We take everything one day at a time these days. I’ve heard that as advice a lot over the years (and mostly ignored it), but now it’s all but impossible to do anything else. It’s strange to see our normally bustling calendar stripped bare of notations, just the date in each square. We’ve been listening to the Frozen 2 soundtrack in our house and one of the songs, titled “The Next Right Thing” has a resonance it’s impossible to miss right now:
Take a step, step again
It is all that I can do
The next right thing.
In a moment I’ve been dreading since the news broke about the Life Care home in Seattle back in February and I more fully began to understand what we were dealing with, my grandfather passed away last week, Covid-19 the most likely cause of death. The staff at his nursing home took great care of him and for him and I am grateful for them and their good work. We grieve our private loss, but I know we are also grieving in a community that extends from Italy to Spain to China, across the United States, around the entire world as the virus grimly marches forward. Friends have lost family members or had relatives seriously ill. Others are laid off or furloughed and worried. Still others are parted from living loved ones that they desperately miss. So many unique losses for so many people, so much collective sadness. I haven’t decorated the plain wreath I hung on our door at the start of Lent or put up flowers to replace the bare branches in my vases. No matter what the church calendar may say, the light has not burst forth yet in this season.
And with the dawn, what comes then?
When it’s clear that everything will never be the same again…
Yesterday morning, when Arthur got ready to leave for work, the car refused to start. This was not a total surprise as we knew the battery’s getting old and we’re trying not to do too much with it since we know we’re going to most likely be buying a new vehicle in the fall. With no time to try to jump it right then, we hustled everyone into the other car and I drove Arthur to work.
It was the most novel, lovely thing, just going out and driving an essential 30-minute round-trip.
The route to Arthur’s work is fairly scenic, which helps. There was a heron wading in the marsh and the sun shining across the waters. After weeks of not leaving the house for days at a time other than work and picking up groceries every once in a while, though, it was such a strange, pleasant feeling to drive further than my extremely short commute.
It’s funny how these little events that I barely would have noticed in The Time Before are taking on such significance now. Sitting on the porch swing as the weather gets nicer has become a welcome break from indoors. Having a conversation with a neighbor across the yard and safely socially-distant is wonderful. We watch the birds at our feeders, mostly goldfinches now. There are also some events that never would have happened in The Time Before: we got to watch our local Air Force wing take the fighter planes for a flyover to salute the hospitals and all the healthcare workers.
We are – like so many others – okay and also not okay.
We stay home. Go to essential jobs. So far, all healthy. Wait.
But break it down to this next breath
This next step
This next choice is one that I can make…
The next right thing.