OK, so let's be honest here. These are some of the toughest times most of us have ever experienced (on a collective level). If you lived through WWII, I guess you get a pass, since that was certainly extremely difficult as well (I think of my mom as a ten year-old, sitting in her family's backyard bomb shelter in Central London, hearing the buzz bombs take out every house on the block across the street from hers).
But these times are difficult too, both because of the difficulties themselves, as well as what they've brought to the forefront of our national consciousness.
I do fear our current 2020 version of America would never survive a world war and the sacrifices something like that would demand from us. When merely wearing a mask or acknowledging an established medical emergency becomes an opportunity for individuals to express deep personal offense and outrage, I think we need to admit we're in trouble as a nation.
But maybe we've known that for awhile already, and this is all just shining a brighter light on it.
But here's an odd thing: During the darkest of times, if your personal situation is relatively OK it can become tempting to scold yourself for feeling bad about The State of Everything. Instead of feeling bad, you may try and insist to yourself how lucky you are -- that you have steady income, or a comfortable place to live, etc. I think that's sometimes a mistake, and trivializes some very legitimate negative feelings you may have during such a time as this.
Every one of us is grieving losses at this point -- even if it's just the loss of companionship/friendship, celebrating milestones with others, gathering with friends and loved ones, and participating in hobbies we used to enjoy. Or just getting a hug from a someone we don't live with.
I take great pleasure in the good things around me, but it isn't always enough lately. Sometimes I feel helpless and hopeless and can fall into a hole of depression for several days at a time, It's like a sense of sadness blooming out from my solar plexus and creating a cloud around me, changing how I see everything.
Part of it is isolation, part is having former activities no longer an option to enjoy, and part is probably boredom.
The kitchen apocalypse has not helped any of this; as of this moment we're still down to drywall and floor only, which means the soonest we will have a working kitchen again will be the end of September, and that's optimistic. In a normal year, this is something I'd just roll with, but in a year which already feels difficult it feels a little like an additional insult to injury kind of thing. After all, if you have to live in your house almost 24/7, it's really not too much to ask to have a working kitchen, is it?
And the future looks as if it will be even tougher, with COVID cases exploding everywhere, including here in Oregon. So today I'm going to post some things that seem to chase the storm clouds away a little, and give me a little comfort during this time, without demanding anything from me. Hope you enjoy them and they brighten your spirits a bit.
Thursday Big Ag and I took a trip to the Oregon Gardens to check out their summer flowers, and snapped a couple of shots of these fields on the way. Sometimes just seeing something different makes things seem better, and the fact that 99 percent of nature has no clue or concern about COVID is kind of nice to remember.
My family makes me happy, especially my beautiful mermaid of a daughter. How can you not be happy looking at this smile? We may only speak by phone right now, but knowing the people you love are still out there is deeply comforting.
Whatever give you hope and comfort from a faith perspective is definitely something to hang on to at this particular time. I've enjoyed reading books from the Theosophical Society since I was a teenager, and digging out these old books out, dusting them off, and re-learning things I'd forgotten has been very good.
It's also a reminder that while hoarding books is a curse and something your children will be extremely annoyed with when they have to clean out all your stuff someday, saving those books you consider essential is a gift to yourself in the future.
A new tablecloth courtesy of Amazon, and some fresh flowers from the garden make the world seem a little more OK. So does refreshing some yard furniture in some blue and green hues to match the Oregon trees and sky.
But lastly, I think the greatest gift you can give to yourself in depression times is not to judge yourself too harshly for whatever you are feeling. If you are getting out of bed every morning, feeding yourself, and paying your electric bill, you are doing fine. All feelings during this time are OK and par for the course, so be gentle with your soul and allow it to feel whatever it happens to be feeling at the moment.
And don't judge yourself or feel guilty about not being constantly grateful for what you do have. No one is without loss in all of this, and those losses need acknowledgement. In other words, it's OK to feel shitty sometimes, and it's OK to feel good, too.