Acceptance

Monday afternoon I called a dear friend. Just a simple check-in to see how she and her husband are doing during these strange times. We haven’t seen each other since March, and we’ve had one other phone call since then.

After our first phone call, she began shopping at the same grocery store I do. I had shared how easy it was to do an online order, set a date for FREE pickup, and have your groceries brought out and loaded in your trunk. Monday she shared she had been copying my shopping routine.

We talked about the surprises you get sometimes. Those shopping for you may think they’re picking the perfect substitute for an out-of-stock item. Or the surprise of learning your item is out-of-stock and there is no substitute. Or getting an entirely wrong item despite carefully ordering the one you wanted. AND there are no returns during the pandemic.

A good laugh came out of this part of our visit, and I asked my friend how she was dealing with all these surprises. She said, “Sherrey, for the year 2020 I have decided to lean on the word ‘acceptance.'” I like the idea of leaning on acceptance. A variety of situations exist where this is easily applied. This pandemic year has brought many issues where acceptance would help.

For each individual, there is likely a long list of things quite different from mine or yours. But each of us misses something we believe is an ordinary part of our lives. There is nothing we can do about it. Perhaps we can accept it until the pandemic is over.

I’m not much of a phone conversationalist, but I was glad I telephoned my friend on Monday. We laughed a little, shared a lot about our children, and she enlightened me to the world of acceptance during these times.

Who have you reached out to lately? Anyone? Family or friend? What have you accepted recently?

acceptance, Eckhart Tolle, right now,
Image Attribution: Guilford College Counseling

Featured Image Attribution:  Rémi Walle on Unsplash

Poem for These Times

Lately, I’ve involved in cleanup and reorganization of some writing files. Included in these are some quotes I’ve come across in reading that I especially liked. 

The following caught my eye yesterday and after reading it over, I realized it is well-suited to the times we are travelling through today. I don’t know when it was written but don’t believe that matters. I hope you enjoy.

The Room of Ancient Keys
by Elena Mikhalkova

My grandmother once gave me a tip:
In difficult times, you move forward in small steps.
Do what you have to do, but little by little.
Don’t think about the future, or what may happen tomorrow.
Wash the dishes.
Remove the dust.
Write a letter.
Make a soup.
You see?
You are advancing step by step.
Take a step and stop.
Rest a little.
Praise yourself.
Take another step.
Then another.
You won’t notice, but your steps will grow more and more.
And the time will come when you can think about the future without crying.

First appeared on April 24, 2020, on the Facebook Page, Midwives of the Soul.

Featured Image Attribution: falco from Pixabay 

Pandemic Firsts

We writers manage to find plenty to say about the pandemic. Some of it is uplifting. Some not so much. Yet, we are writing to keep ourselves sane, and so we write whatever touches us.
 
Today my husband and I experienced a first. And it brought to mind several other firsts that have happened during the pandemic. 
 
This first was a follow-up visit for each of us with our primary care doctor via Updox, like Zoom. Neither of us had had a medical visit via technology before, and so had no  idea what we were to do before, during, and after. Despite that, everything went very well.

Continue reading “Pandemic Firsts”

What Does a Calendar in Covid Time Look Like?

The sun sets, and the sun rises, bringing us a new day.
 
“Where’s your calendar?”
 
Those words request a coming together to check and synchronize our calendars. Three separate calendars need complete synchronicity. There’s the kitchen calendar, Bob’s little black book calendar, and the calendar I carry with me. Neither of us is willing to trust our important engagements to a digital calendar. I do use Google calendar for writing deadlines.
 
Yet, our habit is in the throes of slow death, and it is dying because our calendars are bare. There is nothing to synchronize.
 
Pure white is the color of the squares on the kitchen calendar. Appointments and engagements scheduled pre-pandemic have lines drawn through them. Some are marked “CANCELED;” others “RESCHEDULED.” 
 
Usually, Bob is away from home three nights a week for rehearsals with his bands and church choir. Not now. We marked those plans off our calendars.
 
Once or twice or three times each month we have a concert on our schedules. They all now fall under the categories “canceled” and “rescheduled.”
 
Our major outings are trips to the grocery store, bank, and postal box. We don’t shop in the store; we go there only to pick up what I’ve ordered online. This calls for a short ride to and from the store parking lot. The return trip can take a bit longer depending on the route Bob selects.
 
When banking is needed, Bob makes a short trip to the bank. Likewise, if we need to mail bill payments, Bob gets in the car and drives a short distance to a postal box. Needless to say, we’re saving money on fuel.
 
Our church services live-stream on Facebook on Sunday mornings. Other church-related activities take place via Zoom. I participate in a couple of writing-related Zoom events. One on Saturday mornings for a “coffee gathering.” The other is a workshop on the lyric essay this coming weekend.
 
I text our next-door neighbor to see how they’re doing. Phone calls or texts check on two out-of-town friends. Emails catch up with another out-of-town friend. Social media, primarily Facebook, keeps me on top of family happenings. There is something positive about the Internet and technology after all.
 
I’m hopeful your calendar(s) look busier than ours. Under the current circumstances, I’m uncertain how that could be. When you hear or read the news, the pace seems the same for us all.
 
My purpose in all this rambling? I wanted to commit it to our family history for posterity’s sake to prove it actually happened. When you consider how busy we are, it’s unthinkable that someone would have a blank calendar. Not to mention three!
 

COVID calendar, blank calendar, too busy, lesson learned

“I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can.”

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can.

Perhaps you learned this iconic quote in childhood. It is attributed to Watty Piper, a pen name of Arnold Munk, owner of the publishing firm of Platt & Munk. Munk wrote children’s books, including this favorite, The Little Engine That Could.
 
Little Golden Book, The Little Engine That Could, I Think I CanGrowing up, we read the Little Golden Book edition of The Little Engine That Could. Our favorite book soon became tattered, torn, faded, and fingerprinted with our love. With eight years between us, I read the book to my younger brother. 
 

 
On February 10th, we had a group of young men at our place to take down three old Doug firs. The approximate height of these trees was 135 feet. We knew that a lot of work and, yes, a mess would remain.
 
We understood that some existing shrubs and plants might suffer damage. But these trees had to go—they were encroaching on the front of our home. One of the first things we noticed was that a grouping of hyacinths were gone. Smashed by limbs bigger than the hyacinths would ever be.
 
Yesterday I noticed one white hyacinth was up to proving it could survive anything! I could hear that hyacinth repeating the words, “I think I can.” Today Bob pointed out there were two hyacinths there, both white. 
 
How symbolic this is of what we need to embrace today. In the face of this unknown virus and misinformation about it, we need a sense of calm coupled with determination. We need to prove we can and will survive this crisis. Further, we need to support our neighbors and community. And despite misinformation, we can find an authentic and reliable source.
 
And we need to adopt the mantra of that little engine of long ago and two white hyacinths beating the odds. Repeat after me:
I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can.

 

Featured image attribution: Etienne GONTIER from Pixabay 

It’s the Little Things That Count

As I reflect on the past four years, I realize that my grumbling, complaining, and feeling sorry for myself taught me something so simple:

 

little things, life, count

 

 

It is easy to list some of the simple things for which I am grateful:

  • God’s promises of healing
  • A simple smile
  • The words “I love you”
  • My husband cooking, cleaning, and more
  • A phone call from your son while he’s traveling on business
  • A short visit from your next-door neighbor
  • Bags of meals for several nights picked up by the same neighbor
  • Thoughtfulness from anyone
  • Numerous healthcare givers treating you well
  • The first sight of spring 2019 when Bob rolled me in a wheelchair outside the rehab center to see the daffodils blooming
  • The day I learned I was going home
  • How good my own bed felt after three weeks in the hospital and rehab
  • Enjoying the answered prayers offered by many friends and family members

 

simple things, little things, extraordinary things

 

Feature Image by Jagoda Kondratiuk on Unsplash