Yesterday I watched the morning sun splash over the end table next to me. All I could think about was the dirty window. I remembered our neighbor last fall, trying to help us when Jerry could no longer do outside chores. He was teaching a hired helper how to use the pressure washer with soap, succeeding only in spreading dirty streaks over windows I had recently washed. I have not washed them since.
This morning I was struck by the same sun in the same place, filling my room with light and warmth. It drifted over my left hand on the keyboard, but soon moved on to another window, dappling the curtain until finally moving away. It will greet me again in a few hours, after journeying over the top of the house, to warm the other side. I will welcome its return.
It’s all in the way you look at things, isn’t it? Glass half-full, glass half-empty. Our experiences of the coronavirus are like that. For those of us who do not live in a city or crowded suburb, we may not know a single soul who has been affected by the virus. We endure weeks of stay-at-home mandates and then we say, “I am tired of this. I need a change,” as if a disease could respond to our wishes. Others are more cautious, willing to quarantine for as long as is necessary. Time will tell how these different responses to the pandemic play out.
A person’s perspective is made up of a lifetime of personal experiences along with a particular orientation to the world. Additionally, what the person is currently enduring is a crucial influence upon their perspective.
So how is my changing perspective working its way through my life? This is not a normal life we are all living during the coronavirus. I am trying to live it while working through grief, which is also not normal. I seem to be sending myself mixed messages. There is no one else here for me to plan my schedule around. Sometimes I am glad about that and the freedom it represents. Sometimes I feel just aimless. In the same way I view the sun differently at various times, I wake up each day uncertain how I will spend it, either happily bustling around or discontented with my idleness. And why does it feel better to be busy during a pandemic? Wouldn’t this be the perfect time for reflection? The problem is, I don’t know what I need. Sometimes I stop in the middle of something and find myself staring blankly, arrested by… what? Nothing, just total distraction. I try to cut myself some slack – it is okay to be confused, it will all work out.
So now I am seeing the perspective I will try to embrace: stop trying to control everything. Stop worrying about things that will probably never happen. Be willing to live with uncertainty, ambiguity and ambivalence. Like the gift of sunlight, welcome joy whenever it peeks through, if only for an instant. Enjoy the present, because that is all we have. Listen for the spirit of God trying to speak to me. Dance, sing, even if alone, knowing how it will lift my spirits. Feel the assurance that it will not always be this way. Be open to all the possibilities that come my way, and hold fast to the promise that, “All will be well, all will be well.”