To the doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers,
We will never be able to thank you for the sacrifices you are making for our safety and wellbeing. We cannot understand what it is like for you to risk your own lives for ours. We don’t have a way to repay you for your presence on the battleground, for the way you show up and stay, no matter the cost.
We will never be able to thank you for all you are doing, for all you are risking, for all you are giving. It’s all too much. We cannot comprehend what it’s like. We aren’t there. We aren’t you. We don’t know.
But we can see you.
We can see your superpowers – your bravery, loyalty, compassion, presence, skills and expertise. We can also see your humanity – your feelings, needs, hopes, disappointments, and limitations.
You have superpowers, more than most, but you are not superhuman. You get to feel feelings about the status quo just like the rest of us – even from the frontlines.
You have permission to feel. Your feelings are not wrong. They do not make you less helpful, efficient, or qualified. They are as valid and worthy as the services you’re providing around the clock. You can feel a whole confusing mess of them all at once.
You can feel glad that you are able to help and still have a job, while also feeling anger for having to put yourself at risk and fear for your family or the future. You can feel sad to leave those you love at home and guilt for wanting to go be with them. You can feel lonely in a reality that looks different from the masses working from home and angry at those who can but aren’t while you don’t have the choice. You can feel shame for being tired, for all the ways you can’t do more, for wishing you didn’t have to stay.
Whatever you’re feeling – it is not bad. It is not wrong. It is evidence of your humanity, proof that you are a living, breathing human being, just like the rest of us. It connects you to us. Your humanity is your strength, not your weakness. You don’t have to stop being human so you can help.
We see you. We see you responding to an impossibly hard and unpredictable reality in the ways that only you are able. We imagine you are exhausted. We hope you are supported. We wish we could be with you, protect you, help you, and thank you.
But all we can do is see you. The fully human you, busy doing impossibly hard and holy things. In being seen, we hope you find permission to stay human as you stay in the arena.
We know you’re in this for the long haul. We know you’re not giving up. We know your humanity is your greatest superpower of all. We see you.