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