Sunday, March 29, 2020

I tell myself

It's snowing here. More snow is forecast. I tell myself Spring will come.

I have never felt a more empty nest in our home. Sentimental, I remind myself we are fortunate, that everyone is currently separated in some form, all for the common good. But I continue to wonder about my grown children's safety, and our own. I continue to wonder about the elderly, the sick, medical staff, grocery-store employees, the babies not yet held by their grandparents. Others. I remind myself to be grateful. For my health. For my job. Many have lost theirs, including some of my colleagues, callously informed via Twitter/Facebook this weekend, promised the opposite only days ago. I wonder how parents are coping, and their children, their mental health. Then I notice through the window two neighbourhood kids wrapped in colourful snowsuits playing in their backyard, simultaneously climbing and sinking into a snow-hill, and I tell myself, they are strong.

I tell myself I can learn a lot from childrenan educator, they have been my constant teachers. Buoyed by their inspiring ability to adapt, I tell myself to get focused, get creative, seize opportunities, persist, and learn everything I can from this. Meaning is more found in the bad times, right? I'm reading Sapiens: a Brief History of Mankind. Confident and wise, Yuval Noah Harari attempts to answer life's biggest questions. Couldn't we all use some answers right now? I wonder if Harari's answers still resonate with him, in this new season of history, weighty and charged with us all thinking the same questions. And it continues to snow.

Yet I know for sure that the writersthe storytellers, the philosophers, the filmmakers, the poetsthey have all asked these questions before, and so I tell myself Rilke's words: "Let everything happen to you, beauty and terror, just keep going: no feeling is final."

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Peanut Butter & Jam

As this pandemic unfolds, I notice curiously random brain behaviour both in dreamslooking into a stranger's eyes, and then the sinking gravity in our locked eyes as we realize we are shaking handsand awake. Most mental filing cabinets get accessed quickly, but navigating new (and often fraught) problem-solving at work and socially, some odd cabinets seem to pop open during daily tasks. What's in those? It surprises me every time: a memory of a word game we used to play with our kids on road trips (first letter, last letter); a staccato song lyric from the 1980s All for freedom and for pleasure, nothing ever lasts forever, everybody wants to rule the world...and my childhood cat Bigfoot, curled on the couch next to my Dad, and so on. Writing this, I detect a pattern I hadn't noticed earlier. Sigh.

But my most spine-tingly example involved toasting a bagel a few days ago. As an educator who works in multiple schools weekly, I take a bagged lunch, but much lunch fare is contraband. Some schools restrict peanut butter, some nuts in general, one used to restrict fish and eggs. It makes for few easy lunch choices. Thus, I hadn't eaten peanut butter for years. However, with students relegated to their homes, I realized I could take a peanut butter sandwich to work, a momentary woo-hoo. Soon I found some in the back of our pantry; we were together for lunch, once again! Then, to treat myself one evening, I decided I needed a peanut butter and jam bagel. But when I placed the peanut butter knife in the jam, a strong familiar voice popped into my head, "Never put the peanut butter knife in the jam!" My oldest brother LOVED jam but HATED peanut butter so this was a rule growing up. He's been dead since 2013; I hadn't heard his voice for so long. I laughed and then it nearly broke me. But I ate that damn PB&J bagel, determined. Friends, use those voices inside you now, the ones that summon courage.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

For Clarity

It may not look like it yet, but Spring is almost heremy favourite season. This Spring will be like none before, at least in my lifetime. Still, I am grateful for Spring. For conversations with my daughter. For a silly video from my son. For the way my wife looks at me sometimes. For friends. For my work colleagues and their dedication to all things education, even without students. For doctors and nurses and medical staff. For scientists and leaders who heed them. For surprise chocolate-chip cookies. For one last gift from my 96-year-old Grandmother. For wanting to write again. For another day. For clarity.

What we do for othersit's all that matters.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...