Week 3.5: Looking forward in a time of covid-19

Friday. Remember when we used to look forward to Friday? Now, with most of us at home during the week, Friday has lost its magic. No TGIF! memes – more like, Friday, Meh memes. Friday has lost its ranking and has now become just another blurry day of the week. As I was contemplating this loss, it got me to thinking that something we are truly missing right now is “looking forward.”

Looking forward to Friday, the weekend, a concert, a planned dinner date, a vacation – all these things that give us hope throughout our normal work/school week. You’re having a rough Wednesday with the kids sick, a deadline at work and as you stand holding the refrigerator door open and mad at yourself for forgetting to put something out to thaw for dinner, you say to yourself, “I can’t wait until next weekend when we go to Kansas City for a couples weekend.” Suddenly, you find the positive energy you need to finish this crappy day because there’s an end goal in sight. Looking forward.

We’ve lost a lot of end goals. I’ll start with a few of mine:

  • Friday
  • Weekends meeting up with friends to hear local live music
  • Bicycle rides followed by patio beers at one of Wichita’s awesome breweries
  • Weekly “supporting local” dinner night out
  • Weekly lunch with my parents
  • Concerts: had tickets to Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real; Pearl Jam and Rage Against the Machine – all postponed
  • Fundraising events we planned to attend this spring
  • March Madness and all it entailed, especially our annual sibling weekend get together to watch the games
  • Easter with family

That’s a full list of loss. Some items on the list might not seem as important as the others, but all together provides a huge gaping hole in my life schedule. All these things I looked forward to, they gave me hope and got me through bad days and made good days all the more brighter. So, now what? How do we hold onto hope when it seems like there’s nothing ahead of us in the path to greet us? This morning I started making a new list – a list of moments throughout the day. And, when I started truly thinking about it, I realized I had already begun to replace the usual ‘looking forward’ list with the following:

  • Yoga/meditation during those moments in the morning when the world is just waking up
  • Work check-ins and our Coffee Chats in the morning to see/hear from one another
  • Lunch breaks with Beatrice, including that 10-minute siesta
  • That first Marco Polo video I receive from my sister or brother during the day
  • My daily text check ins with family or friends to see how they are doing
  • Sitting on the deck with my husband after dinner
  • Dropping off groceries so I can see my parents, even if I can’t hug them
  • The next movie in line for our James Bond marathon (I’ve only seen a handful of the movies, so we started with Dr. No and are making our way chronologically)
  • Writing my next Mermaid post
  • Reading in the stillness of the night

I guess it’s all about adapting, but what I’m learning is that instead of looking forward to those vacations, weekend bike rides, and concerts, what if they just became icing on the cake and instead we choose to look forward to and savoring that first cup of coffee, a phone call with our parents, cooking dinner, listening to music while relaxing on the couch, walking the dog or just sitting in our own stillness and breathing. Our lives are not just peppered with gifts, all of life is a gift – every moment, every little thing that gives us joy, hope and opportunity. If anything comes out of this pandemic, I hope it is that we begin to realize how fortunate many of us are in this game of life. There are those who will not make it through this, who will be crushed by the economic fallout and whose lives were teetering daily on the brink of loss. Maybe in learning to recognize all we’ve to be grateful for, we do our best to ensure others have the same.

I leave you with a TED talk by Brother David Steindl-Rast on the gratitude revolution. It’s almost 15 minutes long, but worth the moment in time. In it, he shares how every moment is a given moment and it is the most valuable thing that can be given to you. And if we are to have this grateful revolution, we must build stop signs in our lives to encourage us to stop, look, then go. We rush through our lives failing to take the time to open our senses and our hearts to opportunity, especially opportunities to be grateful. If we are grateful, we act out of having enough, which is a life game changer. Enjoy. Be grateful.

 

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