“Finding Peace,” May 5, 2020


What do you do when you’ve done all you need or want to do? Before the coronavirus quarantine, I never asked myself that question.

My life was full. I wrote a column each week, as I still do, and traveled to speak in places around the country. When I wasn’t traveling, I hung out with my husband. I still do that, too. Nonstop, 24/7.

But we often went out to dinner or to the grocery store or appointments. We visited family and friends. He played in a band and I went to his gigs, taking our grandsons (ages 9 and 8) who think he’s a rock star.

Our kids often came to visit and we’d cook and laugh and eat as if there were no tomorrow.

Now? We keep in touch by FaceTime and phone. We read online to the older grandkids, laugh at videos of the little ones and e-visit with loved ones daily. Recently, my son-in-law left a pizza on our porch. My daughter dropped off plants for our patio. And my youngest brought his three babes to see us. We kept six feet apart. I never dreamed six feet could seem so far.

The only other faces we see are drivers who leave groceries at our door. We sit out most evenings watching the sunset. Neighbors go by walking their dogs and we wave from afar.

But no one comes in. And we don’t go out. It’s like solitary confinement. For two. Luckily, we like each other. Usually. And thankfully, our basic needs are met. But some days pass slowly and I have a lot of time to think.

I think about our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren. I wonder what the world will be like in years to come. I’ve been wondering about those things since I was a child and never find an answer.

Sometimes, to quiet my mind, I turn my thoughts into prayers. I’m not good at it, but I hope God hears me anyhow. Sooner or later, I go back to thinking.

Today, instead of thinking, I took a drive with my husband. Spring in California is hard to believe. Hills that were brown in summer, one spark away from bursting into flame, have turned bright green, lush with tall grass and speckled with wildflowers.

We stopped a while to watch a herd of deer grazing in a field thick with lupine and poppies.

I wish you could’ve seen it.

The green of the hills, the blue of the sky, the sound of the wind in the trees and most of all, the ease with which those deer went about their lives, filled me with a peace I’d not felt for days.

Nature takes a break in winter. Birds fly south. Bears hibernate. Plants and trees go dormant. In spring, it awakes, rested and ready to be truly alive.

Humans take vacations, but our minds keep working, even when there’s nothing to do.

My grandmother spent her last 20 years mostly alone. As a child, I loved to visit her. Every morning, we did chores. Picked beans. Fed chickens. Gathered flowers for the table. She taught me to read, play checkers, and crochet. And we took long walks on the mountain studying plants and birds and clouds.

Once, I asked her what she did all day when I wasn’t there.

“The same things,” she said, “except checkers. It’s not much fun to play checkers alone. I go for walks most days. If it rains, I sit on the porch. If I stay inside, I think too much. Nature always seems to soothe my soul.”

Some of us spend our lives inside self-imposed walls, keeping busy when there’s nothing to do, thinking about questions that have no answers.

If we learn nothing else from this quarantine, maybe it can teach us how to rest, how to be alone with ourselves and each other in the real world — not a world of TVs and computers and pointless thoughts, but one of green hills, blue skies and hope.

And we will awake, like Nature at the end of a long winter, rested and ready to be truly alive.

Comments

  1. Steve says:

    Another thing that may help, Sharon, is getting out with Hubby and doing your own grocery shopping, as we do, WITH MASKS :-). And my Wife & I are a lot older than y’all, me 70, my Wife 68, but we get out every other day and POWERWALK on our waterfront 4 miles, so feel fit enough to face the world:-). No one is going to pick out out produce and meat for us, LOL

  2. Glenda S Bryan says:

    I and my husband and many people in this community miss your weekly column in the Abilene Reporter News. Such a shame, we looked forward to reading it every Sunday. This morning I thought I am going to see if I can find Sharon, and I did. Wonderful! So enjoyed reading your Blog! We are sheltering in place I am looking forward to being able to get a haircut, hopefully Friday. I did go out yesterday, but wore a mask and gloves, we were out of milk!

  3. Janet Mann says:

    Excellent! Sometimes I think you read my mind. My husband passed away last Sept and aloneness has become a way of life for me, except my family visited me often. Lonely isn’t too bad when you have Jesus Christ in your life and you know He is always listening to you when you talk out loud or silently to him. I talk to my dog too, and she cocks and ear and acts like she is listening. Keep up the good work and the faith. This too shall pass. Love in Christ, Janet

  4. Robert Steward says:

    Hi Sharon,
    If you like to study clouds, have you heard of the cloudappreciationsociety.org? It is a organization based in England. My wife bought me a membership quite a number of years ago. I was number 11108 and now they are up pushing 5000. I think you can look it over without joining. It is very interesting the things they do. They have a cloud of the4 month. I still enjoy your column a lot. I wrote to you about your other brother. If you get a chance look it over. Happy cloud watching.

  5. Kate Sciacca says:

    My mantra of late… particularly at the grocers or drugstore is simple… “please”… I say to the guy behind me in line who has only a couple items or maybe a basketful… “go on ahead of me…. cause I’ve got no place to go and all day to get there!” It usually brings a smile and a “thanks, neither do I!” This too, shall pass 🙂

  6. Shirley Thacker says:

    We are in the off season according to Dr Phil. We need to be busy keeping physically, emotionally, spiritually strong so we will be ready when this is over. . . When the game of life resumes. I know that, but some days I sit!

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