What’s on my mind this August 31st morning? As disastrous events continue to unfold around the world, I try to wash my mind of a sense of impending doom and rather focus on the goodness and love of people around the world. I am thankful for my faith in a loving, caring God who is my rock and, with my wife’s support, I am hopeful for the future. Faith and prayer are my shield against always circling fear and hopelessness.
Psalm 4: 7 Many say, “May we see better times! LORD, show us the light of your face!” 8 But you have given my heart more joy than they have when grain and wine abound. 9 In peace I will lie down and fall asleep, for you alone, LORD, make me secure.
Occasionally I run across an article that sparks meaningful thoughts in my mind. After a year of social distancing (actually self-imposed isolation), my wife and I begin the latter part of our lives, our eighties, amidst worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, family and friends illnesses and deaths, economic turmoil, and civil unrest. It would be so easy for me to just fade back into the woodwork, waiting for some change that may not come, and die a slow death of mental dullness watching TV movies. But that is not me or my wife! Creativity has always been a big part of our lives in many varied ways.
For me, nature photography and haiku poetry have been my creative interests for many years. I realize how important such activities are for mental exercise and personal enjoyment. I also realize that continued pursuit of these activities requires certain physical adjustments that aging requires. Such changes were, at first, hard to accept but prayer, meditation, and trust in a loving God always light the way.
The old man, soon to be 80 years old, awakens on a Tuesday morning as he always does. He lies quietly in bed, listening to his wife’s soft breathing, and thanks God for this new day, her untroubled sleep, and their continuing health. Glancing at the sunlight on the sheer curtains, he sees promise of another typical hot summer day. But he also happily notes that days are finally growing a bit shorter now.
Wincing at a twinge of arthritic hip pain, he silently crawls out of bed, puts on his slippers, and eases down the long hall to the kitchen. The house is soundless as it always is each morning, except for a faint lawnmower. In a few minutes he holds a steaming cup of coffee in his hands, thankful for the modern ingenuity of his trusty K-cup coffee machine. After opening the sunroom and living room drapes, the old man moves to his favorite glider chair and sits to relish his coffee, meditate and pray, and consider the new day ahead.
In the stillness, he becomes aware of the endless ticking of the old wall clock, a sound that has become quite familiar and, perhaps, even friendly for the last six months. It has been that long since the old man and his wife of fifty plus years decided to self-quarantine themselves against the deadly coronavirus mercilessly ravaging the whole world. If it was solitude they wanted, they have it now in abundance! But he also thinks how blessed they and their family have been so far and gratefully thanks God again. Next, reflecting on the day ahead, he accepts the inevitable again: that this day will be much like all the other ‘pandemic’ yesterdays. It is like being in a submarine, he smiles, with the hatch closed and afraid to open it! Reciting the Serenity Prayer, he then takes a savoring sip of coffee, inhales the wafting aroma, and opens his daily haiku notebook…