About two weeks ago Lowi and I had a healthy, if not salty, laugh about the year thus far. It’s often a choice of laughing or crying most days.
I frequently forget that our year began with a beautiful and heart-warming wedding. It seems like all that laughter, love and the kind of joy that leaves your eyes brimming with tears most surely belonged to a year other than 2020. But it’s true, we watched our sweet, charming and vivacious Sydney and the ever-talented and adventurous Jake get married in January 2020.
That did happen in the year of a pandemic. There was a time when we gathered in a carefree manner, openly hugged, kissed, danced and enjoyed the best parts of being human and connected with others. It was, at times, magical.
This is what happens on occasion. Our brain tricks us into thinking it will always be like this and, worse yet, that somehow it has always been this way. But it’s not true. Fear and fatigue and fretting warp our sense of time and each other.
Our disconnection and disruption have us confused about who we are individually and collectively. But as I began to remember and reflect on the start of 2020 I am awakened to the truth once more. This has been a long and hard experience. And many have suffered unimaginable loss. And there has also been uncontainable excitement and deep peace in this year as well.
In early March, I accomplished a massive personal goal of completing 100 miles in a race.
All my other races have been canceled so I ran and walked 46 miles all the way into my 46th year– even during a pandemic. I have talked with my neighbors, who previously I have never even met, and deepened friendships because all that was left on the table was the ability to talk. I mean really talk.
I have, at times, worked harder than I ever have. And I have also enjoyed the solitude that comes from having an empty social calendar. I have appreciated even more than I ever thought possible the contentment and the healing that only nature can provide. I am blessed to live in a home where I am safe and secure, which has been even more comforting in these times.
I learned, experienced or accomplished all of this in the year of a pandemic. I found out that one of your best friends can, in fact, be your cat. I also discovered that a cat can bridge language barriers, age gaps and fill the void and the distance with warmth.
Being Here has been hard, really hard at times in 2020. I will also probably celebrate it as it leaves. But I will not let my mind, my trigger-happy cynicism trick me into believing that this year has been a wash or that we, as a people, are a lost cause.
It’s been, as my husband likes to call it, a character-builder. I have seen moments where my character stood up and times where I faltered. In these last 7-plus months we’ve seen more, experienced more and withstood more than maybe we ever imagined. And we are still here.
Two of my nieces have graduated this year, one from high school and one from physician assistant school. We didn’t get to celebrate them as they deserved and we are still here. We will get another chance. When we do, we won’t waste it. We won’t take it in stride. We’ll take it in fully. We will absorb it. We will hug a little longer. We will laugh a little harder. We will cry a little freer. We will lean in a little closer. We will give thanks with an intensity we never have before.
This has changed us. This will continue to change us. Other generations, I hope, will look back on this time as a reckoning of many things. This time has changed us. It has changed us in a way that, I pray, we will be recognized by our renewed grace, our bolstered faith and our clear focus. I hope that the future generations will be able to know us by our symbolic pandemic tattoo. The one we wear with our presence. The one we wear with our compassion. The one we wear with our shared humanity. We are still here.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G