What’s missing

What do you miss the most?

That’s a question I’ve heard often in the last few weeks. As this pandemic paranoia continues to press us down with its overreaching heavy hand, we find ourselves waxing nostalgic over simple aspects of life we once managed to accomplish every day without thinking long and hard about it.

You know…things like hugging your family members, sitting closer than six feet apart to have a conversation with your best friend, climbing out of your car without a mask on to enter a business and noticing someone smiling at you, going to the barber shop/hair salon, sitting in a darkened movie theater catching the latest release, live in-person medical and dental check-ups, and attending worship services in person.

Months and months of restrictions that don’t seem to cease have made us weary and, in many cases, downright depressed. That’s the negative side of all of this. But I strive to don my rose-colored glasses and my Pollyanna attitude every day and attempt to find some positive aspects during this trying period.

I know it’s difficult to accentuate the positive, but I do find myself being grateful for the blessings we have. Papa and I are retired so we don’t have to worry about losing jobs or being exposed to the nasty virus at work.

Our children are all grown so we don’t have to stress over whether to send them to school or not and whether to home-school instead.

Our retirement income has remained steady and our home is mortgage-free so we aren’t agonizing over meeting necessary expenses each month.

Even though some of our family members live far from us, thanks to technology we can see and talk with them and that bolsters our spirits.

Our home is situated in the country on 2.5 acres of land in a fairly rural county so we don’t have to fret over living in heavily populated areas and being exposed to large crowds of people.

Our church broadcasts live worship services online and our pastor provides encouraging sessions on Facebook.

And again, thanks to video conferencing, I was able to lead a women’s Bible study online every week since the end of March.

So yes, I find I can be truly thankful for many aspects of life during this difficult time in our lives.

Still there are facets of life that I also truly do miss; one of those is visiting the public library. Papa and I are readers and we regularly spent time at the library perusing the rows upon rows of books available to borrow and usually come home with a tote bag full.

Prior to the pandemic, it wasn’t unusual for me to check out six or eight books at a time so I always had plenty of good reading material available. But alas, the library closed and remained closed during the lockdown edicts from our state governor.

Of course since Papa has a Kindle and I have an iPad with a Kindle app, we still had ample books available to read that way. But I’m old school. I like the feel of a bound book in my hand, paper pages to turn, and a pretty bookmark to mark my place when I close the book.

But there’s another reason I miss jaunts to the library to check out some books. I miss really good books. Well-written books that give me pause to think and use vocabulary that causes me to turn to my handy-dandy dictionary to make sure I understand what that word means.

And frankly, I find those kind of literary works lacking on kindle apps. Today’s fiction seems crude and too simplistic.  And sometimes it’s so poorly written, I can’t stand to continue reading (that’s when the English teacher in me comes out and I want to mark up the pages with my red pen!).

Unfortunately, for me there seems to be an abundance of not-so-great literature out there.

I remember when our kids were still in high school and were required to complete summer reading lists of classic literature and I would read the books compiled on the lists as well. Now that was some challenging reading, some intelligent writing to stimulate your brain and increase your vocabulary.

The writers of old were true wordsmiths, nothing like the drivel that appears today en masse either by traditional publishing companies or through self-publishing. Years ago there was a movement in education that was against what was called “dumbing down” curriculum. Unfortunately, the literary world seems to have fallen prey to dumbing down.

That’s why I can’t wait to get back to the library to find some better books to read. And I can’t express my thoughts in any better words than these written by Alexandre Dumas in his classic novel, The Count of Monte Cristo: “…never forget that until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these two words, – wait and hope.”

Waiting and hoping is what I’m doing as I anticipate a trip to the library once again.

Wait and hope. Solid, intelligent advice, I’d say. Perfect for this pandemic period. We must wait and hope.

“The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.” ~ Joseph Joubert

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Breaking out

I love my home, I truly do, but I’ve found the need to break out of it.

Our current house is the one abode I’ve actually lived in the longest time of my life. My family lived in two different houses when I was growing up, but the longest period of time I lived in one of those was from age seven to the time I went to college.

Papa and I have lived in several houses in different locations over our 40+ years of marriage but this structure situated on our country acreage is the place we now call home. And I’m most grateful for it. I’m content living here. This place gives me peace.

But…even I, a person who loves her home and doesn’t mind being at home, have grown weary of just that – being home.

Being socially and physically isolated and having to follow sheltering in place edicts that have been forced upon us by government officials determining it was to flatten the curve of the covid-19 pandemic, to protect us from widespread outbreaks, to eliminate overwhelming hospitals, etc. has been difficult to say the least.

We are a mobile society. We are accustomed to going where we please, when we want, and for how long we want. That’s one of our freedoms that perhaps we take for granted and have been duly reminded of during this time.

However, I’m not writing this to discuss the pros and cons of everything that has transpired in the last few months. You have your opinion and I have mine and let’s leave it at that. The real reason I’m expressing this is because basically, I’ve become antsy from staying at home for so much of the time.

Oh, I get out a bit. Of course, since we live in the country, I can go outside of my house for as long as I want and weather permits without meeting another soul. Also a friend and I go walking for exercise and sanity a few times a week in an area where we encounter only a couple people here and there.

Papa and I have ventured out for take-out food occasionally. And since our state governor finally opened up our county (even though we had very few covid cases, we were locked down until he moved us to a “green phase,”) we’ve stopped grocery store deliveries to our front porch and one of us, all masked up like a burglar, treks to the market.

We’ve also taken little jaunts in the car just around our neck of the woods along country roads, just driving for the sake of it and getting out of the house. All we encountered on those outings were other cars, some wildlife here and there, and scenery but not any interaction with other human beings, be they friend, family, or stranger.

We’ve Face-timed our grown kids, chatted on the phone, and I’ve led a Bible study via video conferencing for some ladies from my church, but both Papa and I have yearned to just get out and about, seeing different sights and people, taking a road trip, and simply traveling with a destination in mind, Those aspects are just some of the ways we’ve enjoyed retirement and now it’s something we truly miss doing.

So, covid-19 or no covid-19, we decided to change that, mostly because both Papa and I refuse to live our lives in fear. This week, I’m going to take you, my readers, along for a ride or two to spots we ventured to visit. No worries though, we practiced social distancing when it was necessary and yes, we cared enough about other folks that we wore a mask when we landed in public places.

We traveled to spend an entire weekend at our son and daughter-in-law’s home (several hours away and in the state next door). In fact, every member of our family, which included us, our grown kids and their spouses, and our three little grandchildren, gathered together for the weekend there, the first we’ve all been together since Christmas.

It proved to be a joyful reunion and watching our three little ones play together just made us so darn happy. What a world of good it did for us as we enjoyed fun and fellowship with our family, delicious food, and plenty of relaxation outside on son and daughter-in-law’s back yard patio.

It was just the prescription needed for Papa’s and my bit of melancholy over social isolating and to put aside any smidgen of fear that keeps permeating the news and air waves and threatening to engulf us.

Tomorrow, I’ll share our next little journey busting out of our sheltering in place “prison.”

“We generate fears while we sit. We overcome them by action.” — Dr. Henry Link

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com