What are unexpected wonderfuls? They are the balast for our lives these days. They are like lightning bugs to a child. Little surprises. New anchoring weights.
Balance is missing if all we do is focus on avoiding the news or dwelling on it these days. I’m a writer and my mind, like many others, retreated and refused to allow me to write for much of this first quarantine month. Unexpected? Yes. Wonderful. No.
I felt guilty not writing.
“It’s been a tough couple of weeks,” one friend wrote. “This last one has been especially rough.” Nothing wonderful in that. Nor unexpected. I wanted to reach through my phone and hug her.
Not everyone’s a hugger, but I am. I miss hugs from friends.
My neighbor spoke of her feelings at a funeral recently as we conversed from opposite sides of the road. In normal times, we hug each other after the funeral, she said. That’s what we do when there are no words. Only not this time. Not for a while. Not now.
I wanted to hug her, too.
Everything strange provides a lesson. If nothing else, we see what we’ve long taken for granted. Sometimes, we discover unexpected wonderfuls in this strange new season.
So instead of wallowing in what I miss and can’t experience, I’m making a list of the unexpected wonderfuls I’m experiencing.
I’m making a list
checking it twice
oops! wrong season.
Getting unexpected attention
The first one: adjusting to so many people being overtly concerned about me. It’s a little strange getting so much extra attention suddenly.
Although I feel I’m still in my late forties, I crossed over. You know? The big 65. It’s a number like any other to me, but so many people attach significance to it. They even make special shopping times for me and others my age. Of course, we have to get up at 6 a.m. to go shopping at 7, the time reserved for seniors these days in my neighborhood.
Geez, I’m having almost as much difficulty accepting this senior status as staying at home and avoiding others.
I had extra forms to fill out at the doctor’s office this year (pre-virus days).
I sat somewhere I didn’t think I’d sit for another twenty years: outside a Medicare office window.
Somehow my husband and I moved into a land of the unknown: senior citizen territory. It’s not like we didn’t see it coming. We just didn’t anticipate this much fussing over us. We didn’t know it’d lead us to an unexpected wonderful.
One of the unexpected wonderfuls on my list is meeting 17-year-old Cheyenne. Her grandma lives on my street. Being new to the neighborhood, I introduced myself to grandma Laurie last month on my morning walk.
Recently, a truck delivered a load of rocks for a rock river landscape feature we decided to create in our front yard. Yesterday, Laurie stopped by to say her 17-year-old granddaughter had her work hours cut and wondered if we’d like some help with our rock pile. She told us her deaf granddaughter, Cheyenne, worried that “the old people” were moving the rocks.
It took a moment to realize who her granddaughter was calling “old people” and another moment to digest it. Of course, we said yes. She knocked on our door at 8:00 the next morning.
We moved through that 4-ton pile of rocks with Cheyenne’s joyful help. She reminded me of some ASL (American sign language) signs I’d forgotten while we spoke. While helping us, she bolstered her new car fund and smiled each time we accepted her suggestions about the shape of the “river.” A joyful win-win.
Let’s see. What else? My watch battery died. My back-up watch battery is dead. I’m living without a watch and learning to check my phone for the time, when I have my phone. When I don’t, I’m enjoying the freedom of not knowing the exact time and being okay with that.
If you have a list of things you’re missing during these days of isolation due to Covid19, I invite you to join me in creating a separate list of unexpected wonderfuls. Here’s the start of mine.
A list of Unexpected Wonderfuls
Getting extra attention
Getting exclusive shopping hours
Finishing the rock river. Without an aching back.
Planning and planting a new garden by a river bed.
Finding joy in the waiting of seeds to grow.
Noticing what I want can wait.
Rediscovering the importance of routine
Daily prayers with others
Sharing my garden with neighbors and family
Discovering the Marco Polo app
Embracing senior status from at least six feet
Letting go and relaxing
Finding the rhythm of the day without a watch
Drive-through Holy Communion
A new understanding of historical plagues
Discovering my favorite monastery’s live videos
Share your unexpected wonderfuls.
What joys, what unexpected wonderfuls are you discovering these days? Please share a comment below.
Our brains jump around, discombobulated with the exhaustion created by social distancing. I’ve learned taking a rest revives my body, restores my desire to write. Duh! I knew that.
We know a lot. Our brains are overworked helping us remember. Refresh yourself with a shortlist like this.
What’s on your list of unexpected wonderfuls? Have you done a random act of kindness lately? What restores your soul?
Check out more reading here. And stay tuned for Part 2.