all of the selves we Have ever been
When my son was a preschooler and offended by someone’s remarks or behavior toward him he might say:
“And I’m not thankful for you!”
We connect with those we appreciate. The unappreciated are discarded from our memory banks. Forgotten. We stop seeing them.
And sometimes we forget to acknowledge those we do appreciate. We take them for granted, and they disappear from our lives. Hurt, they stop seeing us.
The natural consequence of isolation and social distancing is to become self-focused. After all, we’re the only ones around. As a result, some of our fellow travelers have fallen below the radar, forgotten and unacknowledged. Many of them are carrying the weight of the pandemic load: nurses’ aides, truck drivers, funeral home attendants, janitors, grocery store stockers, and even old friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Everyone everywhere is doing more with less. Most are doing more alone.
Last week during my daily walk, I stopped for a Fed Ex driver pulling his rig off of the adjacent four-lane highway. The trailer was as big as a building. The driver was trying to connect the rear end of the trailer with a tiny loading dock not much wider than the truck’s dashboard. Patiently and repeatedly, the driver moved the rig forward and backed it up. He seemed unperturbed by the traffic on the busy four-lane highway, the speeding cars, and the impatient pedestrians and bicyclists. The FedEx driver kept at it until it was delivery accomplished. As I waited for the path to clear, I thought that I would rather donate a kidney sans anesthesia than try to do what that driver had just done. Hey, truck driver! I am thankful for you.
And so I began paying more attention and realized how much hard work is done each day that, in some way, serves me and the quality of my life. I realized how many tasks need completion that I have no talent, skill, education, or temperament to perform. And I am thankful for all of those individuals who do the things I cannot.
Also, I have grown more attentive to the phone, the mail, the email, and the text messages. I am grateful for every routine contact that breaks the monotony of social isolation and forms a bridge in the social distance.
In early February, as this pandemic was becoming a reality, I got on the web at alloftheselves.com and started this blog. It was much like my children’s art projects: a chance to try something new, to experiment with new materials, to create something. But it was also a chance to connect with others during what would become a very lengthy period of isolation. My keyboard became a kind of magic wand granting me admission to other times, other lives, and other worlds. People started reading and commenting and sharing. Each day, my mind danced in conversation with people I know and many I have never met and yet feel I know.
Dear readers, this time with you has been the highlight of my pandemic experience.
I see you. And I am thankful for you!