She’s Walking Away After a Wonderful, Terrible Year

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Traffic is picking up again, drivers now routinely cutting me and others off as they hurry to get who knows where. 

I notice this on the way to drop my daughter at school, and think about it as I tell her I love her, wish her a good day, and watch her gather her things. We’re listening to Taylor Swift’s “The Story of Us,” but the melody falters as she walks away and has her temperature checked at the door. It disappears completely once she’s past the threshold. The Bluetooth connection between her phone and my car can’t penetrate the bricks or cover the distance that will separate us for a few hours. 

She wants to be here. I’ve enjoyed having her home. I let myself sit and miss her for a moment before driving away. 

It’s been a wonderful, terrible year. 

For 12 months we were all handed a sliver of sacred space – precious time that would have been sacrificed on the altar of busy-ness in pre-COVID times. 

Have you noticed? 

Did you soak it in? Savor anew the cadence and lilt of your loved ones’ voices? The changing, complex hues of the sky outside your window? The scrumptious taste of a simple meal, leisurely prepared at home? 

Did you rest? 

Or were you forever restless? 

Searching for something – anything – to fill expanses of empty time? 

Did long stretches with no plans create a stirring of low-grade anxiety in your belly?

Most of us experienced a mix of these things. 

But as life is gradually returning to ‘normal,’ I hope. 

And I pray.

That we’ll remember how it felt….

To stop rushing.

To be concerned about the health of our neighbors.

To consider long-neglected issues. 

To find creative ways to celebrate. 

To discover or reawaken interests. 

To need to think about others at every step of our day. 

To sit in silence, or to live in louder contemplation of who is truly important, and why. 

To raise our hearts and minds to God. 

Life is short so we force our way, “making the most of it.” 

But the greatest gift of the last year was clarity. 

Life isn’t about forcing anything. 

How many of us will apply the lesson? 

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