Where are we going today? my two young daughters asked. I struggle to explain social distancing to my five year old. As the days stretch on, I yearn for a meaningful answer. One that they will understand. Can we at least go to school? The park? Can we play with the neighbors? My daughters wave through the window as neighbors walk by. So much about our lives has suddenly changed. It’s habit. We tend to define our days by what we have going on and where we are going. So, what happens when our nation and world must stay in place.
As we fight the battle against this pandemic and terrible disease, how do we define our days? Waiting even in the best of circumstances is difficult. As my husband heads out to work at the hospital the uncertainty rattles my nerves. I try to push those fears aside determined to find some meaning and purpose with our time at home. We take frequent walks to get out. The sunshine and crisp air give me hope. As I walk my thoughts drift to a trip I took years ago to Walden pond. I think of the small cabin and the waters shore.
Henry David Thoreau retreated to the woods to meditate and feel a greater closeness to nature. In Walden, Thoreau asks us to open our eyes to see the truths of life hidden by all of our daily business. He said “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
Those seemingly urgent matters and appointments I once had, have now been postponed or canceled making room for my thoughts. All this waiting has caused me to think deeply about what really matters. Waiting for the unknown takes a deep faith. As I have grown older, I have come to know that faith is more of an attitude. It’s actively hoping and believing in the things we cannot see and control. As I look within, I am determined to seek the good. When I look, I see it in the faces of all those who are helping. I see it in the small things too, like text messages, phone calls and prayers.
I want this time to be meaningful. What will I do and learn? What stories will I write with my life? Like Walden, my hope is that this time allows me to reflect on the things that really matter. So that when the waiting is over, I might live more fully with a renewed sense of gratitude, love and purpose.
Stay safe and take care of each other my friends!