This week I had one friend tell me that she was on a media fast. Another wanted to escape to an island. And yet another is keeping her head down and plowing forward. And so I started to wonder: how are you coping?
Together, we are all stuck in the challenging year of 2020. But one thing is certain: we Americans are made of stern stuff. We have spent about 90% of the year trying to cope with a pandemic that twists and turns and leaves us on uncertain ground. Our economy has suffered, and subsequently many have lost their livelihoods. On top of this, we have a political scene that is unsettling, and the bottom line is that many of us are not certain who to believe.
For me, I am longing for time to pass and to wake up in a country that is mask-free and practices unconditional regard for one another. But we all know that is not how it works. Time makes sure that we live through each minute of each day—that includes a root canal and watching a particularly beautiful sunset while sipping a perfectly balanced glass of viognier.
There is an old proverb: “Time heals.” I’m not certain I completely believe that. Time changes experiences, and believe me, I am ready to look at 2020 in the rear-view mirror. But what do we do in the meantime in the valley of uncertainty? How do we get through each day? Where do we find hope?
A lot has been written about this with concrete advice, and I cannot add anything original to that, but I can tell you where I found hope—and it was so unexpected …
I have talked about my church’s annual quilt-and-craft fair that raises funds for pediatric wheelchairs for needy children. As the fall approaches, our quilt group kicks into high gear as we prepare for the fair. The community has embraced this event, but this year there was no neighborhood event. There was no table with pastries, coffee, and lemonade for those who came by. There was no lively chatter as quilters and crafters mingled with neighbors, family, and friends. No one could touch and marvel at the small yellow wheelchair that would grow with a child who probably is spending her or his time on the ground.
What we did have was an online sale and a cranky woman who chairs this annual event—a woman who did not even realize she was mourning what “used to be.” That would be me, and it was a good thing that the few times our group did get together this year I was wearing a mask. One that hid what my daughter calls my “bitch face.” You can imagine what this sourpuss was thinking and feeling.
In this frame of mind, I was getting ready to leave the church property on Sunday. I was seriously thinking of resigning from the whole quilting-and-crafting ministry, when suddenly a memory popped into my brain. I saw the table laden with food. I saw the large quilts hanging in the breezeway, just waiting to keep someone warm on a cold night. I saw people touching and admiring them. I peeked into the sales room and saw tables laden with smaller items and crafts. The room sparkled with lights and was filled with color and beauty. And there were the people, laughing, oohing and aahing, and chattering away. Joy, color, and excitement crackled in the air. And in the middle was the yellow wheelchair: a symbol of hope for a better life, for getting off the ground, for joining in.
And that’s when I realized a small bud of hope was beginning to bloom in my heart. I could savor the past and look forward to the future while living each day in the valley of uncertainty with hope as my companion. In the meantime, the online craft fair is winding down. The website is beautiful, and soon we will be delivering purchased items and will chat with buyers from a masked distance.
It looks like we will be able to fund around sixteen wheelchairs this year. Last year it was thirty-six. And that’s okay because this is where we are now, and who knows what wonders the future will bring? Perhaps a hundred or even a thousand small yellow wheelchairs …