I thought I was going to run out of Kleenex. Not really Corona Virus-related. Just your typical, “I think we need more Kleenex and we don’t have any.”
Except it’s not that easy right now to just run out and buy more. And it’s possible we’ve been crying a little extra around here because things have just been a little sad and scary and unknown. I’ve got a high school senior who’s really missing her friends and teachers and the finale of her high school career, so that’s upped the ante for sure.
A little later in the day, I opened the cabinet in the downstairs bathroom, and whadyaknow? There was a box of Kleenex! Totally unexpected! I forgot I had put an extra box under there a few weeks ago. I literally cheered and fist pumped. Over the Kleenex. With a huge smile on my face.
My gratitude over a box of Kleenex stopped me in my tracks. I stood there for a minute and thought to myself, I hope I can sustain this. I hope WE can sustain this. I know, I know, it sounds a little dumb, but when was the last time I was this genuinely grateful for something so seemingly insignificant? (And I KNOW a lot of you are thinking the same thing about toilet paper these days.)
After 9/11, I remember having all of the same thoughts and feelings. (I wrote about it here) We all wanted to stay in that sacred space of gratitude. Patriotism. Coming together, One Nation under God and all that jazz. Nineteen years later, I’m not so sure how we’re doing.
Shitty. Very, very Shitty. I can’t speak for everyone, but I feel like a lot of us could use a little fine-tuning.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I know so many people have died from this awful virus or have suffered through the illness of it. That’s not “fine-tuning”. That’s tragic and terrible. But for many of us, it’s mostly been massively inconvenient.
The thing about times like this– an unprecedented world pandemic– is that even though we hate it, it really does bring out the best in us, if we’ll let it. It feels like we’re suddenly jolted back into paying attention. Like someone shook us awake again. We’re suddenly back to checking on our neighbors. Reaching out to friends more than usual. Going the extra mile to make someone’s day. Showing genuine appreciation to those around us. Sharing our stuff with those who need it more than we do. Calling and FaceTiming our parents and family members just to say hi and see how everyone’s managing.
I am a better me right now. (Despite my current diet, which can best be described as “Unsupervised Toddler. With Alcohol”) I want to be this grateful all the time. This attentive. This thoughtful. This connected. I really want to. I know I won’t always be. But I want to.
The last paragraph from “Bedtime, Wet Towels, and 9/11“, still fits today. I can’t imagine a day it won’t.
“For whatever reason, we just can’t sustain that level of awareness long enough. Oh sure, some of us can, for some things. But not most of us. And not for everything. And so it seems we somehow always just ease back into being ourselves. Doing the best we know how and hoping it’s enough. Making tiny strides out of the ruts when we can. When we remember. Let it be enough, I think to myself. Please, let it be enough.”
Stay well, my friends. And let the fine-tuning carry on. xo