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Every Saturday morning I enjoy reading the On Being newsletter called On Pause which never ceases to send me thinking in some new, positive direction. Today's post asked the open-ended question, reflecting on this time of pandemic,
What are the joys I've "hoarded" and protected these past two years?
What an uplifting reflection this was for me! Here's where I landed - and I am sure the list isn't complete, how wonderful is that?
- cozy, kind, nourishing, loving connection and time with my husband, Tony; we have really prioritized this, in many ways, including walks, talks, dinners, even our evenings on the couch just binging shows together
- having a minimum of two days a week when I can completely lose myself in the magical playful world of young children, thanks to babysitting my sweet granddaughters "Frog" (age 3) and "Bird" (age 1)
- my sons, always my sons; being more intentional about regular connection during this time...at least weekly ... how incredibly special it has been to have my sons and the in-laws all living close by, which meant we were able to form a 'pod' very early on in the pandemic, and this has led to many beautiful 'whole family' times - two sets of grandparents, the granddaughters, their parents, four uncles, a fiance - sharing holidays, birthdays, special events...this has been so, so dear
- my girlfriends! long rambling phone conversations with my high school buddy and my college buddy, both of whom live far away, but we seemed to find a way to get closer during this time; same is true for others...I think I have been hoarding these friendships, hahaha - my local buddy and I doing weekly runs in the woods, another dear friend who meets me for long walks and talks, my sweet bookgroup, just four of us - we managed to "zoom" through the hard pandemic months, eat outdoors lots, and we've read and discussed so many great books together...we made it work...
- dear couples in our lives...meeting one at the playground with our grandchildren together, another for hikes every now and again, still others for special lunches or dinners...I have truly been blessed by these friendships
- my gratitude circle - only one of whom I actually know/have met - how close we've become through the years, but how important this has been to me these past couple of years, to share our gratitudes via email on a regular basis, to have a window into each other's lives, and to support and care for one another
- all my own siblings and my husband's siblings - sadly, grief and loss brought us together too many times these past two years...we grieved the death of my Dad, my sister-in-law's Mom, Tony's brother, my uncle/godfather, Tony's sister just recently...it's been a lot of sorrow, but I have really loved how we siblings held each other up, sharing honestly and openly our memories, our love - and we connect with one another regularly through phone calls and some visits, knowing how important it is, treasuring our time together
- my church community - what a joy to have this to lean on, to depend on, every single Sunday, whether a zoom service or in person, the ministers offer love, hope, support, inspiration, prayer, guidance, open arms, welcome to all
- my neighbors/my neighborhood, the friendly, welcoming vibe, the looking out and caring for one another
- being quiet, alone, developing my spiritual practice, making time for contemplation - I have been very intentional about this, able to grow, pray, and reflect deeply, making this intentional each day; much of this is done through my daily personal writing/journaling, but also through books and podcasts, reading and listening to understand, hope, grow; plus, I have a dear 'friendship circle' of women from church that I connect with, too.
- my online writing communities (again, there seems to be a theme of me hoarding 'connections'!), how I have loved the Two Writing Teachers slicing and my poetry writing with EthicalELA, how I have enjoyed reading and commenting on writing of others, and hearing from them about mine, how I feel I have made real friends through this practice
- NATURE - I had to capitalize this because it may be listed last, but it is not last; I seek it out all the time - through gardening, time with kids, walking, hiking, running...how the natural world has supported me through this time, oh my! It is a blessing to live in the Washington, DC area, where there are innumerable parks to explore....
I feel that I must have missed something...which is kind of a joyous thing, in and of itself!
What joys have you protected these past two years?