This little poem by Karl Fuchs fell out of his book today:
The table is almost brimming with good eats;
We’re surrounded by family and friends; what a treat!
The feelings that fill us simply can’t be beat;
It’s Thanksgiving Day, and it all feels complete.
But other days, sometimes, things don’t seem so fine;
Those days are not polished and don’t seem to shine.
It’s then in our minds, we forget all the good,
And think of the things we would get, if we could.
On days when our thinking causes us dread,
If we could remember, it’s all in our head,
And not let our minds take our gratitude away,
Then we’d make every day like Thanksgiving Day.
Nope; it’s not November; it’s not even officially spring at this point. It IS an unprecedented time in our world history filled to the brim with ever-changing news, updates, instructions, guidelines, hand-washing, anxiety, cabin-fever, toilet-paper hoarding (why?), information overload, and so much more. In a word…overwhelming. But as dad and I sat together at the table this morning drinking coffee and talking about the book he’s “reading,” he quietly reminded me how his generation, and especially the one before him, “went off to war, fighting for the ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ we likely take for granted each day. Why can’t everyone just keep things in perspective now? This too, shall pass, Beth.” It was truly a beautiful moment of pure clarity…
Dad doesn’t understand COVID-19, or why he needs to incessantly wash his hands (when he “took a shower today, didn’t I?”), or what it means to medically self-isolate and be socially-distant in our home due to his high-risk status. He can’t remember why he’s even high risk. He doesn’t care about stocking up on pantry items so we have a meal each day, whether we have gas in the car, or why everyone is working remotely from home. Instead, dad focuses on the present because it’s all he knows in that moment. Sometimes he looks at me and clearly states, “I don’t know what I don’t know, but I’m good just not knowing. I don’t forget things; I just can’t remember them.” 🙂
Dad has structure each day mixed with relaxed freedom. He’s not afraid to be alone, even though he never is. He’s teaching me yet again how it’s okay to not be rushed, to stop and just be still a while. And without knowing it, he’s reminding me how everyday is a present, a gift of new beginnings in boundless hope and endless possibilities. It’s important not to allow my own mind to take away my gratitude. So in these uncertain times when anxiety and irrational thoughts begin to take hold, may we all remember to take those deep cleansing breaths, set our minds, and keep moving forward in kindness, grace, hope, and love, while finding ways to fill each day with thanks and giving…even if it’s just the middle of March. 🙂