Elijah, our little boy who was a baby but yesterday, is getting ready to celebrate his third birthday on Sunday. In his two-year-old mind, it didn’t make any sense why the rest of us were all celebrating our birthdays during the summer and fall, and his turn simply would not come. Now at long last, his birthday is close enough to almost touch. He only has three more nights to sleep (as he counts his days) until his big day.
According to the venerable Old Farmer’s Almanac, spring will officially arrive exactly four weeks from today.
I gaze out the window of our little office, wondering what tidbits to share with you all. My mind turns to the letters and notes I received from those of you who kindly alerted me that, sadly, many Amish seem to be naive to the need to wear face masks throughout these pandemic-filled times.
“(Insert your deity of choice), grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Serenity, like all commodities in short supply, is much sought-after. Many people turn to meditation. Many people (guilty!) fail at this. Everyone who finds it difficult to turn their brain off, raise your hand. And then examine your fingers for dark spots that might be melanoma and then turn your hand over and look at the other side and then inspect your fingernails and think about whether you turned off the iron and think about if you turned off the coffee pot and then sniff to see if you smell something burning and then wonder if you paid the house insurance and if you called the stove repair guy and if you should have eaten that burrito that sat out on the countertop all night and wonders if you paid your medical insurance and if you did, will it cover self-induced ptomaine poisoning. This is how I’ve experienced meditation: it starts with attempting to calm your soul, moves past focusing on your hand and leads, inexorably, to a slow painful death in several uneasy steps. This is how it goes for failed meditators.
There is not much television watching going on around here. The news, of course, is just too awful to endure and has been for about four years. I assume if something really terrible happened like if China dropped a bomb on us or if there would be a pandemic that is killing hundreds of people a day and still there are jerks around who refuse to wear a mask because it’s their deity-given, unalienable, constitutional right to be an idiot, I’d know soon enough. No offense to any network bigwigs here, but television is mostly pretty bad. We have a bunch of reality shows because reality shows are cheap to produce. No one I know can figure out whose reality these shows are anyway. Maybe people who are taking a little hiatus from their medication.
As if we weren’t all depressed enough, what with a raging pandemic and isolation and repeated snowstorms and winter cold, it has occurred to me twice in the past nine days just how old I am. The first part of that double whammy came when I realized I qualified for a Covid vaccine. It seemed sort of a remote event when, after the health care workers, those eighty-five and older could get a shot. Then it was seventy-five. And then it was sixty-five and I joined the approximately nine million people logging onto various websites to find a location and a time slot. I did get my vaccine and aside from the protection, the vaccine offers, the process of getting it was pretty good entertainment. Ahead of me in line were two people of the female persuasion who were not happy at all about the procedure. The “dang computer” figured largely in their displeasure as in “I don’t got no dang computer and my great-niece had to log me into the internets to get this here shot.” Right up until that minute I could not imagine there was a person outside an isolated New Guinea tribe who knew less about running a computer than I do. And I need to know more. To my great annoyance, iTunes has disappeared off my laptop for the second time in nine months. My computer assures me those 580 songs are still on my phone but when I try to sync my phone to my computer, the computer threatens to remove all five hundred eighty songs from my phone so that its song list is identical to my computer song list, which is to say no songs at all. But at least they’d match. I am going to have to go back and throw myself at the mercy of the guru at the dang computer store but I think his wife is getting suspicious because I am spending more time with him than she is.
Well, folks, you’re not crazy yet.
As Valentines’ Day rounds the corner, my mind flips back 12 years ago, and how I got to know the man of my dreams.
Last night I was the recipient of the absolute kindness of the dear youth girls in our church. Really now, they all made a huge splash for us married ladies. For the past six months, they each had one of us married ladies as a secret sister, giving gifts every month or two.