– Norman Rockwell
“How will I be remembered? As a technician or an artist? As a humorist or a visionary?”
Doors closed, windows locked up tight, televisions turned to the latest news as we all try to watch what’s happening in a world that emphasis the importance of being within your own “bubble” like never before. It’s like a painting from Norman Rockwell, only no longer scenes of warm fires and family gathered around hearths drinking hot coca but rather as if he was depicting some strange apocalypse where even going outside in the yard to play requires donning a mask, gloves, a small portable bottle of hand sanitizer as a “just in case” measure and permission to be within 100 ft of your best friend in order to kick the ball around for a bit.
Rethinking the essentials
All of a sudden we are rethinking what essential truly means, if going to work is worth the risk to our lives, and appreciating the idea of family so much more. Who knew that isolation could bring such self awareness? Who thought that a pandemic leaving so many at death’s door would be what it would take for the world to re-evaluate the importance of being human, of being kind, of love, life, and what it means to exist in today’s society?
Honestly, it’s rather sad that it takes something so horrific for us to realize what really matters to us … WHO really matters to us.
That being said, maybe we should drown a bit in that same self awareness and let the darkness that has eclipsed our world and our role in it, at least for the moment, to open our eyes. I, for one, find myself contemplating how I’ve lived and loved up until now and if what I may leave behind is anything more than just an imprint, just a shadow of a life rather than anything worthy of remembering. Then I ask myself if I want to change that – how to change that. What would a life worth remembering even look like?
When donning a mask becomes all too literal …
I’ve never been afraid of isolation when it was under my own terms – social gatherings, friends, events, and the loudness that was the world up until now had always been something I had avoided for the most part. I always found comfort in closing myself away and writing out my ideas and emotions in anonymity, never truly wanting anyone to know who I am or in what way I feel as if I do or don’t matter.
Now? Now I kind of long for the days when normality did look a bit like a Norman Rockwell capture – when we didn’t have to be afraid to remove our “masks” (literal and non-literal) and enjoy the small things. Now I hope all the more for a game of Frisbee with friends at a local park, a coffee with my brother, shopping during the rush of Christmas where people are buzzing around wondering if they got the right gift for the Aunt Mabel while their kids run screaming through the store. Will we ever experience those things again? And if so, will we remember what it was like when the chance that we might not live those moments again was presented to us and actually, truly, deeply appreciate what we have?
The gifts lived in ‘now’ moments
I have to ask again – why does it always take something tragic for us to realize what really matters to us … WHO really matters to us?
So, while the TV is blaring in the background about the latest measures to keep us all safe, or while you are curled up in your bed finally able to read that book you always meant to – or while you are scrolling through social media and reaching out to friends you haven’t for a long time who live across the world or maybe just down the street … appreciate it.
Appreciate all of it deep into your bones …
We can never know what tomorrow may bring or – in some cases for families all around this little place we call home – if tomorrow will even come at all. So appreciate it, all of it, every last dreg of what you have in this moment and light a candle for those who no longer have the gifts we’ve all taken for granted for far, far too long – life, laughter, love, and each other. Take this time to consider how you can change, grow, advance, be who you want to be in a world that is already so different from what it was a week ago. Nature hit the refresh button, so to speak – if she can, so can we. Re-evaluate and realize the true riches in your life. It’s not the numbers in your bank account but the number of kisses on cheeks from lips you love. It’s not the cars in the driveway but the people you’ve taken road trips with in the past who made you laugh until you snorted chocolate milk from your mouth all over the back seat. It’s not in things we have – the objects, the inanimate … it’s in the people.
Life is lived, given, taken, shared, loved, grieved, lost, gained … in people.