Jean E. Taddonio
I’m up extra early this a.m., keeping my ear plugs in…the ones I’ve grown accustomed to in the night as if today’s reality will stay away…maybe for a time it will. It’s been weeks since I’ve felt like writing, but today is the day my writing class usually happens and I’m missing it.
There is supposed to be an on-line program waiting for me…not sure if it’s in ‘real time or recorded…I’m resisting even the thought of it. I’m not young anymore. I like being with people where I can see and touch. Techy stuff doesn’t come easy for me, though I know it is the way the world runs these days. It can be quite wonderful, when I stop to think about it, not take it for granted… even using my computer now is pretty amazing. I like to hand-write too… Catholic- school- penmanship, Palmer Method. But I guess that’s even an art that is becoming obsolete. Now that makes me sad: the feel and the sight of ink swirling on paper forming words, an art being forgotten.
How many things we all take for granted. I’m glad I lived before computers and cell phones were ‘the thing’ and before my mother learned to drive a car…before men and space ships landed on the moon and a time when kids played games in the streets. When I was very little, I even remember gathering around a radio for entertainment and stories with my parents and little sister: “the shadow knows”. My brother and other sister hadn’t been born yet.
Many years later my widowed mom housed a college Chinese doctor who was working on his Public Health Master’s degree. (years later, he and his wife Jinjua, became American citizens) I was a hospice nurse at the time and our hearts had a lot in common…still do. I told him that he helped me not take things for granted. He asked, in his broken English, “Jeane, what mean ‘take for granted’. I really had to think about that one for a while. “Zili, we Americans have so much…plenty…and many times we don’t fully appreciate it. We think it’s a ‘given,‘ automatic, but it’s not. We ‘take it for granted’. You help me appreciate things more deeply, in a way I didn’t before. Everything is so new to you here. Thank-you.”
And so now it is, that me and almost everyone else in the world is learning not to take anything for granted. An invisible bug that wears a microscopic crown has invaded the world, making people sick and some of the most vulnerable are dying. It is truly a fearful and amazing time. Many of us are seeking and finding courage.
We Americans are being told to stay away from each other, remain at least six feet apart and keep gatherings to a maximum of ten people. Huggers are using teddy bears and animals to get their touch fixes unless, of course, we are blessed enough to have spouses and family in the same household. Many, right about now, are wondering if being together under one roof really is a blessing. I’m trying to be funny, but patience is being stretched for most of us and we are getting the opportunity to practice. Seriously, we wonder if anything will ever be the same in our lives after this. What will be the ‘new normal’.
Will there ever be a ‘normal’? And yet there are those of us who choose to believe that a new balance will be formed. Creativity will be enhanced, prayer and spiritual relationships deepened, God discovered, relationships not ‘taken for granted’ and the world will be richer for it…. and the world will be richer for it…Let us hope and pray. I’ll take my ear plugs out now. It’s time to fix breakfast.