Updated: Oct 24
The Bishopville, SC, Post Office on Saturday morning, October 17. Photo courtesy of the Lee County Observer.
Things That Scare Us
Halloween has always been a stress-free holiday. Until 2020. To trick or treat or not? That is the question. Like most 2020 issues, there is no good answer.
Before 2020, the scariest thing about Halloween might be a haunted hay ride or a neighborhood tunnel of terror. Halloween was always the perfect night. Until 2020.
Before 2020, I would decorate my classroom with ghosts. Each day I would add little notes like: “It’s scary not to do your homework.” “It’s scary not to bring a pencil to class.” This year I haven’t made any ghosts for my classroom. This year it seems like the children have enough scary things in their lives. We all do. This year finds us struggling with real-life scary things.
Right now, we all have too many very real things that scare us.
1) It’s scary to check our retirement accounts. Uncertainty about the economy keeps us all awake at night. The economy is more scary than any haunted house.
2) It’s scary to think how much longer this pandemic will last. Once Halloween comes, social calendars are normally a blur until January 1. This year? Who knows? I don’t let myself think about my family not being together for Thanksgiving. I made it through Easter 2020 without being in my church, but I don’t know how I will handle not sitting in the sanctuary and lighting a candle on Christmas Eve. I worry how Corona might affect holiday traditions.
3) It’s scary to watch the news. Protests and civil unrest and political campaigns have all blurred together into one big, depressing snapshot of people behaving badly. My fifth-grade students know it’s rude to interrupt and know better than to use the phrase “shut up.” Between protests and town hall meetings and rallies, we are all holding our breath, and not because we are afraid of catching Corona. I’ve never felt this level of stress about the state of our country. This weekend, someone set fire to the post office in my hometown of Bishopville, SC. I was hoping it was an accident. It was not. Comments like, “This is awful,” and “This is so sad,” flooded social media feeds. I wanted to post, “How did we get here, and how do we stop this?” but I didn’t because there is no easy answer. No matter who wins the elections on November 3, I am truly afraid of what might happen on November 4. That scares me more than anything.
2020 has been an awful year, but we can’t blame it all on Covid-19. I’m not afraid of catching Corona, but I do have a long list of things that scare me right now. The future of the economy terrifies us all. I’m scared of a Corona spike that shuts down all the traditions I hold dear. I’m scared of the general state of our country.
October 31, 2020, has me scratching my head. I’m still not sure what I’ll do. Maybe I’ll turn off my light, or maybe I’ll make a safe plan with families who have young children. I’m sure I’ll figure it out. Halloween will come and go. Then I’ll pray non-stop, stay away from the news and social media, and make it through November 4th. I’ll plod along like I’ve been doing since March 13.
No matter what the end of 2020 brings, we will persevere and make it through. Maybe the new year will be better. Maybe each day of 2021 we will look back at 2020 and say it was the scariest year ever, but it’s behind us. May there never be another year like this one.