I have been reading the most amazing book. It is The Choice by Dr. Edith Eva Eger. She is a psychologist and survivor of Auschwitz. For part of the book she tells her story as a lead in to the things she has learned since and how our choices frame our lives. She begins with this statement: “It took me many decades to discover that I could come at my life with a different question. Not: Why did I live? But: What is mine to do with the life I have been given?”
This is a question that I have struggled with for a long time. At 80 years of age I am not sure that I have the answers yet but I have made progress. Over the years I have realized that most of my purpose is to do this as much as I am able to help others. There are so many who have never had a chance to experience understanding and acceptance which for me are part of loving. Being present for others in a real way is important to me. Covid has made this difficult and it has been hard on me not to be physically present.
I can’t think of anything more important than to be there…present, open and accepting when needed. I wish that everyone could see love and caring as an answer to so many issues infecting our lives. Spread love, hope, kindness and acceptance. It could change everything.
Yesterday I had the oddest thought. As people begin going out as they want, many without wearing masks, it will be us elderly and the sick who will stand out. We will become the stigmatized group. We will stand out like a sore thumb. I doubt that we will be able to feel the slightest bit safe until there is a vaccine and that will be quite a while coming.
There will be a point where we have to continue to live our lives and know that there is a risk. That has been true for those in war torn countries forever. Going out of the door in the morning does not guarantee that they will be safe. It’s just that we have never suffered that experience since the long past flu epidemic.
So if you see us out with our masks until next year and see us obsessively washing our hands and safe distancing from people please don’t see us as lepers. We are just trying to survive.
Another Doctor visit today. One more step forward. Each one gives me a good feeling. At least we are getting things out of the way.
It is so frustrating to stay here day after day. I know that it is the same for everyone. Those of us who are risk will have to be careful for a good while. I am glad to see that some things are able to open and people will have jobs. To be out of work with lots of bills is a terrible place to be. My heart goes out to them. There are things that we can do to help. I hope you can find ways where you live to show caring. It is the most important thing to respect and have compassion for others. If everyone could do that the world would be a much better place.
During this crisis we have seen examples of caring and examples of selfishness. I hope the caring wins out.
I keep a quote book and was looking through it today and found one that I am sure must have been on someone’s blog but I just love it.
If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito. The Dalai Lama
Not only is this very true but I love his sense of humor.
Each of us lives a life of importance. Even though we are quarantined and distancing we are needed. It seems that there is not much that we can do to help but that is not true.
Yesterday I ordered groceries from the store and they were delivered by a family…father, mother, two young girls. There were driving a nice car….not expensive but good. Obviously the parents work and no longer have jobs. So many people have been laid off or the place they work is closed. This may be their only way to make money. At least when I order groceries delivered I can give them a generous tip since it all goes to them.
The restaurants near us that are supplying take-out food are having their wait staff deliver it. We can pick it up but the delivery helps someone who has no income at this time. I am spending so much less than usual I can surely space some for those in need.
Admittedly it is small help but it is help. So many people are in dire straits and we have no idea of knowing how this will turn out. If you are one of the blessed and have an income, a place to live, food to eat and safety please do what you can to help those who don’t have anything.
Today I am sad. Sad that so many people are so frightened that they can think only of themselves. Fear can make you do terrible things. Rushing into the stores and taking all the things off the shelves that others need is a perfect example. That kind of thinking frightens me more than the virus.I hope that they begin to realize the selfishness of their thinking.
Each of us will need to tamp down our fear and help where we can. As a nurse, I worked for years where I was exposed to illnesses. I was stuck with a needle from a baby who was being tested for Hepatitis. I have cared for AIDS patients when there were no medicines and no cure. Good, really, good hand-washing and other needed steps helped me and others remain disease free.
There is a real threat but if we take the proper precautions we will lessen the risk. That doesn’t include hoarding all the toilet paper (why?) and hand sanitizer. It includes being a responsible and caring person.
Recently I have received two notes from people I saw often when working for the church. The notes were so affirming of my ministry when there. It was such a surprise and a joy. It touched me so to know that my time there meant something.
It reminded me of how important it is to affirm those who have meant something to us. It is so easy to make complaints when things go wrong but we forget to give thanks and praise when things go right.
It try to thank those I meet daily even if it is a small task…thanking a waiter/waitress or someone who works on our car. Thank you for doing a good job means so much to someone who has had people putting them down all the time.
Take the time to be appreciative. It can change someone’s day or their life.
In life, we often want to help someone who doesn’t want help. Sometimes they are right. Sometimes trying to help is the wrong thing to do. But sometimes they genuinely need help and there are many reasons why they might refuse.
Pride can frequently get in the way of accepting help. Many of us were raised to believe that taking help obligates us to return the favor to the person who helped. Over the time that I have lived I have become a big proponent of “paying it forward.” We don’t have to be beholding to the specific person but we are called to help someone else in the future. However,we should never feel obligated but take the opportunities when they present themselves..
I know for sure that I can get the bit between my teeth and be determined to finish something myself. I can push away anyone who really wants to lighten the load. I want to “do it myself” like a three year old.
When people turn us away from helping it is difficult to know when is the right time to push and when we should just back away. I really can’t guess myself. It is an individual determination. I wish I had some crystal ball but I don’t. I do know that there are times that I have had to back away or lose any chance to remain a friend or help later.
Today we went to the grocery story. It still amazes me how many people do not put the carts away. These are not people parked in the handicapped places but others. There are many cart return places and no one has to walk far to take a cart back.
This is just one of many small things that we can do to make things better for everyone. Possibly these are the same people who throw trash out of their car windows, leave trash on the beach and are unconcerned about who has to clean it all up.
Consideration is the name of the game. Nothing huge but small things that make life better. When you think of how long most of these small things take it is minute. I can see the worker coming out of the grocery store and looking around in disbelief as all the carts are in their proper place.
Our church makes up bags of goodies for homeless people. It has a variety of items in it…some food items, hygiene things (like toothbrush) and a $5.00 bill. I try to have one in my car at all times. Several places that I stop at a light there are people wanting a hand out of some sort. Every single person that I hand a bag to has said “thank you and God bless you.” I know the bags don’t solve the problem but even small things can make a difference.
If you can manage it keep something in your car to give to those in need. It doesn’t have to be as complex as what the church makes up but it will be received with gratitude. I have a friend that has some small food items she carries. For those who are hurting anything will help. Add a note with a kind thought to it. “God loves you, you are important, you matter.” Whatever you can come up with. Those notes do make a difference.
Today seemed lost. My friend’s husband ended up in the hospital and I spent the day sitting in halls, cafeteria, wherever waiting for answers. Because of the flu outbreak they are only letting one person in at a time. I found places to stay away from the sick, read, knit and watch things on my Kindle. It was a day for kind thoughts and waiting.
We arrived there about 10:30 and got some answers at 4:00 pm. He has a kidney infection and will be kept over night and assessed in the morning. I hope they send him home as the hospital is a source of infections.
So often I have struggled with what I am needed to do in my retirement but I think this day puts it in place. I am able to drop everything to be with a friend and that is something special. I am doing what is needed.
Sometimes it is hard to see what is right in front of us. We all want to do something that “counts.” Counts how? Something that everyone sees? That is not what is important. Important is answering a need. Important is being there. So no one knows this is how I spent my day. It doesn’t matter. I was there when needed.