And here I am, 29 months, and what seems like another lifetime, since my last blog post. Like everyone, I moved into a different life in the Winter of 2020, and am now figuring out, like everyone, what that life looks like. I’ve had COVID, vaccines and a booster. I own a ridiculous number of masks, and hate them all (but I wear them when needed!). I’ve lost people dear to me to this plague, and learned what it really feels like to “pray without ceasing,” when my children and grandchildren came down with the damned thing (and got well, though some have lingering after affects – my youngest son finds that bacon tastes terrible now, can you imagine?).
Our newest grandchild was born in the first months of the pandemic, as her first-time parents experienced an emergency c-section, the NICU, and the first days of parenthood without the gathering of family and friends. Even though we all eventually got to spend some time together, I still worry that my youngest granddaughter thinks I’m an app on her Daddy’s phone. Those video calls have been a huge blessing, though. At the beginning of our isolation, we did family Zoom calls with 11 or more of us talking at once, trying to figure out technology and how to share family time on a screen. We did the family Christmas Tree decorating via Zoom, and opened presents that way, too. All those things were a blessing. An odd blessing, but an enormous blessing still.
I worked at home, attending endless Zoom meetings and writing emails until I thought my fingers might fall off and I longed for non-electronic interaction. My office mates were an ornery tabby cat who likes to knock things off my improvised desk, and our elderly chocolate lab, who liked to lie down by my feet and put her head in my lap when she could feel my stress at trying to work in isolation. Those months turned out to be a special blessing. Two months ago, we had to say good-bye to Grania, my sweet companion. I would never have had that time with her in her last months if it hadn’t been for quarantines and working at home. The house seems empty now, but I have memories of her that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Not a blessing I necessarily want to repeat – ever- but a blessing that fitted the time and the situation.
Yesterday was the day we Americans “officially” count our blessings, and give thanks for all we have. That’s not easy for some this year. Empty chairs, long distances that are harder than ever to travel, frustrations of all kinds, seem to be larger and more numerous. But, still we try. Something in our deepest inner humanity, our souls, if you will, tells us that we are blessed and that we need to take stock of those blessings every chance we get. Our state of mind, our mental health, depends on it. We were created with a deep need to give praise, to be thankful.
One of the things I am thankful for is that I have recently, after a two-year drought that started before the pandemic and was deepened by it, rediscovered the joy that writing brings me. I went way too long without putting thoughts and feelings into words. Honestly, I practically abandoned words all together. I even struggled to read. I did not always handle the pandemic well. Don’t worry – I don’t feel a need to dredge it all up either. I feel the need to count my blessings and look for new ones so that I can live in gratitude and joy. And write about them.
This weekend, Christians all over the world will begin lighting a candle, entering a season of waiting and meditating on the the gift of Christ, and new beginnings. So, in Mama Prayed, I will turn my back on the sadness and frustration of these past two years, and celebrate my blessings, and, if anyone is out there who wants to read about life from my slightly cock-eyed, older but wiser point of view, I hope you enjoy it.