Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Good Morning and Welcome to a Brand New Day!

Michael and me on the train from Edinburgh to London, 2019

Times are crazy.  

Where do I begin?  I am not old, but am older than my kids and my students (and their teachers).  I have lived longer and have experienced many crises.  This does not make me an expect - I do not know the answers.  What I do know is life is hard.  But in the same way, life is fantastic.  From the time I was little I watched my strong grandmothers endure hardship, loss, and change.  I admired their sensibility, wisdom, and calm.  And while the waters were uncharted, they relied on previous sailing experience.  They knew what should be done and that this too shall pass.  They came out stronger for it.  When my grandfather died, I watched my grandmother move into action: making calls and plans.  She was heartbroken, grieving, and in shock but remained focused and poised.  I never forgot her strength.  I wanted to be that person when I grew up; the one who could stay calm and focus on the tasks to be done; to be the comfort and the strength for others.  I try, but I get tired, discouraged, and sad at times, too.

Times are challenging.  I am not saying that things now are not hard.  They are.  So was 9/11 when everything changed.  And in 2008, when everything changed again.  Those experiences give me cause to worry about this crisis.  I worry for small businesses remembering what happens in hard financial times.  I worry about my students that are not able to come to school, the ones who come because we are their happy and safe place where they get hugs and are fed.  And I am sad.  My mother turns 75 next week.  We had planned a big family dinner at her favorite restaurant.  With some family members at risk and others exposed we have to cancel completely.  My spring quilt shows where Michael and I enjoy time with our quilting friends as well as each other have all been cancelled.  The way I do my job has changed.  My nephew misses out on the rest of his freshman year of college.  We can and should be sad.  Our plans have changed and some things cannot be regained.   But some things have gotten better and this morning I am looking to those for inspiration.

Leading the way.  In the last few days, I have watched people come together for one another in ways I never saw before.  I am following my nextdoor app (now that I have time) and am finding so many people reaching out and helping others all while maintaining social distancing and following the new norm.  I had a call yesterday from a shop owner in New York who called just to chat about my patterns.  She took the time to reach out and make the connection - it was greatly appreciated and brightened my spirit.  So from this (still developing) crisis I have learned we must reach out and take time now for one another.  Many of us are finding our schedules wide open while others are now bogged down with work and responsibilities as they try to maintain some form of normalcy and balance.  We are being called on to care for each other, not in person, but in action and words.

We will adjust.  I am adjusting to limited availability of the food items I normally buy and the ability to get things immediately.  My sacred four week hair appointment may not happen and I will live.  These are not important now.  As my calendar opens I am taking time to breathe.  It is time to think about priorities and reset.  From each difficult situation in my life there has been loss but there has been new life.  After my dad died, my once full days were empty.  That summer I began to write quilt patterns.  When I died (cardiac arrest - this is the shorthand way we talk about that day in my house) I spent my recovery time reevaluating my life and started writing five yard patterns.  In 2008, we lost so much but then returned to school and now Michael and I work in new fields that we love.   Each situation has molded and changed me.  I have grown.  I am thankful for all things and know that God is in charge no matter how much I try to be in control.  So after the forest fire of this virus, I will look for the new areas of green and see what is built to replace what has been lost.

So for now, we should seek peace.  Love our family (as we are probably sequestered with them).  Play games, cook, sleep, be outside (it is spring and lovely).  Give thanks as we do have so much for which to be thankful.  Show love and compassion to those that are suffering.  Give what you can in your kind words or support.  Be strong.  Be the light.  We are all in this together.