Card Playing 101: As everyone probably knows, a standard 52-deck of cards has face cards, number cards, and aces. 54 cards if you count the jokers.
And an upcard is a playing card dealt face up.
So the metaphor: this virus is dealing me lots of different upcards — 52 to be exact, with occasional jokers.
In this deck, however, the upcards are emotions, thoughts and feelings.
It seems that each night while I’m sleeping, my metaphorical deck gets reshuffled and I awake to a new upcard.
Not only that, often events during my waking hours cause this deck to get reshuffled, offering a veritable flow of different upcards.
Catching this virus would be bad enough, but worse would be knowing that I had passed it on to anyone else.
Until I am tested, I don’t really know if that invisible bugger has set up camp in me.
I ran into a friend at the grocery store recently and was so excited to actually see someone, I practically shouted his name.
Enthusiastically pronouncing a word that starts with a letter like “B” involves a plosive speech sound. Even though we were roughly six feet apart, those droplets can travel!
My mind goes to the folks who absolutely depend on a paycheck but are not working because of business closures. For them, income stops but bills continue.
This card can pop up when I witness some of our elected “leaders” squabbling, finger-pointing and scapegoating. Unable to let go of their divisive habits, even in the midst of declared national and state-wide emergencies.
Upcard: Worry and appreciation.
I think of those who work on the medical front lines — first-responders and medical professionals. This kind of work is a calling — folks who courageously continue to do their crucial — and often exhausting — work despite the risk to their health and that of their families.
Upcard: Worry and Appreciation. Again.
There are countless people — often anonymous — who continue to work in jobs that are considered “essential”. Why essential? Because we need them.
Think grocery store employees; think those who transport our goods; think law enforcement.
The list is long.
These people face a double-edged sword: Yes, they work to bring a paycheck home; and, they must wonder if they are bringing the virus home along with that paycheck.
Many of us know people who have recently lost a loved one. Regardless of the cause, these are the grief-stricken among us.
And yet, these grieving people can’t gather with family and friends for a service; no chance to receive, first hand, hugs and condolences; no chance to see those whose hearts are breaking with theirs.
Most of us are learning that physical separation is more challenging than we might have expected.
The inability to connect in-person is just plain depressing for me. And I’m a guy who has claimed that I’m an introvert! So much for that.
Upcard: Spiritual path.
Being reminded, once again, that core spiritual values like love, compassion and cooperation will get us through the challenges that come our way.
Hey, this is just a glimpse at eight upcards. There are 44 others, without counting those jokers.
Keith Rodli is a retired attorney/mediator and lives in rural River Falls .