one
You had a thing no one could ever be sure of
Never ever had a pure love
And never no cure from

About Brian Keith Wallen

Singer-songwriter and guitarist from Indiana. Proud dog dad.
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1 Response to The Weight: Coping with COVID-19

  1. crlane says:

    Hey Brian, I really enjoyed the show you and Molly (and Charlie a few times) put on last week. Thanks for doing that. Like most I imagine, I am swinging from utter panic to “things will be OK soon, somehow” and I know logically neither are probably true. While this is in someways like 9/11 or a Pearl Harbor, it’s different in that we are fighting what Trump called an invisible enemy, and that’s pretty accurate. The fact we can’t see it, can’t look at a person and know if they have it and other than hiding in our homes, no real way for us to fight it, leaves us fearful and anxious.

    What we can do is as you suggest, be kind to one another, love one another, help one another and pull together as Americans and as citizens for the planet.

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