One year ago...
It occurred to me that my website is making its' official debut almost a year to the day of my state's official lockdown.
March 12, 2020: my mother left a day early from her visit with us as rumors of government shutdowns and gas shortages were circulating.
March 13, 2020: my younger sister's 40th birthday trip was post-poned for "just a couple weeks" (still hasn't happened).
March 23, 2020: Spring Break for local schools was extended, a week at a time, until August. Our homeschool co-op quit meeting in person, the kids' swim team practices were cancelled and life slowed to a pace I don't remember living since my childhood.
Reflecting back over the past year, I know that much of it has been hard and sad. People have lost jobs, and many have experienced incredible loneliness and fear. Others have been horribly sick, and almost everyone I know, myself included, has lost a loved one to the pandemic.
And while I do not believe in ignoring the realities of a difficult year, and there is certainly no shame in grief, I refuse to despair. There is always hope, always good, always a glimmer of light in the darkness:
This past year I threw myself into my art. I learned and grew and failed and grew some more. I've discovered a passion at the age of 42 that fills my cup and blesses others.
This past year my kids and I went for long walks and bike rides almost every day. We spent hours outside playing, reading, swinging. We pressed flowers and collected empty bird eggs and shiny rocks. We added a pair of kittens to our zoo (is it even quarantine if you don't adopt an animal or two??), went camping together, sat by the fire many nights and created family traditions we'd been too *busy* for before lockdown.
This past year I got a glimpse of that 80s childhood I remember. Families in my neighborhood taking walks together. Kids running in sprinklers in their front yards. Pick up games of baseball in empty fields. We saw sunrises and sunsets, and rediscovered the peace that nature offers.
Life has mostly returned to "normal" in my state (that is a discussion for a different time and place). Schools are open 5 days a week in person, business are operating at 100% capacity and organized sports are back in full force. I'm thankful for the increased opportunities and friendship that will offer my kids. I'm praising Jesus in the heavens above that my youngest will be able to go to kindergarten in the fall!
But as the weather turns to another beautiful Mississippi spring, I'm reminded of that slow, simple season we shared a year ago, and wondering what lessons I can apply to our lives moving forward.
What about you friends? I'd love to hear how the past year has changed the way you want to live in the future.