Lessons Learned by Kathy Thomas

My back porch sits forlornly empty for yet another year.  Here we are: the middle of June, and that porch should be filled with the laughter and fellowship of Spirit Sisters.  The hammock sways listlessly and empty in the breeze.

Over this past year and beyond, we have continued to faithfully meet as Spirit Sisters, if only virtually.  What does this say about our little group?  Maybe it says that we are a circle of like-minded Christian women, called to be together to give each other strength in a time of need, and share wisdom and support.  “Where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, I am there.”

So, what, if anything, have we collectively learned over this challenging and sometimes frightening time?

These past 2 years have been filled with lessons learned and much soul searching.

Many of us have found an inner strength that we did not know existed.  We learned just how capable and resourceful we really are. We were able to carry on and be strong for our families and loved ones. For everything in our lives that mattered, we carried on.  We realized just how much we loved and missed our families.

We have a new appreciation for just how very fragile and unprepared we were for a pandemic, because we are living in a country where this just never happens. We now have an inkling of what it must be like to live in a country where disease runs rampant on a daily basis.

Another lesson learned is that we must be vigilant and proactive from now on, and not assume anything. Tomorrow is guaranteed to no one. The pandemic has taught us to focus on the present and embrace every day. It will help us to face the future.

These difficult times have given us the opportunity to truly appreciate those wonderful front line workers who so bravely did their jobs, while so many of us were living in fear. It seems that we have become a little more dependent on each other: not necessarily a bad thing. We are all facing an unseen force that is non-denominational and faceless.

We have also learned that we all need human interactions to help soften the anxiety that comes from feeling suddenly alone when distance separates us from those we love. French novelist, Marcel Proust has said, “Let us be grateful for those who have made us happy. They are charming gardeners who have made our souls blossom.”

We have learned that we really can do with far less than we think. We have learned how to slow down and be mindful of what surrounds us. Reducing all our busyness can remove clutter from our lives, make us more focused and gives us time for reflection and weighing our priorities. We have realized what really matters and that we can let go of that which does not. We have adapted, grieved for what we have lost, and built our resilience. The things that really matter in life cannot be bought.

We have realized that, strangely enough, there have been some silver linings in all of this. We have learned to accept help from others, give help as we are able, found out who our friends are, and that human kindness can come in many ways. A stranger will make a mask for you and leave it in your mailbox. Many of us have rediscovered the joy of cooking, long, slow walks, board games with our family, how to be teachers and home school children or grandchildren, and that many jobs can be done from home. Has anyone noticed how blue the sky was when there was less air traffic?

Remembering what Linda said about caterpillars and butterflies: a season of isolation is when a butterfly gets its wings. We need to remember that the next time we are feeling lonely.

So, here we are, waiting to be set free, and spread our own wings in the summer sun.

 

HERE COMES THE SUN!

An old song with a new meaning for us in these times. With the coming of summer, may the light and beauty of this gentle season, truly be a new beginning, to lead us out of the darkness and anguish that has permeated our lives for so long. No matter who we are, we are all free to look upwards and behold the dark sacredness of a summer night and quietly be in awe of the mysteries of the stars and fireflies. 

Breathe deeply of the heady fragrances of newly opened roses and the spicy scent of honeysuckle at the beginning of a June twilight.

May our homes once again become havens of peace and contentment, and may summer refresh and restore the weary places within us.

Life is getting better. We are almost there, sisters, so close, so very close.

 

God of hope, God of grace, Your love is unchanging.

You are there for us, even when we don’t realize it.

Wherever we are, You are there, and where You are: all is well.