On Easter Sunday, while cutting fruit for brunch, I remembered the fruit was intended to accompany our dinner. Our supply of produce was dwindling as we shop less often now. I quickly grabbed six ramekins and divided up the fruit for the three of us, enough for brunch and dinner. While I placed the dinner fruit cups in the refrigerator, it dawned on me that if this scenario had played out a couple of months earlier, Carl or I probably would have made a quick run to the corner store because we needed to have enough for both meals. When in reality, we had plenty.
On a Monday, March 23rd to be exact, I posted a photo on Instagram of a red tea kettle. I wrote of walking into the kitchen, pushing the power button to start my electric kettle only to see all the temperature control lights flashing in rapid motion, signaling its demise. My first inclination was to check Amazon to see how quickly a replacement could arrive, even with Prime, a delivery wouldn’t happen until the end of April. Carl checked our storage room and found two kettles from the past, one was truly worthy only of the trash but the other one was in perfect condition. It was a kettle I had enjoyed using until I imagine something flashier caught my eye. I also wrote about how I had the sneaking suspicion the time we were entering might reveal our shadow sides. I had gotten a view of mine. Two Sundays, separated by 5 weeks has been illuminating.
Has it been for you as well?
I’m not proud of my knee jerk response to what I sensed as a lack in my life, attempting to fill it with an Amazon delivery. I’m saddened by my blindness to the abundance within my hands’ reach and how easily I open my front door to obtain more. The tea kettle was broken but I had several options besides using a discarded one. There was boiling water in a pot upon my stove, heating a mug of water in my microwave or even running the tap until it was toasty hot. I have so very much when so many have so little. I have a storage room for my overflow. I see tiny movement towards contentment when I set these two Sundays apart and I pray the trend grows in spite of my privileged ways.
Many people have described this time in our world as a sabbath, a time to rest or a reset. I agree with each one. I also would add the word “fast”. We are fasting or taking a break from our usual way of moving about our days and world. Most fasts are by choice, but this one has been thrust upon everyone abruptly. There wasn’t a lot of preparation like last meals at favorite restaurants or one final movie theater outing. You know the important things when life or death is on the line. Had we known, how would we have conducted ourselves? I think we have an idea and it can be summed up by the words toilet and paper.
We are creatures who do not thrive on the unknown, the loss of control or the fear of scarcity. I am raising my hand as well.
If you have ever fasted from sugar, the first days can be brutal and mind consuming. But with time, the true sense of taste is restored or reset and a bite of a strawberry, a natural food, tastes like honey from heaven. Taking a break from artificial sweetness allows our taste buds to be satisfied by simplicity.
During Lent, I practiced decreasing my critical internal dialogue. I became aware of a tendency to complain in my mind as if rehearsing the evidence for a court case.
Whenever I found myself tempted to flip the switch of criticism, I would try to turn that reflex off by speaking a blessing aloud. I hope one day this won’t be just a practice but a fast to completion.
There are many things I am missing during this time of isolation. I am trying to rehearse the opposite whenever I am inclined to remember the former days.
I miss walking to the library during the week and seeing my favorite librarians and often a friend.
I am grateful for walks around my neighborhood and a house full of books, including library books I get to keep for much longer than anticipated.
I miss going to the movies.
I am grateful for having extra time to introduce our teen to our favorite movies he hasn’t seen.
I miss jumping in the car to go somewhere, anywhere, just because.
I am grateful for less money spent on gas, fewer miles on our cars and a break from traffic jams.
I miss not being concerned about my physical proximity to others.
I am grateful for a friend who shared her handmade masks and a daughter who shared her overflow to keep us safe.
What are you missing today?
How can you embrace the loss and fill it with gratitude?
May our satisfaction come not from the things we buy or possess.
May our hands open more to give than receive.
May this time of ceasing from life’s abundance of artificial sweeteners heighten our tastes for what is lasting and real.
May our contentment come from a deep place of hope and peace.