The Best of Times?
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of time … we had everything before us, we had nothing before us …”
Has the infamous Charles Dickens quote ever seemed quite so appropriate as the past few months? The entire world has stood still. Not just one country or one continent, but a worldwide shutdown of the world “as we know it.”
Families stayed home together – Families torn apart by a forced “social distancing.”
Some struggled with an unknown illness and its aftermath – Others had weeks off of work, completing home projects and spent time with loved ones.
“I wouldn’t have wished this on anyone, but we really needed this time to slow down and revisit the way we live our lives” became a phrase heard over and over again.
It was true of our family. School stopped; extra-curricular activities ceased; all sense of obligation to leave the house completely disappeared. We stayed home, cleaned out closets, painted our garage, went fishing, went crabbing, and kayaked in the bayou behind our house. We ran out of things to do with our free time. We ate nearly every meal together on our back porch.
We asked our kids how they were handling the pandemic. Unanimously, they said the same: “I’m just glad to be home.”
It was the silver lining of the uncertainty – At least we’re home. At least we’re together. Our workplace shut down and then reopened as it became clear we were considered essential. The fragile economy caused us to pause and wonder what the year would look like financially.
We washed our hands multiple times a day, used sanitizer when out and about, and sometimes wore masks. We kept our distance from strangers, made sure to walk on the opposite side of the aisle in the grocery store from other people and didn’t touch anything we didn’t plan on putting in our buggy.
Stores ran out of certain items, making it sometimes impossible to complete our grocery list. But friends came over and brought us leftover boiled crawfish, extra crabs they caught and even some fish. We shared with neighbors and friends again. It felt like a time of togetherness, even when friends dropped off their items and stayed six feet away. Another friend dropped off fresh eggs and squash grown from her garden. Even in the midst of social distancing, it felt like we somehow connected to others in a way we were missing when everything felt 90 miles an hour.
The kids and I planted a melon patch in my mother in law’s boxed gardens. We found time to plant for her when our regularly scheduled spring would have never given us the free time to plant a melon patch.
There were moments of boredom. True boredom. The kind where you say “we’ve played a bunch of board games, did chores, played in the yard, so what else is there to do?”
We prayed for people sick with Covid-19 while thankful for the health of our family and loved ones. It felt surreal to see the numbers of people counted throughout the world with the disease and know it somehow passed us by, allowing us to enjoy our time together unhindered by a crippling sickness.
We have counted the past few months as our “best of times.” Maybe that doesn’t seem right in the face of a worldwide pandemic, but it’s what it has been for us. A time of togetherness, with everything we love before us. Namely, we relearned each other again. With no friends allowed in the house, we learned to entertain each other again. We came up with our own extracurricular around-the-house activities instead of running all over creation to drop individual kids off at their individual sport of choice for the season.
We’re leaving this time different.
We’ve dropped out of some things and vowed to do family time a little different. We had overfilled our proverbial plate without even realizing we had it so full that things were falling off and falling apart.
We’ve traded more for less, and it seems to be a good trade. POV