Seeking Silver Linings

It seems like 2020 was the year of cancellations, bad news, and ugly media. Now, in 2021, I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t necessarily more of the same.

I mean, after all, there’s an “antidote” circulating now, right?

Forgive me if I sound naiive. I’m not. But with the arrival of vaccines, it just seems that we were destined to turn things around. That there was light at the end of the tunnel.

That there were things to start looking forward to again.

That was my thinking this year when I was putting significant dates into my calendar. One significant date was on January 17.

We’d purchased an “Intro to Kayaking” class for Christmas through REI for my daughter, and of course, I was going to go too. On January 17.

I wanted to learn how to kayak. I have visions of myself on the lake, maybe even at night, paddling along.

Unfortunately, like many things, the kayaking is now on hold. REI is sending us a refund because they cancelled the class.

So many things got cancelled in 2020, it was old news.

Photo by Jeffrey Czum on

Somehow in 2021, it seems like it shouldn’t be more of the same. Or should it? What has really changed?

Not a lot. The world is still in the grips of this thing, with all the accompanying panic and fear pandemic propaganda can bring. So now I’m seeking silver linings. And bargaining. And telling myself this too, shall pass.

But just promise me one thing. OK, maybe two.

One: you won’t exercise by yourself outside in the middle of nowhere…wearing a mask.

Two: you won’t drive your personal vehicle, with no one else inside, wearing a mask.

I promise you, wearing a mask during those two moments of isolation will not help you. And neither will carrying that teddy bear you got when you were 5 years old. Comforting, maybe. But it’s not a silver crucifix pointed at a vampire. Or kryptonite at Superman. Wearing a mask does not mean you won’t get sick.

A mask is just a mask.

And I’m disappointed. Again. No kayaking this month, and maybe not this year.

Oh well.

But at least I won’t have the moral dilemma of wearing a mask on the water to calm down the anxious ones or not wearing a mask, for my own comfort.

No choice needs to be made.

Someone else has made it for me.

Crossing my fingers for a better season…someday soon.

Consideration of those we love

In 2014, the family got in a vehicle and drove cross country. We picked up a flu bug from a budget hotel in Iowa. It was pretty bad. When we got to Massachusetts, some of us were unable to do anything but lie around in my uncle’s guestroom and sleep in between the nausea. 

We made hard decisions not to visit our elderly loved ones and our not-so-elderly loved ones. While we missed out on some face time, we felt better not to have shared that severe flu. Most of us were in decent health and it knocked us over. Can’t imagine what it would have done to my 90-something great aunt who I really wanted to see. My aunt is still living, fortunately, in part perhaps because she agreed with taking precautions at the time. We talked it over back then, and I don’t regret missing the visit. I prefer to be temporarily sad about missing a face-to-face visit than being sad for the rest of my life for being the one who might have killed her.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

As I was writing her a Christmas card today, it reminded me that consideration for others and caring for others’ well-being is not new. Hopefully more folks will understand this nowadays.

If anything sticks after this challenging year of closures and cancellations, I hope that considering how your own actions affect your loved ones endures. Viruses spread. So does foolishness.

I’m hopeful that knowledge, compassion, and reasonable action spreads just as vigorously. All it takes is a willingness to be aware of what you are doing and how your actions affect someone else. Peace

Prayer in the Park

Yesterday my spouse and I were taking a morning walk in our neighborhood. We have the luxury of a fairly long “greenbelt” of parkway through the area, with lots of trees and grass. It’s the best thing about the neighborhood, really. It has been a saving grace for when most things have been closed due to the COVID restrictions here in California. The latest restrictions have been a rollback of places and times available to the regular citizen as the infection rate has gone up in my state. The rollback has not been met with much joy by, well, anyone, here. The months of quarantine have been long.

While we were walking, we approached a sizeable group of younger men seated in chairs on the grass, facing another man. The men were a diverse group, different skin tones and ethnic backgrounds. They fanned out underneath a large shade tree.

It became clear that this was a Bible study or church group gathering. Each person was distanced from the other, and they were outdoors, with no tent. The sky was a beautiful crisp blue.

As we passed, the man at the front of the group led them in prayer.

I caught the tail end of his prayer, and raised my hand in respect, as I might do inside a brick and mortar church during services.

“…we pray, in Jesus’ name…Amen.”

Amen, brother.

I respect the intention of getting together with God, outside the building, if it is closed to you for services. Pray with a stubborn faith.

If you can’t get in to the church, take the church outside with you.

The sight of these men together in peaceful worship gave me joy.

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