I’m not sure when this idea came to me, but I do remember where I was sitting. (Editor: insert smiley face here)
The lockdown was kinda’ the day Earth stood still. We had no compass, no anchor points, no vocabulary to describe it. The initial shock was frightening but did have the familiar feel of a blizzard or a hurricane. Confined to quarters, we used our phones and computers to stay in touch. Everyone was initially in the same marina, sulking in their own boat. No movement, no travel, no exceptions. (Let’s pause here for the first thank you to First Responders, and other public servants who had to keep going. Thank you)
We baked, learned Instacart, cable binged, and talked to friends about baking, Instacart, and cable shows. We turned Amazon into the 2020 equivalent of the Good Humor Man. If their truck passed your house without stopping, you’d throw yourself on the ground and cry that you’d been forgotten. Well, I did at least and did what I could to establish a personal relationship with the local Amazon, FedEX, and UPS drivers. Which reminds me, I have some birthday cards to send this month.
Well, all that fun lasted a while. But it kept snowing. High tide didn’t recede. We were afraid of a virus. We were afraid of each other. We were isolated. We were sad. What to do?
My mom always loved M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Travelled. The book begins,
Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult--once we truly understand and accept it--then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.
This truth didn’t protect my mom from life’s disappointments, tragedies, and occasional clinical depression. No matter what logical, reasonable, and safe actions she took, life often tracked her down and targeted her happiness in cruel ways. But she knew that life is difficult for all. It’s not personal.
So, while you can’t change it, you can celebrate the good times with all the God-given strength and happiness you have. You can help others with their lives, always first asking what they need and then doing your best to fill that need. And most important of all, you can laugh and make others laugh. That is the lubricant, the special sauce, the kryptonite that we all have at our disposal.
She taught me to be the one cracking a joke at the funeral. When the child’s ice cream cone falls into the dirt, be the one to calmly explain gravity. When they step in dog poop, yell at the dog for not cleaning up after himself. My mom never told a joke, but she never saw a moment in our difficult lives that we couldn’t turn upside down with a quip, a pun, or a hearty laugh.
So, I was sitting there feeling sorry for myself...and mom came to mind. Enjoy these again. More to follow. (Yes...holding back to on bagpipes till tomorrow)