Is anyone else but me feeling the gift of time in these troubling days?
I knew, but hadn’t quite felt, just how busy my life has become. Now I find myself not having to rush through tasks or conversations, not always thinking about what’s coming in the next hour rather than focusing on what I’m doing at the moment.
With a few extra minutes (hours), what’ll we do with them? Maybe root around in our closets and find a set of dusty watercolor paints, or open that bead box we haven’t crafted from in some time, or rummage around in our basket holding yarn and knitting needles? One family bought a couple of new family games in anticipation of more time together. I thought I might even cook a little – but then, I might not be quite that bored yet!
We grandparents are reminded of our child-tending reliability as schools close. We understand the gift of time with our grandies, especially as they get older and need us less. We know about entertainment beyond the computer screen: Monopoly, backgammon, Clue, Scrabble, 1000-piece picture puzzles, and other non-tech games we’ve probably got stashed somewhere in a closet. While we all appreciate the joys of family time spent together, we might just have to give a little bit on how much screen time is allowed, too.
Dogs get longer walks in the mornings and evenings. My walking partner and I are covering more ground as my Trinity meetings and her bridge games are canceled. A friend has invited a non-bird-watching friend to go on an easy bird stroll. Others plan to go hiking or trail-riding or do other outdoor things with family and friends. However, we miss our restaurant dinners, our coffee shop conversations, and our brewpub explorations.
It’s a good time to sort our clothes and take a few to Salvation Army or Good Will. Goodness knows all our charities need to be supported in these hard times. Trinity is open as of now, thanks to Denise’s willingness to be in the office, or you can use your key and do a few things in an area in which you volunteer at Trinity – sort some books, tidy a cabinet, stock an area for future needs.
Those of us who lived through the polio scare in earlier decades remember that it did finally end. We recall how our parents wouldn’t let us go to pools, movies, fairs, all the fun stuff, for fear of getting an infection. We saw friends and families leave their homes in ambulances, heard stories of iron lungs or watched them return in leg braces with crutches. And some of our loved ones didn’t return. But the smart medical people figured that out, as they will get us through this crisis.
We are fortunate in my household to have each other for company. Friends of ours who live alone also seem to be slowing down and savoring moments a bit more, too. We should remember to call those who live alone and may be lonely or in need; we can always drop off a bag of food or an extra book on their doorsteps. Maybe we should take a few minutes to invite a neighbor in for a cup of coffee, maintaining proper social distance, of course. One of our parishioners has invented a virtual happy hour – if you’re on her Facebook page, you can read about her friend who drinks quarantinis. Perhaps we can catch up on our email to friends we haven’t connected with in a good while, especially if there’s someone with whom we have an unresolved conflict that… just sayin’. The AA folks call it making amends and I daresay we all have someone with whom we need to straighten out a thing or two. Visiting friends in the hospital is no longer an option but we can still call or text them.
To be sure, this is a trying, difficult, and scary time for all of us. We miss our time together in church, but Bambi (who also came to church Sunday just to be sure there was no one who hadn’t received the cancellation notice – thank you, Bambi) is giving us some on-line homilies to think about. Elsewhere in this newsletter you’ll see internet sites where you can find on-line worship programs. Every morning I receive e-mails with a meditation from the Henry Nouwen Society, one from Richard Rohr, and one from a British website called Living Light. It takes just a few minutes to read these and they can be quite uplifting. They yet again remind us that we are not alone in this.
Let’s hang together, remember that quarantine and hibernation are two different things, and find ways to use and enjoy newly discovered time. Above all, we must remember that God is with us every step of the way.