There's something about having had some time off, over the holidays, that fills me with a sense of possibility. I think that is perhaps partly why so many ambitious resolutions and plans are made at the New Year -- there's been some time to rest, to consider, perhaps some space to breathe, after the frenetic dance we are urged into by the surrounding culture, the dance that makes a quiet, contemplative Advent harder and harder for me to achieve. But by January, some of my exhausted fog has started to life, despite my having had to spend all day December 26 lying on the couch to recover from the stress of it all.
The past two years, ever since the whispers of a terrible new virus started to sound in our ears, have pushed me down into myself. I started off thinking, "oh a few weeks, and we'll be back to regular life. It's a bit of a break -- look, the dolphins are returning to the canals, the birds are singing, and it's spring! This is fine. We can make it. Let's keep one another's spirits up." We chalked hearts and messages of hope on our driveways, put up "Thank you, Healthcare Workers!" signs in our windows, and checked on our neighbors. I offered some online storytelling sessions.
And it kept going.
and it got worse.
And this summer, we had a few weeks of what felt normal -- little league, eating in restaurants, gathering outdoors with friends. Church services at my church moved back indoors.
And then Delta. And now Omicron.
But you know all of this. We all know it. We have all been in it. More and more, though, I can see that it hasn't been the same experience for all of us. I get so confused, because I see crowds of people in bars and restaurants, unmasked, but we are back online for church, and many schools have gone back to distance learning.
And what is hardest, and most upsetting, and depressing, and anxiety-producing for me, is that I feel sure that until we learn to come together and be on the same side, we will continue to lose.
In the face of all of it, though, I feel like I can at least reach out a tentative finger towards writing, even if it's just once in a while. Just to poke a finger at the thread that connects my little paper cup to yours, and set it humming.
how are you?
Hi. That's me. I write, sometimes, about parenting, storytelling, and about living a life with stories.