This has been the year of “take aways” starting in March when the pandemic was announced. As a society, we have had our jobs taken away, our facial identities were taken away by masks, and our freedoms to come and go wherever and whenever we want were taken away by the shutdown of airlines, restaurants, bars, churches, schools and the lockdowns of our own homes. Our gatherings were reduced in number and size. Adult children were taken away from their elderly parents due to quarantine of old age homes and old age in general. Our holidays were taken away due to strict covid restrictions. Basically, most anything that has been an American tradition has been eliminated in the name of covid.
We are retired, so it has not affected us as cruelly as it has some people. I sat quietly on Christmas morning listening to beautiful traditional Christmas music. Hub (husband) went for a walk and while I felt somewhat melancholy, my heart was full and my mind was overflowing with memories of Christmas’s past. Many things can be taken away from us, but we are gifted with the retention of all of our memories of a lifetime. One thing that has become a gift while living with excess time on our hands is the stillness that comes with it which allows us to seek and reacquaint ourselves with our inner spirit. Even the Bible says “Be Still…and know I am God”
Usually the Christmas season is a breathless chase of shopping, buying gifts, decorating our homes inside and out, writing cards, cooking, baking, traveling to family far and near. In all that hectic busyness, the season seems to come and go in a flash and we find ourselves collapsed in a heap of exhaustion, feeling spent after having “overspent”.
For us, very little of this occurred this year. We did manage to write cards and “hub” helped me which resulted in some friends getting two cards as our coordinating skills were failing us in our “uncoordinated” process. Lol! Oh well, two Merry Christmas’s are better than not getting even one card!
I like the quiet, and I think that some of the changes these forced lockdowns have brought to us may end up being permanent and this time they will be by choice. . This Christmas, we had the time to read the cards arriving in our mailbox and savoring the ones who wrote letters. We no longer watch t.v., so the radio or c.d.’s filled our home with Christmas music, both Christian and secular. We get to choose exactly the kind of music we love to hear, anytime we want, right off the internet and play it through our Bose speaker.
I wonder how many other retired people have found this lockdown a hidden blessing? We were plucked out of the frenetic busyness of modern day life and gently set down in our homes where we learned to enjoy all this excess time at our disposal. I have so enjoyed our home…I used to laughingly say that for all the money we spent on our home, we could have just as well have saved it because we were so seldom here to enjoy it. That changed with covid and I have found myself bonding with our surroundings in a big way. Pictures I once purchased because I fell in love with them were barely noticed in the rush of our living following the purchase. Now I stand in front of our pictures one by one and take them in. I found myself standing in front of this old wooden carved picture and as I read the woods, I sang the song in my mind and fell in love with this piece all over again.
On sunny days, I watch the suns rays move around our home as the day progresses. It lights up our eastern wall of windows in our bedroom and feels like a cheery “Rise and Shine”. As the sun moves through the sky, it’s light rays are reflected through our stain glass windows in our dining room which sends prism’s of color throughout the room. It is also reflected off the big mirror on the dining room wall which lights up the opposite side of the room. Continuing to move through the sky, it shines in through another window which lights up our fireplace brick and mantle on the far side of our family room. The sun continues its journey and finally wraps itself around the back of our house where the rays stream in through our living room’s wall of windows and I can see dust motes dancing in that stream. The brightness in that room seems to beckon us to come on in and set down for a spell.
Everything that I am now noticing in our home, I have rarely had the time or attention span to notice previously. Daily, I enjoy looking at an orchid our daughter gifted me a while back which sits on a small table in front of our dining room window.. I tenderly care for it and watch its progress from day to day. It is very happy in its warm, southerly location. Her gift to me was in her favorite color of purple, therefore, each time I glance at it, or tend to it, I think of her! (Purple gift equals love) ❤️🥰😁
My husband and I have grown closer than ever before and have rediscovered exactly how compatible we are. 🎼Love and marriage, 🎼 horse and carriage, just like the old song sings, we seem to go together. Getting old isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but it is much reliant on the fact that we do still have our health and a life long loving companion to soften the realties of what aging will eventually bring to our doorstep.
I finally quit my facebook habit! After a decade of being on that site, I finally decided to put that time to better use. What I discovered was how much happier I was without it. It’s not healthy to constantly be into other peoples business, and certainly cannot lead to peace while engaging with so many people. My life, OUR life, is custom created for the two of us. Perusing facebook can somehow make a person feel as if they are “missing out” on the things other people have that we do not. This does not mean that I was jealous or envious because I was not ( well maybe just a little bit on some of it). It was more about the fact that I was so wrapped up in noticing everyone else’s blessings, that I somehow missed seeing some of our own. Our life once again feels FULL of blessings because I have more time to notice them, live with them, and to feel grateful for them. We are ALL given blessings, but we each receive DIFFERENT blessings and it somehow just works out perfectly!
What did I discover about myself that I did not know before I went into the Pandemic quarantine? I went into it with the assumption that I was an extrovert. Instead, I have discovered that I am most likely an introvert, maybe even a social introvert, because I have not minded this time at home as much as I thought I would. Of course, I do have my husband here which makes a huge impact on how I feel about the last 10 months, but, I also now understand why large parties were always so uncomfortable for me to attend. I love people and enjoy engaging with people but preferably on a one on one ratio or in small groups. I can remember the days when my husband was working in a company that required that I be involved in the large scale social functions and how drained I felt at the end of each one. Where extroverts draw energy from mass gatherings with a lot of conversation and interaction, I would lose energy. Now I know why, and it is ok.
So, here I sit again, in the quiet of a Sunday, January 3rd, 2021! I am “being still” and acknowledging the Who that is, Who that was, and Who will always be. (The great I am.) He is the one element in our life that was NOT taken away, in fact, I am more aware of his presence in our life now than ever before, because I have the blessing of time to focus on our Triune God! Thank goodness we made it through 2020. We are 10 months into this shelter in place and doing well.
What have you learned about yourself in this past 10 months of lockdown? I would love to hear about it!