Silver Linings


July is drawing to a close, and we have passed the halfway mark of 2020. This is going to be a year we all remember in different ways, for different reasons… but we will remember it. Memorable isn’t always a kind appellation. 

I’m thinking about this as I am relaxed and happy and sleepy with my first cup of coffee in a quiet house. The First Reader and I managed a date night for the first time in months – last one we can remember was actually last year. For us, 2020 started early with family stuff. We’ve spent long parts of this year in separate states, for reasons not entirely pandemic related. The ability to go sit down in one of our favorite restaurants and have a quiet meal while we chatted with one another was really sweet and cherished. It didn’t last long – it was a work night for me, after all – but we have renewed our commitment to ‘do it again!’ in a month, this time. Not next year. 

We humans are endlessly resilient. I have seen it over and over in my life. But even resiliency has it’s stress points, and it’s fracture lines that give way suddenly when you have bent the metal in one place too many times. Back and forth, back and forth, then… snap! Unlike metal, we’re made of softer stuff. Give us some time to rest, to relax a little, to sleep and to laugh a little, and we can heal those stress points. Healing doesn’t mean that it goes back to the way it was, exactly. Healing often involves scar tissue, remodeling of bone. The human body will, given the chance, overbuild the wounded place, because it knows that this was a weak point. By golly, it won’t be next time! 

We are the next generation’s ‘they survived the Great Depression’ family. Not that I’m saying there’s going to be another of those. This will be different. But the societal disturbance will leave it’s mark. And being human, we will reinforce the points we perceive as ‘weak’ and overdevelop them in compensation. Some people will cling to masking as a symbol of safety. Others will keep a well-stocked toiletries cabinet, with emphasis on the paper, for the rest of their lives. Others… who knows? There are going to be as many little traumas as there are people, and the stress will come out in different ways. Even if you think you aren’t stressed. You’ll look back later and say to yourself ‘oh…’ 

Better to be aware of that process, and guide the healing with a logical mind rather than letting the unconscious immune system of the psyche get at it. Find the time to relax. Make plans knowing that they might not happen. Dream of what will come. Not everything will be difficult and ugly. Life is full of beauty and blessings, sometimes you have to look for them. Perhaps that makes them even sweeter when you find them, having journeyed long to where they become clear. 

Don’t stay alone. Find someone to share the burdens with. If you’re struggling, reach out. Friends helping friends is part of the healing process, and it’s one that goes both ways. 



5 responses to “Silver Linings”

  1. Pardon my being whiny for just a moment, since I know you remember having littles, etc-

    Husband and I get one date night a year, roughly. When my folks visit, they kick us out of the house for a grown-up dinner.

    This year? My parents got here two days after folks started freaking out about the kung flu. (Much to my confusion, since I’d been following it for over a month by that time and had gone through several layers of “oh, thank God, it’s not NEARLY as bad as we thought!”, but anyways…..)

    Date Night is very important.

    Recognizing that, even if you can’t do anything about it, helps a lot.

    1. That’s not whiny. That is a legitimate stressor. Oh, how I wish I were closer to babysit once in a while! It’s important to build the relationship, and do hard to find that time when the kids are small. I will say that as mine got big they fully supported us taking date time, and would happily fend for themselves. Yours will get there.

      And see if there’s someone at church who is in the same boat and willing to swap. Every couple of months maybe.

      1. HEh, we were working on that… the last Sunday before the parish was shut down for the kung flu.
        (I can’t even be really mad about that, we have like six nursing, adult care, group home or whatever type communities in this one tiny town, plus probably more in the nearby towns that come here for Mass. But it was a pisser.)

  2. I’m lucky enough to be an essential worker, and thus still employed.

    Last year was my year of adventures, where tests on my heart uncovered my cancer. Now, treatment is taking at place at City of Hope, under a “no visitors” policy due to Covid. My stem cell transplant was postponed due to Covid, and now due to a pause in stem cell collection. The nurses have talked me out of seeing this as a setback, but a friend has suggested I look for a therapist to talk to.

    1. I think that your friend is right. Seeking some extra support can only be helpful. When we’re going through rough times is when it’s hardest to reach out, but when we need it most.