My daughter put random pictures on line last weekend of her cousins playing and posing for pictures over the years. Looking at those pictures, I was filled with so many memories. It seems like just yesterday.
In 2013, we had one daughter living in Ohio and one in Missouri. HE had already officially retired and was working part time waiting for me to retire the next year when we found out the Missouri daughter was going to give us a grandchild. We made the decision to leave everything we had ever known and move south . We loaded up 2 dogs and 5 cats and made the official move on the same day I was free of a job I had for 30 years. Where had those 30 years gone? It seems like just yesterday.
The first part of March we really had no idea how our life was going to change. It seems like just yesterday. Life as we had known it…family, trips back to Iowa to see family and friends, planning babysitting activities, going out to eat, shopping and our activities at Unity….they just stopped! It seemed like everything just stopped! I can’t wrap my head around how life has changed for the world…not just my little corner.
We are coping. That means whatever it means for each individual and the circumstances of their lives! I have to remind myself that we are a strong people. Most of us will survive. My prayer is we can show love and kindness to each human we cross paths with while recognizing the gratitude and thankfulness for all of those little acts of kindness. A few years from now we will remember this time as the moment everything changed. It will seem like just yesterday.
I didn’t really appreciate being out of the house as much as I expected I would. My first stop was the Pleasant Hill Post Office to drop off a package and do my civic duty buying stamps. It was VERY pleasant. The post office clerk seemed like an old soul. She told me about how her daughter and a friend who also lives in Pleasant Hill have taken to writing letters to each other on old stationery. She was delighted that she was able to share this gift of letter writing that was handed down from her mother and now to her daughter. The story made my heart happy!
*slather hands, debit card, key, car door handle, steeering wheel with hand sanitizer.
The less pleasant stop occurred at the local hardware store where I spotted the beginning of an outdoor plant sale which was nearly empty of customers. There were 6 of us. 3 unmasked under the age of 50 and 3 masked actors all over age 60. The masked players were considerate and polite. I was sorry I had my mask on while waiting in the checkout lane. The under 50 male ahead of me in line said with a sneer to the older man ahead of him (loud enough for all of us to hear) that it was starting to look like the Jesse James gang around here I hope you all don’t go to the bank…oh wait…the lobby is closed. I really wanted to remove my mask, step closer to him and cough my head off then apologize because I had forgotten my mask and repeat under my breath several times that I hoped he would be okay.
As I waited, I realized that scenario in my head was only hurting me. It was only making me angry. The scenario playing out in my head was rooted in anger than someone was making fun of me (us) and MY truth that I find bully behavior and disrespect as an undesirable human trait.
So I blessed his humanity. Took a deep breath of gratefulness that I can recognize others are on a different journey than I am and focused on the beauty of my flowers….and the love I have in my life and holding this hatefulness to a stranger with bad manners really had nothing to do with me.
When I was in the grips of pain, depression, and overwhelming anxiety which I blamed on my job, my role as caretaker of my elderly mother and Aunt, feeling like an outcast in my husbands family and hating who I was because of the way I was thinking and the way my body looked…whew…I felt like at every opportunity, I needed to tell my story. My story had no happiness but involved my upbringing, my loneliness, my familial burdens as well as every other thing that I considered to be my negative personal affliction. By telling my story, at least I got attention, I had a line of people who felt sorry for me, I had friends who would get down there in the mud and wallow with me. I thought I was fortunate *fist on forehead, that I at least had that!
Each step forward I thought I could make myself feel better by changing my surroundings and my personal appearance but the brick wall I was running into got thicker and thicker. Finally a therapist led me around the brick wall.
Today…I woke up feeling like I was going to have a sensitive pre-holiday day…but I started out mindfully feeling gratitude…I took my oldest grandson to school this morning and he chatted as if he was in my head and knew I needed to hear what he was saying….gratitude. I’m babysitting my 3 year old grandson today and he’s laughing and full of joy…gratitude. I was thinking about Christmas past and I felt gratitude….I was loved and I have friends and family who love me. When my grandson pushed the button on the paw of a toy dog that sings Blue Christmas over and over again, I felt gratitude. My mom bought this stuffed dog for herself a couple years before she died…I felt an unusual thankfulness for my mother and her gift to me of memories of those cherished christmases past. For a moment, I felt myself wanting to rethink my story…the familiar story I used to tell myself… but I just stopped and realized gratitude was my new story and here I am. Right here and right now, I’m so thankful!