by Amber Jensen, www.amberjjensen.com
It’s an odd thing, I don’t know what to worry about anymore. At first it was whether or not my family of six washed our hands eleventy thousand times a day. Then it was school closures and toilet paper shortages and the impending doom of huge projections of mortality rates from a novel virus. We all knew nothing and it felt like the end of everything.
We hunkered down. We played board games. We ate beans and rice and rationed milk so we wouldn’t have to leave the house. I baked sourdough bread. It seems like everyone baked sourdough bread. Except those who baked commercial yeast breads. And it doesn’t matter because we were all baking, or hoarding, because yeast and flour were so hard to find. My friends and I would text each other if we heard of flour at a store within 50 miles of our homes. We’d text each other if we found fried beans. If we found sugar.
We watched Spring soak the land and flowers sprout up. We tallied the days until we could go back to normal. The kids asked when they could go back to school. We waited. We worried. God, I worried.
How long has it been since we laughed with a group of friends? How long since the kids sat with their classmates. How long has it been since the daily struggle was real? Remember those jokes, those memes, that funny little saying. The struggle is real. What did we know. How long has it been?
Days? Weeks? Months? We don’t even know anymore. I can’t say I miss normal because it’s so far in the rear view that it’s getting fuzzy around the edges and I’m forgetting the sound of my 9 year old’s class, lifting their voice in song. They sang a song in Hebrew every morning before school started. I asked my son to sing it. He says he doesn’t remember the words or how it went.
I’ve cried. I don’t know how much or how often but I know I’ve let my tears pour out of the seams of my being. Like fabric stretched too tight, my skin barely holding all of what it is to be human right now. Leaking.
Here we are, the pandemic a slight murmur for some and for others a deafening shrill tone, destroying peace and sanity until there’s a promise of safety. No promise is coming. It’s not. No one can make that promise. We’re all here, exactly where we are, breathing our air and hoping it’s not contaminated by a virus that is now reported to have a mortality rate significantly lower than initial projections. Yet, we breathe.
And on the topic of breathing, we enter into a new level of hellacious human existence. The trials and tribulations of uncovering and acknowledging racism and voices unheard. Not just unheard but pushed aside and hushed or muffled or muted or murdered for centuries. Yes, centuries. The low hum of those voices have become a deep vibration across the country and white folks seem to either join in with voices low or stand with hands on hips in utter denial. There’s not gray area anymore and the wound is oozing across the streets of America. Some are stepping into it while others back away from a scene they can’t accept.
I don’t know what to worry about as everything seems so significant, yet overtly sidelined by the next huge thing.
I sat in the school parking lot, in my car on March 13th, and cried, it was a Friday. I knew there was something coming, something about to happen and I felt my soul quake as I listened to a live stream from some political person. I waited to pick up my kids and see their smiling faces. One by one, I loaded them into my car for what would be their last day at school. We didn’t know that. No one knew it. That was the last day I felt like I could really balance and stand for more than a few minutes before I had to reach out and steady myself. That was the last day I think I felt ok worrying about things that seemed important and big. The last day I knew what would likely happen the next moments. I was wrong.
It’s an odd thing, I don’t know what to worry about anymore.
Amber is a mother, wife, writer and dirt road philosopher. She hales from small-town Idaho and makes her home on a spread of dirt in Eastern Washington with her husband and four wild children. She is dedicated to a life of contribution and finding the pieces of our journeys that connect us all in our greatness.
The imperfect and incomplete nature of life is often overwhelming and stifling. By choosing it and owning it, Amber has taken some of the dirtiest situations and spun them into lessons to live by. Her greatest inspirations are her children and their dirt antics. Learn more about Amber by visiting