Begin again…

When I click on “write” in the top left of my WordPress account, I get a dropdown of 10 or more posts that I began and either never finished, never posted, or thought I’d tweak later to publish. So much of writing like this is done in the moment, with feelings still raw, with thoughts still jumbled. Friends share their blogs and note how universal their feelings still are–what applied two or three years ago still applies now.

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The new year began yesterday with a flurry of memes about 2022 being “2020, too” and the like. I want desperately for this last half of the school year to be better, be different than the past two years have been.

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There were hopes that we’d see an improvement in COVID, which continues to rage virtually unchecked so that we could begin to focus on something else. Plans for NYE get-togethers were canceled out of an abundance of caution, just in case someone came who was positive (with or without symptoms…it doesn’t matter anymore) or unvaccinated and we might bring it home to those we love who can’t get sick. I’m still pretty angry about that, to be honest. The level of selfishness going around the past several years is unbelievable. It’s likely that because of continued rising infections, regardless of severity, there will be additional impact to what school looks like for a longer time than we thought and will bring additional arguments and pushback from those who think we can just go right back to what normal looked like in 2019.

There were hopes that with a new administration would come calmer heads, kinder words, and instead, we’re seeing more violence (now for things that are completely unrelated to political views), more nastiness, and more harsh words and actions stemming from everything from wearing/not wearing masks to backing out of a parking spot or stopping at a light. In the span of winter break, more than one person in my world has had altercations with others that began with unkindness seemingly out of the blue and ended in physical altercations. I can’t wrap my head around it. It’s as though everything we learned in kindergarten about hitting and biting other people has gone out the window.

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There were hopes that 2021 would leave quietly, and instead, it chose to leave and take 1000 homes in the Boulder area with it in a fire that leapt “football fields in seconds” over the span of several hours, leaving people without homes, lost pets, lost lives possible lost family members, and likely lost employment too once everything gets looked at. Friends who had moved from our area to that one did so on the assumption that fire wouldn’t be a thing to fear again once they moved. We watched from afar scenes we had seen before of lone trees and homes left standing while everything around them was completely obliterated leaving only the outline of a home.

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And then 2021 had to take one last dig, with Death coming for Betty White who was weeks away from turning 100 and whom we had promised to keep in bubble wrap after losing so many others. It’s reported that she died peacefully in her sleep, so that’s a comfort at least.

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But we have an opportunity to begin again, with 2022 bringing a small layer of fresh, white snow to our area, providing just enough for my dog to remember how to play in it, how to roll around in it, and how to avoid going potting in it with her cute antics. I went outside yesterday in the single-digit weather with her multiple times, praising whoever made my marshmallow coat and there was a silence and calm out there each time that hadn’t existed in the days prior.

It was as though Mother Nature was asking us to pause, breathe in deeply, and begin again as one would when calming a sobbing child.

So let’s begin again. Tomorrow begins the second half of our school year, the new beginning to a fresh calendar year, the freshness of a new quarterly planner whose pages are blank with the anticipation of what is to come.

A friend gives others words to think about during the course of the coming year. “Let what serves you take root, and what doesn’t take flight,” she says. This year the word that she came back to over and over for me was:

Patience

She said she wasn’t sure why she kept coming back to that word for me, but it was pretty insistent that it be my word.

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So this year, I am going to practice patience.

Patience with others as they learn and grow. Not everything needs to happen immediately even if someone else sees it as an emergency.

Patience with others as they navigate new constraints, new roles, and new opportunities.

Patience with the world around me. Everyone has a different word that was chosen for them and sometimes it’s a complicated relationship.

Patience with myself. Like the lotus, I cannot grow without having to deal with a little mud. I cannot fix all the things, be all the things to all the people all the time, or do all the things to ensure they get done.

It’s said that the universe continues to provide lessons in what we need to learn. And so I enter 2022 being offered lessons in patience and taking them with gratitude.

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