Postcards From You
How some of you are coping with 2+ years of COVID restrictions and other stresses
“How Are You Doing?” was the title of my Postcard on June 3. I invited your thoughts on how you’ve managed during the past two years of COVID restrictions along with all the other things that demand our attention now.
I asked, “What revives your spirit during stressful times?”
I’m honored to share here eight readers’ responses. I’ve chosen to leave off their names, and I’ve arranged them in the order I received them. Each heading is above a different reader’s response.
What am I doing? I took piano lessons for 11 years as a child, and ended up playing quite well. Recently, at age 84, I came across piano music from one of my daughter’s lessons at about second grade level, and started playing a bit again (when my husband is absent). It’s been a bit of a challenge, but, at the same time, fun. I’m happy to have this choice to make.
In my family only my daughter, my husband and I have NOT had COVID. Other members in other states are doing okay, as all cases were mild and all are vaxxed and boosted. But their work and school were interrupted for months.
The war in Ukraine, gun violence, racism, the curtailing of personal rights, the behavior of the Republican party, etc., have taken their toll on our retirement years. But we are grateful to be able to live in safety and comfort.
We volunteer for the local Democratic Party and we donate to the campaigns of the brave candidates who are running to defeat their Republican opponents. It may be a simple solution but VOTING BLUE seems to be the one solution that will have a positive effect.
Remaining social has been tricky for the last few years for everyone. Our family managed to see each other every week by using our outdoor spaces, especially the porches.
I’m doing well! I still wear a mask in crowded places even though I’m vaxxed and boosted. I’m doing what I can and then I let it go. I have conversations and generally attend activities in small groups outside. I’ve just adapted to the new normal.
I’ve gained some weight and am now taking appropriate steps to resolve. There are so many other things happening in the world that keep me focused. I’m enjoying my home.
The pandemic that kept us isolated from friends and family for many long months also made me appreciate just being more quiet and at home, without so much of the busyness that usually had us going out several nights a week.
We have been fortunate (so far) to not have been directly affected by the virus though it is still a threat as seemingly more folks are getting sick even with the vaccinations and being boosted. Today I celebrate 103 years of the women’s right to vote by going to the Democratic breakfast and becoming more involved with hopefully holding on to what we have.
I managed not to get COVID for the past two years, and wore that fact like a badge of honor. I paid attention to science. I followed the rules and was rewarded. Then a few days ago, I got it. I let my guard down, and this viciously, aggressively contagious variant broke through my mask and got me. It hasn’t been pretty.
What do I do now? All of this comes at a bad time both universally and personally. So after a dark day I did what I do: I started to make plans. I am looking into different kinds of spiritual cleansing because the negativity around us all is threatening to overwhelm me.
Gardening brings me joy so I invested in a raised planter that fits in my small yard. Hiking brings me peace, so I’m going to try to get up early and hike with my dogs a couple times a week. I’ll see friends only in small, spaced groups outdoors; my most meaningful connections are with just a friend or two anyway. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow.
I will try to spend less time doing mind-numbing activities and make more purposeful choices in how I spend my time, whether playing or working, to do what I can to help turn this world into a kinder, more generous and loving place for every living creature.
Every Sunday since COVID began, my calendar has said, “Zoom With The Grands”. I taught my three 6 and 7 year-old granddaughters some word games we play. Though we’re in three distant locations, we are much closer now emotionally and psychologically.
Personally after these past 3-4 years, I feel the need to be a kinder person and to consciously be aware of my words. It seems to me I’ve awakened from floating through life unaware of my privilege; I have an obligation to others who didn’t have my opportunities.
I’m aware now of our “Profits Over People” economic climate, and of my responsibility to help prevent the demise of democracy and to act for my community. I joined the NAACP and go to Moral Mondays. I’ve met fascinating new people on the Political Action Committee. I’m active in Democratic politics.
To nourish my soul, I absorb the extensive talents of the Brevard Music Center community. I end most days with live music. Within minutes my soul is softened, my toe is tapping and my face can’t erase its smile.
When I put my head on my pillow I review the day and know that I mentally and emotionally needed those hours of music. Today I did something specific to promote democracy. And a person smiled because of something I said or did.
We have just been traveling and celebrating with our children and their families as each of our grandchildren graduated from their individual schools. We had a college, a high school, an elementary and a kindergarten graduation celebration with all the accompanying hoopla.
COVID experiences, topped by an unrelated crisis with my own health, have helped us appreciate what we find most important: our faith in God and his grace, our family, our home, our community, near and farther out. So, I was not going to miss milestone occasions for those closest to me.
I bounce back and forth between despair and optimism, but I remain determined to do my best to make life better for those in my corner of the world. I have returned to church but remain cautious and careful in public settings, though I dared to attend the graduations. We have a number of friends and family members who have been very ill recently despite being vaccinated and boosted, so we both are very wary of normal - whatever that is.
I wish that the seasons of pandemic and division were over.
I’m grateful to these eight women for their generosity in describing how events of recent years have affected them and their families. I know that many of you, their readers, will recognize as your own their conscious search for ways to strengthen body and spirit.
I believe that our patience with today’s demands isn’t wasted time. We can respond with creativity and care for personal well-being. We look for ways to hearten others and to support our community.
Not one of these writers has given in or given up. Not one is alone. Please share their (and your own) stories with anyone in need of encouragement.
Thank you, writers and readers. We’re a team.