These are frustrating and often difficult times but they have also been enlightening times. I have essentially been forced to slow down and as I have done so I have finally had the time to think about my life and who and what is actually important to me. As I’ve lived in my jeans and t-shirts without shoes on my feet I have not needed the many changes of clothing that line many my closet. Who needs makeup when staying at home or wearing a mask? Covid hair has become a thing for me with fancy cuts seemingly unnecessary. Those mani/pedis feel like a thing of the past and while part of me longs for the fashionable looks that I once sported somehow they don’t seem quite as important as they once did. If I were to do the Marie Kondo thing of simplifying my life I suspect that I would be hauling out bags of clothing and shoes that don’t seem as necessary as they once did.
On the other hand phone calls, FaceTimes, texts, and notes seem like precious treasure. Those momentary links with people mean all the world. I find myself giddy with delight anytime I am able to spend a few moments conversing with those I love. When long time friends grew a lovely plant from seeds and left it on my doorstep I felt as though I had found a great treasure. Everyone knows the saying that plants from friends are always the strongest and the best and that concept is doubly true when we can’t even spend much time with each other anymore. Thoughtfulness is more wonderful than gold.
I have heard of so many people struggling to survive these days. There are even horrid persons who are taking advantage of the situation but more often than not the innate kindness that resides in people is rising to the occasion. I have shed many happy tears upon hearing stories of compassion and generosity from all across the globe. My faith in humankind has grown as exponentially as the virus. It seems as though the tougher times are the more heroes I discover among us.
There have been political marches and rallies but there have also been special parades for the elderly and the sick replete with balloons and streamers. Last weekend I watched with delight as a long line of cars drove past a neighbor’s home were a little boy was celebrating his third birthday. He laughed with unadulterated joy as people honked their horns and shouted birthday greetings. Some threw confetti and others left little gifts and treats. I could tell that the lovely gesture not only made the child feel special but his parents also understood the love behind it. I had almost as much fun as they did just watching the proceedings.
Teachers and parents have bent over backwards doing their best to make the first days of the new school year as safe and special as possible. Everyone knows that nothing is quite as normal but in many ways it gives a clearer picture of how much we all love our children both small and almost adult. People are working together to accommodate each person’s needs and while it is not always a smooth or perfect process surely just the fact that everyone is trying so hard should mean the world to everyone.
I miss being face to face at church but my parish continues to stream the daily masses for those of us who are supposed to stay at home. I feel a closeness the the members of my Catholic community more strongly than ever and I suppose I have a renewed appreciation for my faith. God has walked with me and calmed me when I have become anxious. It is has been wonderful to know that He is always next to all of us whether we purport to need Him or not.
I suppose that each of us has lost one or more friends or family members during this time. It has been tough to know that we will never see them or hear their voices again. The loss of such dear ones makes our relationships with those who are still with us ever more important. We long for hugs and the human touch and even smiles that are hidden behind masks but know that one day we will have them and value them more than we ever dreamed.
I have finally learned how to still my mind and listen to my breathing and the beating of my heart. I have never before been able to meditate without have my attention deficit disorder take my thoughts away from the moment. Now I am able to become totally relaxed and able to feel my spiritual self coming alive. It is an unexpected gift that helps me through the long days of isolation.
Somehow my thoughts are clearer than they have ever been. I glow from inside, not from artificial products that I paint on myself. My life has never been more simple and it makes me feel happy and free. I know that even in the midst of the chaos of the world I have found inner peace. I only wish that everyone might experience the calm and the optimism that I feel.
I know that for so many the road is far too bumpy and complex to gain the level of joy that I have experienced. Sometimes when I have grown weary at the end of day I think of them and dwell on them and a sadness creeps into my head. I have learned how to find ways to help, even if it is just one soul that I am able to reach. I focus on love and find it in so many places. I only wish that everyone might somehow realize that life it tough but it is also good.