I saw my dear friend Laura last week, one of our rare visits together. We sat outside in the beating heat of the day, far enough away from one another that we took off masks and ate our brown bag lunches. We were outside her condominium in a large, beautifully landscaped greenspace. Gracie sat at my feet, content to sniff all the doggie smells wafting through the air. She occasionally went over to Laura to sniff and offer a lick and a tail wag. For a dog who fears anything new and different, she is amazingly comfortable navigating around Laura’s power chair.
We spent a couple hours together, moving to a newly shaded spot as the sun slowly changed its angles in the sky. We talked some, about nothing in particular, and had a few of those comfortable silences as only loving friends can.
“You know,” I commented at one point, “I have Gracie with me and Marc is home in the evenings, but I am still pretty lonely.”
Laura looked at me and gave a little smile. “Well, I guess I know what you mean.”
Her comment struck me. Here I have been so careful to hunker down, knowing that’s what we have to do, not considering the people in my life who are more alone or cut off than I am. Laura is an incredibly strong woman, but I have only been visiting her about once a month, usually to bring her a loaf of her favorite white mountain bread, quickly leaving so that we’re both safe.
Yet, here we were, outside and far enough apart that I didn’t feel I was violating any public health safety advisories. Why hadn’t I been doing that? What hadn’t I been reaching out in ways that I could, instead of seeing all the ways that I couldn’t?
Love needs to find its way to reach out, to connect, even during a pandemic. Love has its own healing power. In simple or silly or mundane ways, we need to find a way to love the people in our hearts and lives. Yes, safely—but also often.
I have another friend whose life is now being measured in months rather than years. What can I do to show her my love and my sadness? Surely more than a card or a phone call! Surely, I can find a way to bring a precious smile or laugh into her remaining time. Love will find a way to do that. I will find a way to do that.
As I was writing this, my doorbell rang, and I got my mask on to answer it. It was a fellow church member, masked and standing back from the huge basket of fruit just outside my door.
“It’s from all of us in our family,” he said. “Just wanted to do something for you.” How incredible this simple, beautiful gift made me feel! Love found its way to me.
I have been sad for all the brides and grooms whose weddings have been canceled or postponed or downsized or moved to the virtual space. How difficult, I have thought, to not be able to celebrate the joy of starting a new life with one another!
Yet, three days ago, our middle son Peter and his Rose got on a Google Hangouts call with us.
“We have some news,” Peter said, laughing. Rose laughed too. “Yep, we do indeed have some news!”
Ah, you guessed, didn’t you? Peter and Rose are getting married. Soon, as it turns out, and apparently through an online site. You see, once England opens up a bit, Rose is being transferred there for two years. They knew that the world wouldn’t be a safe enough place for a more traditional wedding before she leaves, so they decided to get married now and delay the more formal ceremony and reception for two years.
Peter and Rose belong together. There is a rightness to the two of them, a joy and ease in each other’s presence that is unmistakable. So, in this extraordinary time, love found a way for them to make that promise and that commitment. They have found a path that feels right to them to pursue that shared life. What a profound gift—to seize the love and the joy in the midst of this isolation we all feel! My heart is overflowing with happiness for the two of them. And, if there is a moment of sadness that we can’t be there to share it with them in person–well, our love will have to find a way to be there is a different way. Because nothing can diminish the power of that love.
I hope love finds its way to touch you, in small and important ways, in the days and weeks and months ahead!