One massage therapist’s look into an uncertain future after Covid-19.
At twenty-four years old, I excitedly hold my new massage license in my hands. It just came in the mail. I am shaking as I open the envelope and pull out the light blue, rectangular piece of paper. Slowly, I trace my name printed on it with my finger as if touching it makes it solidify faster as my new reality.
Sitting there, looking at my license, I am also looking out into my future and all the possibilities it holds. Just as if I am sitting on the edge of a ridge, looking out and surveying a vast and beautiful valley. I am on a path. I can go anywhere and do anything. I see, taste, and feel my future before me, designed by this new career.
The year is 1992.
Finding hope from both Eastern and Western principles
On March 27th, there was a photo of Pope Francis praying inside St.Peters square published in the New York Times. He was alone. His white vestments contrasted the dark, rain-splattered cobblestones which sat silently in front of him, where usually the faithful congregated to hear his words. Not this day. He stood alone in the vastness of the Vatican, praying for an end to the pandemic.
Perhaps it was my Catholic upbringing, but during this time of Lent, I could not help but see the similarity of Pope Francis, standing alone in the emptiness of the square and the parable of Christ praying alone in the desert.
I am not particularly religious yet I truly admire Pope Francis as a humanitarian. If pictures really speak a thousand words the first one that comes to mind with this one is Isolated. (Loneliness)
During his prayer, he said,
” For weeks now it has been evening. Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets, and our cities. It has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void.”
Of course, he speaks of the Covid-19 virus. The deafening silence may be a direct result of our own isolation. The quiet, vacant streets. Is this our own forty days in the desert?
When a common story became all too real.
My story is not unusual right now. Yet, in my telling it I hope to lend my voice to the conversation and perhaps it will have a small amount of power to evoke change. With over 12,000 massage therapists in my state, we are left to grapple with the question, “Do I stay, or do I go?”
At the beginning of February, I celebrated my birthday with my family and as I always do, I reflected on the year past as well as the one to come. I was full of hope, feeling grounded and comfortable in my own skin. I never would have conceived what the next few weeks would bring to our world or the impact on my profession as a massage therapist.
Stories were beginning to reach the news of the widespread Covid19 outbreak in China and in late January there had been one reported case in my home state of Washington. But that was an isolated case, right? Where someone had traveled back from China? How very little we understood the far-reaching impact this virus would have on each, and every one of our lives.
By late February, as cases grew, it became common to go to a doctor’s appointment, the dentist, or chiropractor and be “screened” with a handful of questions.
“ Have you experienced a fever or a cough recently? Have you been around anyone with a fever or a cough? Have you traveled overseas in the past 14 days?