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Pandemic - a Time to Rediscover a Blessing

Many of us are experiencing a cultural pause right now. Or perhaps it’s a hinge in time as a page is turning in our lives. What I refer to is “sheltering in place” orders in several states. This keeps us close to home, or perhaps allows walking in the park, if you are lucky enough to be near one. I missed a funeral this week because there would be too many people, so it was canceled. We do have a plethora of options for connections to friends and the world of entertainment. But just the knowledge that we cannot go to the movies, to the concert or to the party our friends were planning makes us feel different. I am enjoying this excuse for not doing a lot of things that would otherwise keep me more busy. It has helped slow down my life. None of these positive remarks are meant to ignore the genuine sacrifices people are making, those who go to work while taking greater risks than usual, nor to minimize the trouble of those who have lost jobs and income. Those facts are important. I’m thinking about something running parallel with these jolts. We have opportunity to live slower, with less buzzing around, most of us always going somewhere. I confess we have at times been those people who “run into town” for something we cannot wait to get later, even though it’s 25 miles to the store for us. Now, we have tried to go once a week, and stay home, visit with neighbors on the phone, walk the dog. And of course, we’re getting started on those spring cleanup jobs. Slowing down is a term we often apply to someone who is ill or aging. But there is quality to living slower. There are advantages to not being part of the “soccer mom” generation, where the family van is continually taking a son or daughter to the next event. Now we have time to think. Time to look out the window, look at the sky. Enjoy the gift of life. Take a longer time for prayer in the morning. Sit and feel the breeze. Arriving at my grandparents’ home with my parents once when I was about twelve years old, something happened that has stuck in my mind. I think it was someone’s birthday, and we were arriving when it was nearing dusk. Mom, Dad, and I went in and found Opa and Oma sitting in the living room without having turned on any lights yet. We could all see well enough. Conversations sprang up as usual. A few minutes later, uncle Albert and his family arrived. “What are you doin’ sitting in the dark?” he exclaimed as he walked in the door. It was as if we were doing something strange and silly. But we weren’t. We had not really noticed the slow decline of the light. Besides, Oma and Opa had grown up without electricity, and spent most of their adult lives without this “necessity.” They had always had lamps and candles, of course. But they were used to following the progress of the day’s light, and then accepting the quiet and comforting slower pace that arrived with evening’s diminished light. They weren’t silly. They were wise. That blessing, the slower pace, the time to sit and talk is something we often miss in our busy, contemporary life. Perhaps during this pandemic, some of us will rediscover that rich blessing, time to slow down and savor our days. © 2020 Stanley Hagemeyer

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