I was encouraged this morning reading Madeleine Albright’s Op-Ed piece in the Times, Resilience in the Face of Disaster, particularly Bill Clinton’s quote, “the quiet miracle of a normal life.”
The more routinely I go about the day’s tasks, the more normal I feel in the face of the extraordinary crisis we’re all living through. I shared today’s agenda with my action partner to whom I speak once a week. I mentioned watching a YouTube video on how to disinfect my darkening bathtub mat, and one this morning on how to clean your computer keyboard. (Did you know that there is a tool called a keycap puller? A paper clip and chopstick substitute nicely, thank you.)
“You’re cleaning it up,” she reflected. “Figuring it out, and then tackling it right away.”
That was true not only of household tasks, but also of a relationship that got messy in the afternoon. I won’t elaborate on the squirmy feelings that I had around a request I received, but that I immediately called trusted friends for their suggestions on how to handle the uncomfortable emotions it stirred up. Poof, I responded to the troublesome email and moved on. I knew I needed help, got it, took action, and moved on.
Because it rained unceasingly yesterday, my one hour of outdoor time didn’t happen. Instead, I decided to opt in for the 3-month free trial on whatever iTunes is now calling itself, downloaded my favorite show tunes from Sound of Music, Oklahoma, My Fair Lady and West Side Story and spent 1/2 hour dancing and singing in my apartment. I kept my cellphone on me so I’d get credit for the steps. My body felt sweaty and great afterwards, and then the sun came out.
My action partner made an observation that felt wise and generous. “When you hit a wall, you turn. You find other options, and you take them. God is in the turn.” I believe that my spirit is God-given and that my deep faith is being drawn on more now than ever before.
Ms. Albright refers to herself as an “optimist who worries”. I’m more avoidant than she is. I’m staying calm and carrying on without dwelling on the news, only the essentials I need to know to stay safe, healthy and supportive of the increasingly strict guidelines.
In many ways, I’m having a very good time. I’m more connected to friends and family than I’ve ever been thanks to zoom. Two to three times a day I’m in intimate conversations – over lunch, tea time or happy hour – with those I hold close. I’ve started another sewing project, tried new recipes, and watched more Netflix this month than the previous year. I’m okay.
If any of you need a wand to give yourself permission to be thriving in the midst of this pandemic, consider it waved. Good citizens are taking care of themselves, helping out as possible, and maintaining codes of conduct that will help us to the other side, which will arrive. It always has.