A week ago, two beloved friends came to visit.
The four of us met when all but one of us was in physical therapy school in Minnesota. Carl and I had been married three weeks before the program at Mayo began.
When we learned of the possibility of a visit during their travels, my whispered mantra was “calm your crazies!”
I have a tendency to shift into perfection mode when we have company. Perhaps it’s heightened now as busy schedules have caused us to not be as practiced as once upon a time. Somehow my desire to extend a welcome becomes a tangled knot of also wanting our home to resemble a magazine layout.
Calm your crazies.
My intention was to be present and not hurry. I wanted to bask in listening and speaking words and not be consumed by the funny little idiosyncrasies of our home. I didn’t want to become wrapped up in the imagined ways our home lacks and miss the plentifulness of the precious souls in front of me. I hoped to wave goodbye without regret for a wasted time of worry when I could have savored the time with dear friends.
Calm your crazies.
So we cleaned because why would you not.
Then we allowed our emotions to bubble over with excitement and anticipation.
We have been friends for almost 34 years, all of our marriages. They were our first couple, the ones we spent nearly every non-studying or working moment together with. We share the history of unwrapping the newness of marriage and babies.
Although none of us could land on the exact amount of time passed, we believe it has been over 20 years since we had been in each other’s presence.
We collectively look older, our joints not as pliable although our minds and mouths raced with stories and questions. It was as if we stepped into our own personal time machine for about 36 hours. We all had experienced the expanse of time marching us toward middle age, raising children to adulthood and dousings of joy and sorrow. The only difference in our conversations was the passage of time, not affection or affinity. Our time apart felt like a long pause before completing a thought, a soul connection without awkward silences only reassembling of lives.
They arrived when the fear of Coronavirus was just beginning to rise. It is a strange reality to know, but not know if contact could be dangerous. We risked the possibility and maybe it was unwise but there was hugging involved. There was plenty of handwashing as well. We sided with love mingled with wisdom.
If there is one truth or anchor Carl and I have built our married life on, it’s this:
When in doubt, love more.
When we have no idea what to do, we err on the side of loving.
It’s not about being heroic, it simply makes sense to us, because love is never wrong.
The reality has arrived regarding the magnitude of this pandemic. This is fragile and new territory for us to walk through together and apart.
I hope during these first days to have my movements originate from a place of love and extend my resources outward and not corral them. I want to replace the mantra of last week with several new ones.
I will pray and laugh and weep with those who weep.
I will find new ways to stay in contact with the people I love and value in my life.
I will list the people I have lost contact with and share my affection for each one of them.
I will stay informed and maintain my rhythms and routines.
I will read books and number my blessings each day.
I will extend myself grace when I watch Netflix too much or eat something purely for comfort.
I will use technology for good and take walks to witness spring’s arrival.
I will share my disappointment with those whose plans and lives have been turned upside down with the speed of an email or news crawl.
I will refrain from assigning blame and speak words of kindness even when it is a challenge.
I will view this time as more opportunity to lock eyes with the people in my home.
I will pull out the board games and give attention to neglected areas in my home.
I will check my spirits and not forget to reflect on those beyond my walls.
I will take regular breaks from social media and the news.
I will laugh every day.
I will pray.
Above all, I will calm my crazies.