I strongly believe that Life is the story we tell ourselves. And we mostly own the narrative of our stories. We form the basis of Our Life not so much on what happens to us but on how we perceive the events that come our way.
In My Now, I have suffered the loss of Humans I love. Things have transpired because of COVID that cannot be taken back or undone. I live in a world without those relationships. Safety nets of love and friendship are gone. Funerals went unattended.
I retired in 2020. Quietly. Without closure or fanfare. In The Before Times, my facility would have hosted a fabulous luncheon and I would have had the opportunity to invite All. The. Colleagues. from every department I had ever worked in for snacks and a warm farewell. But with COVID — all those celebrations have been aborted. A couple of dear friends took me out for lunch and champagne after I cleaned out my desk. Thankfully, even though it was November the weather co-operated and we sipped champagne outside on the sunny patio of the establishment.
I could look upon these events with sorrow and grief. I could dwell on the pain and unfairness of 2020. I could spend precious moments, reams of energy — raging at The Powers That Be for what is lost forever.
But I don’t.
Because the greatest lesson I learned in 2020 was to be thankful.
I am thankful for the time I had and the love I shared with the Humans who are no longer here. My Life would have been less rich, less full, LESS…if I had never had the privilege of walking with their presence — be it for a day, a month, a year, or decades. They remain a gift and I hold them tenderly in my heart.
I am thankful for the career I had, the friends I made, the patients I helped. I did not require a party to know I had done good work in the world. I knew that for over twenty-five years, I had served my facility and the good people of North Carolina loyally. This chapter of My Life remains a gift and I hold it tenderly in my heart.
I am further thankful for every single Human/experience/thing I have that remains. My family. My health. My friendships. We are blessed a thousand times over to have each other, to be healthy, to be able to gather. I wake up each day to these most precious gifts and I hold them tenderly in my heart.
Adversity can leave us exhausted, remorseful, and bitter. We can lament the challenges and sit shiva for our losses. We can dwell in the past with its mistakes and regrets or fast forward to the future with its problems and fears. Or we can live in The Now. With gratitude and peace.
We get to write our own stories.
I was regretting the past and fearing the future. Suddenly My Lord was speaking. “My Name is I AM.” He paused. I waited. He continued, “When you live in the past with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not I WAS. When you live in the future with its problems and fears, it is hard. My name is not I WILL BE. When you live in this moment, it is not hard. I am here. My name is I AM.” — Helen Mallicoat.