By Elaine Morgan
July 1, was the 6-month anniversary of the World Health Organizations’s receiving the first reports of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in China. This anniversary got me thinking about what I’ve noticed, learned, fought, and let go.
I’ve come to appreciate my tiny but welcoming front porch. The screened porch in the back is my sanctuary, but I’ve often overlooked the value of my front porch. Now it’s become where I visit one-on-one with a friend over coffee or tea or wine. It meets the recommendations of Outside and Social Distancing, so it’s a joy to have an hour here and there with a friend without the need to decide “what restaurant to go to for lunch or dinner or just wine?” “What time will we meet?” “Are you dressing up or going casual?” So many decisions no longer to be made.
Upon our creation, we were blessed with memory, reason and skill. Watching the lack of reason on full display these past few months makes me want to scream while also uttering a prayer for guidance. God gave us the study of science and one can be both a believer of God’s grace and love along with believing in science. Thus I believe in science and will continue to listen to scientists when it comes to my own safety and that of the community.
There is great joy in simplicity which I had forgotten about before this. A simple lunch midday. A day trip to the mountains to walk along a dirt road and eat a sandwich by a rushing creek. An evening on the porch with the frogs telling me about their day. I don’t have to go and go and go to fill my time. I have stopped and it’s been good.
Differences in opinion have fractured some friendships of which some will mend. Of course, “friend” is a misused term in social media so those dismissed friends will not be missed and it’s good to be away from their atrocious statements of hatred. Differences of opinion didn’t used to be so volatile, but it’s a new day. I trust that hurt feelings will heal over time.
Words of Wisdom. Whether in news-based podcasts, or inspirational and motivational podcasts, or even comedy segments, I am inhaling all of it. Learning that we are hard wired in our DNA to ensure our own personal survival before others explains a lot. But also learning that we do best in community is comforting and reassuring. Even front yard signs saying “Everything will be okay” make me breathe a little more slowly.
I had a visceral need to stay connected very early in this pandemic so I started writing short notes which I have continued to do. Sending love notes to those in my thoughts and on my heart has been a welcomed activity and diversion. Plus, I’m helping the USPS by buying a lot of stamps.
My sewing machine came back into my life! Having not touched it in a few years changed once I had to make masks for Sophie and me. Being able to join fabric together for a useful purpose has reignited my desire to sew. I am happy with my foot on the pedal.
Thinking of ancestors and history has put today into perspective. My great grandmother traveled alone in the 1890s from Germany to Ellis Island when she was in her teens and then made it over to Michigan. It baffles me every time I think of her ability to get there. I also think of The Blitz and Londoners living through 56 nights of bombing. I think of westward settlers (the women in particular) who left their established communities with friends and support services to travel to an unknown and desolate expanse to begin anew. How did they have the fortitude? So many moments in history to guide us and let us know that we will be okay.
There is so much more in my head which is like a maze that both intrigues and terrifies me. But for now, this is my short list for the 6-month pandemic anniversary. Looking ahead is overwhelming with not only virus, but also the election season and racial pain which finally is being heard and recognized. I will keep getting up and walking while I listen to experts and tune into Morning Prayer at Holy Innocents or with other priest friends worshipping from their own parishes.
I wish each of you good health, peace, safety and sanity. Take care of someone near you. It feels so good to be of help whatever that might be.
Everything will be okay.
This article originally appeared in the August issue. You can access the digital August edition HERE.