Just Plain Growing Old

A couple of months ago, I posted a blog called Growing Old Together In The Old South (Growing Old Together In The Old South – Terri LaBonte- Reinventing Myself in Retirement). In that post, I discussed Max and me celebrating our 25th anniversary in Savannah.  That was a fun time.  Today, I want to address a more sinister topic…. Just plain growing old.

We all understand that aging is a natural process and, unless we die young, old age will have an impact on our bodies.  I think I got complacent, though.  For years, even though the number in my age increased, I did not feel any different.  Aside from a momentary panic upon reaching each milestone birthday, I truly did not feel any older each September 30 when I blew out the candles on my cake. 

I think I am being realistic when I say I think I went about 15 or 20 years with no significant aging.  Even when I look at home movies and pictures from days gone by, I think I looked pretty much the same from age 35 to age 55.  Certainly, there were differences if one looked closely.  Still, I think I always looked to be in my late thirties. 

Then, sometime around my 60th birthday, nature seemed to catch up with me.  It is as if all that aging that should have happened in the first 15 years of the new millennium happened in a matter of two years.  My skin is dull.  My face has wrinkles, which might be a good thing.  Without the wrinkles keeping some of my features in place, my cheeks and jowls might be sagging down to my waist. There is certainly extensive sagging around my previously taut jawline.   My back and legs tend to protest more vociferously when overexerted… or, maybe more accurately, exerted at all.  My knees, always a weak point, seem to have locked up tighter than a maximum-security prison cell.  Picking up items from the floor is suddenly much more difficult.  I am surprised it is not an Olympic sport.

It is not that there is anything really wrong with my health.  Certainly, no new illness has cropped up in the past couple of years.  I am a pretty healthy person.  If anything, I am healthier now than I was prior to my descent into agedness.  My diet is better than it used to be.  I exercise every day.  My lab results are excellent.  I am fortunate that the only malady that seems to plague me is this mutated version of the normal aging process.  I am not complaining.  It is just that the suddenness and fierceness of my elderliness is alarming.  At this rate, my body will be eighty-five before I am chronologically sixty-five. 

Do you think it might have something to do with senior discounts?  I did qualify for some discounts when I reached 55, but many did not kick in until age 60.  Does every 10% off come with a corresponding hit to my physical being? Or perhaps it is the decades of hair dye.  Maybe dying my hair is like donning a pair of Spanx.  When I put on Spanx, the fat does not, unfortunately, disappear.  The Spanx just shoves it to another location.  Maybe coloring my hair does not make me more youthful.  Maybe the hair dye just shoves the aging to a different position. The dye covers my gray hair but causes other parts of me to age more.   I will have to think about that one.  I think I would rather have gray hair than joints that do not cooperate with my inclinations. 

My brother and my cousin, bless them, tell me that I look as young as I did in junior high.  My brother and my cousin are clearly liars.  On the other hand, maybe their assertions bear some consideration.  Let us ask ourselves a question.  Do any of us really want to look like we did in junior high?  I certainly do not.

Maybe aging is not that bad.

Me, as an incredibly awkward fourteen-year-old… let’s not go back in time!

Have you aged suddenly or has the process been more of a slow burn for you? What do you to keep healthy and functional as aging starts to catch up with you? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you may email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.

Have a youthful day!

Terri/Dorry 🙂

What To Do; What To Say

Believe it or not, we are approaching the fifth birthday of www.terrilabonte.com.  I have published over 250 posts.  At an average of about 1000 words per post, that means I have written approximately 250,000 words over the past five years.  There have been over 1200 non-spam comments.  Who would have thunk it? 

It is hard to say how many people read my blog.  Analytics show about 350,000 hits per year.  This sounds impressive, but I know there is a lot of junk in there. There are so many spam comments that I just delete without y’all ever seeing them.  This tells me that a lot of those hits are from search engine optimization companies that pay poor people in foreign countries pennies to “hit” websites.  The idea is to create clickbait for their clients.

When I first started my blog, I said, no matter what the readership, I would continue posting until I ran out of things to say.  Every now and again throughout the past five years, I would hit a place where I wondered if I had arrived at the “ran out of things to say” point.  Then, something would happen in my life or in the state of the world that would make me think a new thought and I’d write another blog post.  Now, as five years is drawing to a close, I wonder if now might be a good time to call it quits. 

Typically, I have about 5-10 blog posts written and waiting to be posted.  Now, I am down to just a couple.  Is that a sign that the new ideas are drying up? Am I becoming boring or redundant?  Also, it is a bit of pressure to come up with a new post every week.  I started a new book a couple of months ago (by the way… remember you can get a paperback or Kindle copy of my book Random (A)Musings on Amazon) but have kind of stalled because the blog has taken precedence.  It also costs money to pay for the blog hosting for another year.  And, is anybody reading?  I know I said that I’d keep writing if I had something to say, regardless of readership.  If I were a really noble, well-adjusted person, I would not care about readership numbers.  I must confess that I do care a little bit, though. 

As part of my COVID reconsideration of my life (see  The Year That God Hit Pause – Terri LaBonte- Reinventing Myself in Retirement for more information on that), I am taking a good hard look at the blog.  Is it something I want to continue doing? 

On the one hand, the downsides I have just noted are real. They may be sufficient reason to shut the blog down before it is time to pay the annual renewal fee. On the other hand, I really do enjoy the blog.  The fee is less than $10 per month… less than most people pay for just about any form of entertainment.  If I was better adjusted, the readership numbers should not be a factor in my satisfaction level.  I could eliminate any undue pressure to come up with new blog posts if I just released myself from my self-imposed requirement to publish every week.  I know that people might stop reading if there is not continuous new content, but I truly do not think I am rocking anybody’s world anyway.  Maybe I should get outside my head and pay the renewal… then, just do whatever comes naturally.

Part of me wonders if the blog is really what I am supposed to be doing in life.  I truly believe that God has a plan for each our lives (Jeremiah 29:11).  I think it is important to stay awake to the signs and opportunities He puts in our path so that we will see the plan He has for us when it appears.  I believe that, if we follow the path He has for us and use the opportunities He gives us, then He will bless our efforts.  He will multiply whatever little we are able to do on our own so that the results will be far beyond anything we can ever imagine.

I have always maintained that His plan for me was not to do anything extraordinary, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love.  I believed that God would bless these little, love-soaked ordinary things and they would have a positive impact beyond my small circle.  St. Therese of Lisieux lived simply as a nun in a cloistered convent for her entire adult life and spent her days doing small, generous things for others.  Today, her writings are known the world over and they inspire people to walk towards God.  Unfortunately, I do not think my ordinary acts, despite the extraordinary love of God that I try to harness within them, are having much impact beyond the people who love me anyway. 

Maybe I believe I am only supposed to be doing the ordinary deeds I find in my way because it is the most comfortable way for me to be a Christian.  Maybe God believes I am supposed to aim a little higher in finding the plan He has for me.  So, is there more I should be doing?  Does God have a bigger plan for me, even at this late stage in the game? And does www.terrilabonte.com have a place in that plan?  Or do I just need to get over myself?  I am no St. Therese of Lisieux.

What do you think?  Should I keep blogging?  Is there anybody out there reading?  How would you feel if I only ended up posting new content on a more irregular schedule?  Would you keep reading?  What do think about finding purpose in life?  How do you know if you are following the path you were meant to follow?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement.com. 

Have a metaphysical day!

Terri/Dorry 😊

The Year That God Hit Pause

For most of the year, I thought of 2020 as “The Year That God Hit Pause.”  As the year closes, I am thinking “The Year That God Hit Reboot” is more appropriate.  And I don’t mean one of those lame “control-alt-delete” reboots, either.  I mean the last resort- close the programs, unplug the computer, disconnect the modem, and pray for Divine intervention kind of reboots. 

For much of 2020, most folks stopped living their normal lives.  We kept thinking that we would just wait for “all this to end” and then try to catch up on real life.  I remember very clearly that the pandemic restrictions started as a two-week stay-at-home order.  We truly believed that, after two weeks of solitude, the world would have the tools it needed to halt the virus in its tracks.  When that turned out to be wildly optimistic, we kept cutting off the dog’s tail by inches.  Maybe by extending the world standstill for a few weeks, we could bring things “back to normal.” Maybe by having everyone work from home, we could stem the infection.  Maybe if we wore masks and stayed at least six feet away from each other, we could find the light at the end of the tunnel.  This prolonged period of adaptation had various effects on people, the culture, the economy, and on political thought. 

People responded to the continuing pandemic in different ways.  Some folks are still staying safely tucked away in the “waiting for things to get back to normal” bubble.  They continue to pause their normal expectations of their lives.  Other people, at varying paces, started strategizing safer ways to get back to some semblance of normal life.  There are benefits in doing so, certainly.  It feels good to not feel so stuck.  It feels good to be helpful to others.  It feels good to rebuild community. 

Sometimes life seems even weirder when you try to live a relatively normal life within the parameters of pandemic restrictions than when you stay cocooned away from most normal activity.  It is hard to communicate with a mask on.  It is awkward to flash a peace sign to fellow congregants when you are used to a handshake or hug during the church service passing of the peace.  Using virtual technology to meet with others is wonderful, but it does emphasize that life is clearly not normal.   

It is at least hopeful that many of us have started fresh.  Everything is not working quite as well as we would like, but we can at least move forward with living, albeit at a more labored pace.  That labored pace results not just from exerting energy to figure out how to do things, but also from figuring out whether to do them at all. 

I think many people are remembering how precious our time and energy is.  When rethinking how to get on with our lives, it becomes much clearer to us that we truly may not have the ability to do everything we are used to doing with the enthusiasm and drive we would like.  During our enforced slowdown and period of separation, most of us are examining our priorities and our passions.  As the world starts to pick up speed again, we are not sure we want to.  I have several friends who remark that they have sort of enjoyed the quiet and slower pace that the pandemic shutdowns caused in their lives.  It gave them time to breathe and think and pray.  They are finding it a bit difficult to jump back into all the activities they used to think they enjoyed before the pandemic.  Did they really enjoy them at all?  Or did they enjoy the activities, but not the frantic unstoppable whirl of energy propelling them from one activity to another? They are making deliberate choices about what activities they choose to reintroduce into their lives. 

I think that is one of the upsides of the pandemic.  We had the time to appreciate the fullness of our lives and to consider how we wanted to reinvent some aspects of those lives.  Sometimes, less is more. Sometimes, different is better.  Sometimes, in thinking about the content of our daily lives, we realize that the activities with which we are filling those lives are not supporting our core values.  If that is the case, now is a good time to think about changing or reapportioning those activities in the future.  

The pandemic also gave us the time to consider from where our strength, activity, and values come.  Sometimes, in the busy-ness of life, it can feel like I am moving as fast as I can and juggling plates on sticks until they come crashing down around me.  It is like I always know I am headed towards disaster, but I can’t stop spinning and adjusting and controlling and moving.  During the pandemic, I stopped moving for a time.  I realized that I was never the one jumping, moving, and spinning.  I was never the one keeping the plates from crashing.  It was always God.  I was just getting in His way. 

As for me, I will never feel content, productive, able, or peaceful if I rely on my own energy to accomplish the things I want to do.  I must rely on God to show me what to do and to give me the tools to do it. 

So, as we close our programs from 2020, unplug our computer, disconnect our modem, and pray for Divine intervention, we can rely on God to respond to that prayer and reboot our souls.  May He bless us all with wisdom, grace, peace, joy, and industry in the coming year. 

How have your priorities changed in the wake of the global pandemic?  Are there activities with which you have chosen not to re-engage?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.

Have a contemplative day!

Terri/Dorry 😊

Smuggling And Other Homemaking Skills… Wayback Wednesday

This is one of my “Wayback Wednesday” articles I discussed in my post of 10/14/20 (Wayback Wednesday – Terri LaBonte- Reinventing Myself in Retirement.)

I was never domestic.  God knows I wanted to be.  I tried to be.  It was my fantasy of me.  Still, when striving to develop certain talents, one must consider the raw materials.  I came from a home where the “good china” meant heavy-duty paper plates and cleaning house meant company was coming. Most people have a junk drawer in their homes.  We had a whole junk room.  It was supposed to be a den or spare bedroom, but nobody ever ventured in there except to dispose of something we could not find a place to put.  Every now and then, an overnight guest would come to stay.  This spurred a massive campaign to clean out the den.  It was not a pretty sight. My mother served Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas dinner. When it came to sewing, hemming a skirt was only about as far as things got.  I suspect they only got that far because everyone in my family was below normal height and above normal girth, so clothes were always too long.  Occasionally, my mother did attempt to sew a simple outfit for me when I was a child.  I thought they were wonderful, but my mother would rarely let me out in public wearing one. 

Our somewhat less than Ozzie and Harriet life did not bother any of us.  It might have been somewhat chaotic and unorthodox to the uneducated eye, but it was our life and we loved it.  Unfortunately, as children always learn, the world does not stop at the door to our homes.  My time of revelation came when I was forced to take 7th grade Homemaking.

Seventh grade Homemaking did not initially appear to be the devil’s work.  The curriculum ignited my burgeoning domestic desires.  We would learn everything that all twelve-year-old girls need to know- cooking, babysitting, and sewing.  I had big plans. I would cook elaborate meals for my family that did not come out of a box.  Never mind that I was an incredibly picky eater who drew the line at “chunky” peanut butter.  I would learn skills I could use to be a well-qualified babysitter.  It did occur tome that every other little seventh grade girl would have the same intensive course of study under her belt, but I was going to be different.  I was going to pay attention.  As for sewing, I was going to reverse a trauma I suffered in grade school.  My school held a mother-daughter fashion show each year.  We always attended, but I nursed a secret desire to be in the show.  This was not to be because the fashions had to be handmade and nobody in my family would be handmaking anything.  Now, things were going to be different.  I was going to be able to make a dress myself!  Even though I was doubtful that I could still appear in the grade school fashion show, I knew I would feel somehow vindicated.

We started with cooking and I soon learned that something out of a box invariably tasted better than anything I could make.  After much practice at home, I finally produced some decent baking powder biscuits.  Pillsbury far surpassed me efforts, however.  The rest of my attempts were even less successful.  The final straw occurred when our teacher insisted we make “golden nugget scrambled eggs.”  This was a bizarre concoction of eggs and orange juice scrambled together.  Even for someone with a strong stomach who actually LIKED eggs, this was a stretch.  As usual, the teacher insisted we eat what we made.  I tried to explain that I could not abide eggs, but she was having none of it.  She adamantly insisted that I at least taste the finished product. Taking a deep breath, I took a gulp.  Unfortunately, the mouth was willing, but the stomach rebelled and up came the golden nugget scrambled eggs.  The teacher, who decided that this was an obvious ploy to express my rebellious nature, took a strong dislike to me from that moment on. 

I was delighted to see the end of the cooking segment of our Homemaking class.  The next unit was babysitting.  I was chagrined to learn that most of the babysitting segment consisted of decorating and filling a “babysitting box.”  I used wallpaper samples to cover a cardboard box that I filled all kinds of treasures- a sock puppet, picture books, blocks, and other fun things little children might enjoy.  Strange though it may sound, the existence of this babysitting box did nothing to improve my earning capacity that I could see.  In my older and wiser days, I questioned why my babysitting box did not include band-aids, bactine, and snakebite anti-venom.  Still, the babysitting segment of the class was a benign respite in my pre-pubescent hell of 7th grade Homemaking.

The final straw in my homemaking career was the sewing unit.  It was during this unit that I first discovered my difficulty with visual reasoning.  Let me digress a moment while I rail about the misunderstandings people have about gender stereotyping.  Some people think that when a girl-type person says she isn’t mechanical, she is succumbing to sexism and is just not mechanical because society has determined that mechanical jobs are “men’s work.”  Not so.  Mechanical things can also be “women’s work.” Take, for example, sewing.  Please.  Take sewing and throw it in a river.  The basic skill necessary to “being mechanical” is good visual reasoning.  The mind must be able to get around the concept of what stuff is supposed to look like and how it compares to pictures and what might happen if this piece is shifted from here to there.  Laying out pattern pieces on fabric is definitely a mechanical activity.  Try as I might, I could not figure out what to do with these diaphanous pieces of tissue to recreate the pictures on the pattern instructions.  Heck, forget laying out the pieces of the pattern.  I could not get past how to fold the material.  People demonstrating and telling me to “do it like this” were of no use to me.  I stared miserably as my hands, as if they were somehow divorced from the rest of me and I had no power to manipulate them.  It was as if someone were to ask me how to read Shakespeare in Portuguese.

Somehow, I eventually got the cloth folded, the pattern laid out, and the pieces cut for the mandatory gathered skirt with the elastic waist.  I suspect there was Divine Intervention.  The next challenge was negotiating the actual use of a sewing machine.  Four little twelve-year-old girls were assigned to each sewing machine.  It strikes me that twelve-year-old girls are not known for their ability to work cooperatively to the mutual good.  While twelve-year-old girls tend to run in packs, their loyalty is to the pack, not to any Miss Nobody the teacher tries to incorporate into the pack.  The concept that four little girls would each get a chance to operate the sewing machine during a 45-minute class period just was not realistic.  If you figure that there was a five-minute timeframe to start the class and a five-minute period to wind down the class, that left 35 minutes to actually sew, or 8.75 minutes per girl.  It might have been an opportunity to teach the beauty of teamwork and collaboration, but instead it was an opportunity to teach outright bitchiness.  Not being a very assertive child, I did not often get the opportunity to use the machine at all.  Also, I do not mean to come across as a conspiracy theorist, but it seems suspicious to me that the bobbin always needed to be threaded when I finagled a turn on the sewing machine.

Day after day passed excruciatingly and unproductively.  My skirt remained two fragments of neon green cloth, printed with happy faces that stared up at me accusingly (in was, after all, the ‘70s!) in mute reproach.  Every morning, I would tell myself that this was to be the day that I would succeed in sewing the pieces together.  Every afternoon, I left school in a deflated and dejected state.  As the due date for the project approached, I became more and more morose. I was positive my entire academic career would be ended right there in seventh grade.  I could see myself being denied college admission for failing Homemaking.  I considered throwing myself on the teacher’s mercy, but I was quite sure that, after the golden nugget scrambled egg incident, she would not be likely to cut me any slack.

At home, I was overcome with what a disappointment I was to my family.  I was sure I would be inflicting massive humiliation on my parents.  After all, who wants to tell people that your daughter flunked out of school because she could not sew a gathered skirt with an elastic waist?  I fussed and worried each night about how I was going to break the shameful news of my imminent failure. 

One night, my mother heard me crying in my room.  She asked what could possibly be so wrong.  In my own dramatic fashion, I blurted out the whole story.  Curiously, my mother did not seem to understand the gravity of the situation.  She suggested I bring the skirt home and let her help me with it.  When I explained we were not allowed to take the project out of the classroom, my brilliant mother came up with another idea.  She suggested we go to the store, buy some more of the hideous happy face fabric, and make a whole new skirt.  For the first time in weeks, I thought I had a prayer of making it through the seventh grade.

The next night, we bought the new fabric and began work on the skirt.  After only a few moments, my mother saw how impossible the situation was. While she was too kind to scream in frustration or hint at her dismay, she was a very bright woman and I have to believe she recognized that the skirt would never be completed if she allowed me to keep working on it.  She took over the project.  She is a woman of conscience, so felt compelled to explain every step to me.  I nodded a lot and gratefully tried to look like I was learning something. 

The next hurdle was to decide how to get the skirt into class the next day.  As I was not supposed to take the unfinished garment out of the classroom, how was I going to get the finished garment into the classroom?  My mother stuffed the skirt into a brown paper bag and told me to just take it to class.  The next day, I contemplated how to do this surreptitiously.  I ended up wrapping the skirt and my jacket around each other into a ball and furtively separated them when I got to my seat.  No one paid any attention.  Now, I realize my mother was much wiser than I.  She knew no one else would either notice or care.  She suspected, quite correctly, that even the teacher would be relieved and grateful that the problem was solved. 

Even though I did not learn to sew in seventh grade Homemaking, I learned many other lessons.  First, I learned how to smuggle.  Secondly, I learned that there are many ways to approach problems and that there is more virtue in succeeding with someone else’s help than failing on your own.  Thirdly, I learned that it is okay that there are tasks that some of just are not cut out to do and we rarely rise or fall in life based on the ability to do one thing.  Lastly, and most importantly, I learned that my mother loved me very much.  I never did learn to learn to sew in the years of my life, but I have never forgotten how much my mother loved me.

So how do you like Wayback Wednesdays?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.

Have a wistfully wonderful Wednesday!

Terri/Dorry 😊

Growing Old Together In The Old South

Recently, Max and I celebrated our 25th anniversary in Savannah, Georgia.  Neither of us had been there previously, so it was a new chapter in our book of shared adventures.  In fact, we have never visited a place channeling the antebellum south before this trip to Savannah.  We both love history, but we have never been south of Williamsburg, Virginia. 

But wait, you may say… don’t you live in Florida?  Is there anyplace in the USA that is more south than Florida?  Before I lived in Florida, I would have had the same reaction.  In fact, it used to confuse me that the Miami Dolphins do not play in the AFC South division.  Again, how much more South can you get than Miami?  And every team that is in the AFC South division plays in a city north of Miami.   The Dolphins do play in the AFC East division, which I guess makes the same argument.  How much more East can you get than Miami? 

In reality, I think that the traditional South is a bit suspicious of Florida.  We Floridians are a different breed.  When you think “Florida,” I am not sure you think of sprawling, lazy plantations and oak trees dripping with Spanish moss.  I am okay with that.  I am not sure that the residents of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, or the Carolinas necessarily are.  Those of us who live in Florida must work harder to get a southern card. 

But I digress.  This blog is about our trip to Savannah, which is probably the most culturally southern city in the nation.  It is beautiful. Just being in Savannah was soul food.  Even though we did not invest substantial time on our trip visiting tourist attractions or engaging in outdoor recreational activities, we definitely vacated real life and lived in a different world for a few days.  The mood and atmosphere of Savannah is enriching.  The city just drips with culture and history like fresh biscuits drip with honey.  Walking around the squares and riding around on a sightseeing trolley is enough to allow that honey to stick Savannah to your fingers. 

It was different kind of trip for us.  Typically, when we vacation, we go to amusement parks, visit museums, see shows, and immerse ourselves in scheduled activities unique to our destination.  We have a great time, but we are definitely tourists.  I think we rarely experience much of our vacation destination’s real life.  I’m okay with that.  I like being a tourist. Max and I are not very adventurous, so it is comforting to fold ourselves into a planned and scheduled tourist culture when we travel rather than risk the trials and tribulations of real life.  We both also tend to be rather anxious people, concerned about making sure we do the “right” things and get the most out of a trip.  If we live as true tourists while we are in a strange city, we will probably manage to experience all the “important” famous sights.

On the other hand, sometimes it is better simply to be than to do.  In Savannah, we rented a beautiful old Victorian mansion from a private owner instead of going to a hotel.  We walked down the block several mornings to a popular local coffee shop for a beverage and pastry.  We went to a normal regional mall the day the weather torpedoed any kind of outdoor activity and compared the department store in Savannah to the same one in the mall in our town.  We strolled around Forsyth Park, petting neighborhood dogs and smiling at babies enjoying outings in jogging strollers.  One of my favorite stops on our travels around the city was a local jewelry store.  It was not famous.  It was not a traditional tourist attraction. I did not even buy anything except a Christmas tree decoration, as the store was too rich for my blood.  I still spent a very pleasant hour or so there- looking at pieces, trying them on, chatting with the friendly store manager.  In another situation, in another location, I might have felt awkward about the encounter as soon as I realized that I would not be purchasing any of the beautiful pieces the manager showed me. I am sure that the manager realized, after seeing my reaction to a few price tags, that I was not a serious buyer.  Still, she seemed to genuinely enjoy spending time with me, talking about our shared taste in jewelry, and examining the artistic, one-of-a-kind items.  She was more like a museum curator, passionate about sharing her collection with a visitor, than a salesperson.  I almost sent her a thank you note when I got home. 

Then there was the food.  Of course, we do enjoy dining out on every vacation.  Rarely, though, do I think of the food as a major factor in a vacation.  For one thing, I am a picky, unadventurous eater so unique regional food does not thrill me.  For another thing, we are usually so busy on vacations that we tend to eat around other planned activities rather than building our day around a restaurant.  In Savannah, food tended to be a marquis attraction each day.  From our coffee shop to the famous diner featured in the movie Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil, we ate superbly satisfying food.  The diner, though famous and able to attract customers because of its movie association, still had a healthy local trade… because the food was absolutely delicious.  I never knew pancakes could taste so heavenly.  We had our anniversary dinner at The Old Pink House restaurant.  The whole place was gorgeous and sublime.  The service was remarkable.  The food absolutely pole-vaulted over any expectations I might have had.  The first thing I noticed about the food was that it was like I had died and gone to Bread Heaven.  They served three different kinds of bread fit for royalty.  I would have been over the moon if I had just eaten bread.  I did not just eat bread, however.  I ate way more yummy salad, fried chicken, and green beans than my capacity to consume calories could handle.  Then, just because, we had dessert.  It was some sort of unlikely concoction of praline candy woven into a basket, filled with ice cream, caramel, guava jelly, and berries.  It was a burst of joy in my mouth.  I would say we only ate about a quarter of what was put in front of us, despite how wonderful it was.  There was just that much food. 

All in all, it was a fantastic way to celebrate our twenty-five years together.  Our twenty-five years together has been special and satisfying and sweet and spectacular in many ways.  Part of what has made our time together so mutually rewarding and supportive is the comfort that our traditions and shared memories provide.  We fit together well because we do approach things, even vacations, in similar ways most of the time.  Because we do tend to be a bit anxiety-prone, we love that we can enjoy sameness together.  Going on vacations that are planned, scheduled, and familiar helps us keep anxiety at bay and allows us to enjoy ourselves without stress. 

On the other hand, after twenty-five years, it is good to shake things up a bit.  I don’t see us ever falling off our foundation, but it is good to know that we can survive and thrive while exploring new adventures in new ways.   As we celebrated a milestone anniversary, marking a quarter of a century of shared history with each other, in Savannah, I realized that our couplehood is more versatile and adaptable than I realized.  Growing old together in the old South showed me that sometimes you must ease the grip on old memories to make new ones. 

Do you tend to go to the same places on vacation or are you more apt to pick a new place each time? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternate, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.

Me standing outside waiting for the trolley in Savannah
fountain at Forsyth Park
gazebo in one of Savannah’s beautiful squares
St. John the Baptist cathedral
All I could afford at the beautiful jewelry store I visited

Have a bright shiny new day!

Terri/Dorry 🙂

A Turkey Of A Year

As Thanksgiving approaches, it might be a little hard to get our thankful on this year.  With a worldwide pandemic dogging us since the end of 2019, civil unrest, economic crisis, a hurricane season that appears to be never-ending, fires and other natural disasters scorching the earth, and all the accompanying tragedies, it might seem tempting to cut our losses and just forget about the holiday this year.  Giving thanks might take a little more grace than usual this Thanksgiving.

Undoubtedly, the holiday will be different for many people this year.  Many people will not be gathering with family face-to-face, as they usually do.  Many traditional venues for holiday celebrating may be closed or operating much differently.  Many families who have suffered financial hardships this year may be struggling to provide peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, much less turkey dinners with all the trimmings.  Many people have lost beloved family members and friends to the coronavirus.  Others have lost good health.  We have all lost a certain measure of stability and security about what our world looks like and how we should live in it. 

While it may seem more natural to question the dismal state of the world than to give thanks, it may be that living through a period of crisis actually increases our need to give thanks.  I do not suggest that the coronavirus or any of the deeply troubling events of the past year are good or necessary.  I do not believe that there is an intrinsic goodness in hardship.  I do not subscribe to a “Pollyanna” school of thought, believing that people who are suffering should just “try to see the bright side.” I believe that hardships, gut-wrenching grief, and brokenness are real.  It is disingenuous to suggest a person can just “positive” them away.  These difficulties occur for a variety of reasons in the natural world.  Sometimes, these painful events are the consequences of the actions of people.  Sometimes, they are normal experiences that are natural processes happening in the circle of life.  I do not think we will ever understand the reasons for all the hard times we must face.  I do believe, however, that God takes the hardships of our lives and brings some good from them.  Without these momentary flutters of divine grace in the midst of our pain, we might not be able to bear the most fractured moments of this life. 

I have seen some divine grace moments over the past months.  They are like fleeting twinkles of stars in a dark, gloomy sky.  This year has sometimes felt like we were each all alone in the dark.  Having even a momentary twinkle is enough to keep me hoping for morning. 

Here are some of my twinkles this Thanksgiving:

  • I am thankful for the creativity, innovation, and hard work many people exhibit to help us live more comfortably and communally in a world that closed up shop.
  • I am thankful that people have used the time of separation to touch base with others.  It may be that some of the people we have been nurturing during the quarantine may be people who are often lonely and sad, even before the virus threat.  It is counterintuitive, but it is possible that the coronavirus connected us more than it separated us.
  • I am thankful for the generosity of people to those who have suffered financially during this past year.
  • I am thankful that the need to stay home gave me the time to publish a new book.
  • I am thankful for the quiet and comfort of my home. 
  • I am thankful that I was able to clean out all my closets and drawers.
  • I am thankful that the treatment protocols for COVID-19 have improved and that vaccine progress is hopeful.
  • I am thankful for my brothers and sisters in faith who hold me close to their hearts and inspire me with their journeys.
  • I am thankful for the internet, Zoom, email, texting, Facebook, and other virtual communication methods.
  • I am thankful that I will have a Thanksgiving dinner, even if it is not exactly like previous years.
  • I am thankful that God gave me blessings to share with others.  I am so much more aware of how much fun it is and how happy it makes me to sow God’s grace. 
  • Most of all, I am thankful that I am a beloved child of God. I can rely on his all-consuming love to comfort me in the heartbreaks of this life and to lead me to eternal joy in His presence when I am finished with the work He has for me to do. 

It certainly may be that giving thanks will take a little more grace this year.  The good news is that God always has more grace to provide.  Anyone want a second helping?

I don’t know if you caught that I was thankful that I had the opportunity to publish a book this year. If television commercials are to be believed, it seems the entire month of November is “black Friday” this year. In that spirit, I respectfully suggest you go to Amazon.com and buy many copies of Random (A)Musings by Dorry Curran to give as holiday gifts!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Terri/Dorry 🙂

Waiving Good-bye To Weird

I think it is fair to say that 2020 has been a very strange time, not only in MY STORY, but also in HISTORY.  It seems that I have spent the past seven months constantly reinventing my idea of normal.  I spent some time just waiting for things to get better and, when that did not happen, I found myself continually jerry-rigging the routines of my life to make them work during the COVID-19 pandemic.  I have become the MacGyver of real life.  I embraced Zoom to keep people connected.  I ordered curbside dining and balanced Styrofoam boxes on my steering wheel in order to keep patronizing restaurants. I wear make-up and jewelry and do my hair even though I am only traveling from the bathroom to the living room.  I went to Disney parks masked and sanitized at every turn- staying so far away from other patrons, I needed a carrier pigeon to communicate with them.  I invest in a lot of postage stamps to periodically send little surprises to my absent loved ones. I re-defined getting a COVID-19 test as a date, for heaven’s sake. 

Some folks would say I have invested way too much time and energy trying to solve problems that don’t really exist; that the activities I am trying to recreate could easily wait until after the world starts rotating properly on its axis again. 

On the other hand, I know that I do a lot of these things not because I must do those specific activities, but because I am chasing some semblance of “feeling normal”.  I am a person who is extremely motivated by steadiness and routine.  I am pretty risk and change adverse.  Spending nine months in a world that feels different every day in every way absolutely wears away at my sense of security.  In retrospect, I feel like I have done remarkably well in coping with the situation.  I have been able to manage my anxiety and depression level effectively most of the time. 

I have certainly had my days when I have had to make a deliberate effort to push back an attack of negativity from my brain, but mostly I am good.  I credit that emotional survival with continuing to try to build some weird, mutated version of normal life.  In essence, it is not the doing of these activities like meetings on Zoom or calling a COVID-19 test a date that is important.  It is the process of creating normalcy that is important for me. It is also important for me that the essence of myself does not drown in the ocean of apathy that threatens to engulf my quarantine life.  When it gets too easy and too normal to not communicate, not socialize, not look my best, and not have fun, I know bad things are bound to happen to my psyche.

Still, despite my super-human efforts to create normalcy out of weirdness, I have not been completely successful.  Masks, social distancing, hug prohibitions-  all remind me that, no matter what I do, life is not normal.  I am getting really tired of it, so I thought about when I have felt most normal during these past months.  What can I do to maximize those times?

As I thought about it, I realized that the times I felt most normal were the times when I was at the beach.  A couple of friends and I took an overnight trip to Fernandina Beach this spring.  Max and I went to Daytona Beach a month or so ago.  Recently, a friend and I went to Clearwater Beach.  That is probably more beach activity than I have had in one year for as long as I can remember.  It has been remarkably helpful. 

At the beach, people can stay six feet away from each other easily.  In fact, even before COVID-19, I would not be closer than six feet away from any other beach visitor.  No one needs to wear a mask because we are outside and physically distant.  There is nothing less claustrophobic than looking out into the vastness of the ocean.  Hearing the sea birds and the waves, smelling the seaweed, tasting the salt in the air, feeling the cool water on my skin… all these things help me remember how big and beautiful the world is.  I remember looking out at the ocean as I walked through the waves on Daytona Beach and thinking it was like a treasure chest filled with emeralds and aquamarines and teal tourmalines… so many beautiful, sparkling blue and green gems twinkling at me. 

All three of my beach visits were this rejuvenating.  I bought a shirt in Fernandina Beach that says, “Salt Water Heals Everything.”  That may not be completely true, but, for me, salt water does seem to heal the COVID-19 blues.  At the beach, I can wave good-bye to weird. 

Is there a special place you go to “get back to basics” and feel at least a little normal? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.

Have a weird-free day!

Terri/Dorry 🙂

Silver Moments

Today marks 25 years since I met Max.  This week, we are celebrating a milestone- our silver anniversary.  As most people do, we have been through a wide variety of experiences and emotions and relationship wrinkles since we met 25 years ago.  While I would not have imagined the life I have now with him at the time I met him, I knew there was something special and fated between us from the first time we met.  The past 25 years have been precious.  He is one of the greatest gifts and blessings of my life.

Twenty-five years are made up of many, many moments that weave together to create a shared life. There are so many moments that shine like silver in my heart that I cannot possibly relate all of them.  In honor of our 25th anniversary, however, I would like to share 25 “especially special” moments.  They are our silver moments.

  1. The night I met Max, I was doing homework assigned by my dating coach.  Yes, I was so determined to find a healthy relationship, I actually paid for private dating lessons.  My coach suggested that I attend what I lovingly call the “pudgy people’s dance.”  A local organization dedicated to chubby chicks and chub-chasing men offered regular dance parties to allow those of us with a few (okay, maybe more than a few) extra pounds to mix and mingle.  Now, I was not at the weight class that would interest reality television, but I certainly was (and still am) more to love.  For the first time in my life, I was extremely popular that night. When Max first asked me to dance, there was an immediate, organic attraction on every level.  I never experienced anything like it.  In retrospect, it was like some part of me knew that there was something wonderful and lasting between us.  I remember how he looked.  I remember what I wore.  I remember how his arms and chest felt when he danced with me. I remember how he made me feel.
  • When Max first came to my home, my dog, Luci, was extremely excited.  Truthfully, she was not the most discerning of creatures.  She pretty much loved everyone.  However, the way Max reacted to her showed me how special he is.  Every time he visited, he brought her treats.  When we sat snuggled together on the couch, Luci would often jump up and squeeze herself in between us.  Max was never annoyed.  He laughed. I think he found it charming.
  • About a month after we met, I asked Max to come over for Christmas Eve dinner.  He brought a boy teddy bear and a girl teddy bear.  He told me their names were MaxBear and TerriBear.  In the years that followed, Max bought me many beautiful gifts.  Many were much more expensive than MaxBear and TerriBear, but none are more valuable.  They moved with us to Florida and still snuggle up together every day.
  • Max took me to meet his family a week or so after our first Christmas together.  This was significant because his father was struggling through his last days of life.  He would lose his battle with cancer just a few days later. Max thanked me for supporting him during this time.  I thanked him for doing me the honor of including me in his family circle.  He told me that he remembered me saying at one point that it bothered me that my last boyfriend never introduced me to his family, even after several years of dating.  He did not want to hurt me in that way.
  • Max and I went dancing often in the first few years of our relationship.  He flew me around the dance floor with skill and passion.  Dancing was important to him and he created a partnership with me. People even applauded when we danced together.
  • Max and I would often snuggle together with the lights off, watching old movies on the second floor of his house.  It was always cool, if not cold, in his house. It felt intimate and cozy to share the space- filling it with our warm hearts.
  • It took Max a long time to decide to cohabitate.  He was sure that he would do something to undermine the relationship if we were together all the time.  Even once we did agree to move in together, he tested the waters to make sure that it was going to be okay.  About two weeks before he was supposed to move in, he got angry over something to do with the tv remote control and threw it across the room.  It seemed so transparently a contrived act to see how I would react, I almost laughed.  Since then, I believe he has only thrown one other thing across the room- his work cell phone. I was also ready to pitch the darn thing.
  • Max introduced me to luxury.  Neither of us has a lot of money.  Both of us have lived through hard financial times.  Neither of us are spendthrifts.  Max introduced me, however, to the idea of up-spending for the sake of getting something more lush or upscale than necessary.  He buys me nice handbags. He buys me blankets made of luxury fabrics.  We stay in large, comfortable, upscale lodgings when we travel. He bought me some Chanel #5.  All of these are occasional treats. They do not interfere with our financial stability or charitable giving.  I do not think I ever would have gone beyond Walmart handbags, cotton throws, value resort rooms, or Bath and Body Works scent except for him. 
  • From the day Max moved in, we were living in a different vibe.  It was instant family.
  1. Max indulged me by going to Disney World with me for the first time in 2003.  He was a real trouper all throughout our six-day forced march through the humidity across the World.  He made several more trips with me.  He understood the importance of being close to Disney when deciding where to move in retirement.  When asked what his favorite thing about Disney is, he says that he enjoys it, but that his very favorite thing is how happy it makes me. 
  1. The night my father had his sudden fatal heart attack, Max stayed on the phone with me throughout my 70-mile drive to go see him before he died.
  1.  Max wrote me a love poem once.
  1.  Max picks beautiful, sentimental greeting cards for all occasions and he remembers all our milestone dates.
  1.  When my Luci went to doggie heaven, Max took care of the process after she slipped away and, when it was all over, spooned next to me on the bed and held me while I cried out my grief.
  1.  Max paid storage fees for years while we were living together in California because he did not want me to feel like I had to get rid of anything I wanted to keep just to make room for him.  Several times, I suggested we would not need the storage or the amount of storage if I just tossed the things I had not touched for months or years.  Every time, Max demurred, insisted he wanted me to be comfortable.
  1.  Max was first in line to buy the debut copy of each book I published.
  1. For years, Max lugged boxes upon boxes of Christmas decorations from and to the storage building, up and down two flights of stairs, just because he knew I loved Christmas.
  1. Max constantly tells me I am perfect.  I know I am not perfect, but he makes me believe I am perfect for him.
  1. During our first trip to Hawaii together, Max strove to provide a romantic experience for me.  The first time I ever went to Hawaii, I went by myself.  I remember thinking it was the most beautiful place in the world, the most romantic place in the world, and the loneliest place in the world if one was without a mate.  Our real version of the romantic Hawaii experience was not the same as my fantasy, but it was still very romantic.  We laughed and relaxed and shed our adult personas.  My favorite bracelet is still the Hawaiian heirloom gold bracelet he bought me on that trip to commemorate our romance.
  • While I was journeying with my mother during the last, broken year of her life, Max made a concerted effort every day, all the time, to say and do the right things to help and support me. He did not find the right thing every time.  In fact, there were times when there was no right thing.  Most of the time, he did find the right note.  It was the fact that he was trying so hard and so consistently that made the moments silver for me.
  •  We converse in movie quotes (“You people don’t deserve a good king like me”), inside jokes (how old are you? I’m free), pet names (Little Bear), and little rituals (playing elf on the shelf, bouncing on beds) as part of our everyday life together.    These are things that make sense to only the two of us and they are things that enrich our couplehood. 
  •  On one of the rare occasions when Max and I disagreed over a big issue, I was uncomfortable and sad that we were on different pages.  When I expressed to him that I felt so awkward and awful about the state of affairs that it was hard for me to even talk about it, he reassured me, saying that disagreement did not discount love and the fact that we disagreed did not mean that he did not love me.
  •  Max regularly cuddles me, rubs my back, and scratches my neck until I purr like a kitten. 
  •  Max often looks at me with a warmth and awe that seems to say, “I cannot believe I am lucky enough to see you every day.”
  •  Max and I read devotionals and pray together daily.  We worship together in online services and he has started attending my church with me once a month.

There are many, many more moments like these.  Even these “moments” really represent more than moments; they constitute whole galaxies of instances that weave together to support our love.  These are just some of our silver moments.  In fact, they are not just silver moments.  They are silver moments trimmed with gold, wrapped up with a platinum ribbon.

Happy Anniversary, my love…

From the luckiest bear in the world!

How Much Patience Must A Patient Have?

This is not a tongue-twister.  It is a temporal lobe twister. 

Recently, I entered an endocrinological perfect storm. The experience left me wondering whether it is time for me to raise my medical expectations. 

When I moved to Florida from California, I had to find a new endocrinologist to manage my diabetes and thyroid issues.  I looked for a doctor close to my new home but found only one.  The online reviews for this doctor were not stellar, to say the least.  In fact, he sounded downright mean… or, at least, curt.  For reasons I am not going to bother to explain here, I have a hard time going to see doctors in the best of circumstances. I was certainly not anxious to see the endocrinologist whose reviews made him sound like the medical version of Simon Legree.  I widened my search and ended up selecting a doctor in Orlando, which is about 40 miles from where I live.  I know that is a bit far to travel but the doctor’s name was Dr. Steady (not his real name, but a synonym of it).  For anyone who has diabetes, the quest to keep blood sugar levels stable is the holy grail.  How could I not select someone called Dr. Steady?  

Dr. Steady also had excellent reviews.  My visits to the office for the past five years have been efficient, relatively painless experiences. Dr. Steady always concluded a visit by telling me I was too healthy to be there.  I only go a few times a year, so the commute was not that big a deal. In fact, it was kind of pleasant taking a trip to the “big city” every few months.  I felt very sophisticated and precious.  

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  I realized I was running out of my blood sugar stabilization medication.  Now, in my world, I would always have at least 30 days’ worth of drugs on hand so as not to worry about running short.  However, insurance companies tend not to think that way.  They only let me get a new supply when I am down to 10 days or less of the old prescription.  I think they figure I could die in the interim and they would have wasted the money paying for medication that I would never take.  Still, 10 days really should be long enough to get a prescription refilled. 

I called the pharmacy to order the refill and they indicated they would need to contact the doctor to get an authorization for the prescription renewal.  I had an appointment scheduled, but not until a few weeks after I would run out of pills.  I waited two days, then called the pharmacy.  They told me that they had not heard from the doctor’s office.  I called the doctor’s office, who told me that they had submitted the authorization.  They said they would send it again.  The next morning, I called the pharmacy again and they said that they had not heard from the doctor’s office but would resubmit the request.  The next day, I called the pharmacy again.  Again, they told me they had not heard from the doctor’s office.  I called the doctor’s office.  At that point, I was completely out of medication.  The doctor’s office swore to me that they were submitting the authorization while I was on the phone.  

Apparently, the problem stemmed from the fact that the doctor’s electronic prescription service only works within Orlando.  Since I was needing the prescription authorized in my town, which is apparently in an international zip code as far as the doctor’s office is concerned, the electronic system did not work.  Never mind that the doctor’s office has been handling my prescriptions for over five years.  For some reason, despite my numerous, increasingly more desperate pleas for drugs, someone just kept pushing the computer button.  What is the definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?  I do not like to cast aspersions, but I think an insane person must have been trying to authorize my prescription.  

Six days into this process of medical musical chairs, I completely ran out of medication.  I was going cold turkey.  Although my blood sugar levels were certainly higher than they normally are, I was able to keep them reasonable by exercise and consuming only about 1100 calories a day.  This was not a mood-enhancing system, I assure you.  I also felt like crap all the time.  I felt exhausted, headache-y, and weak.  I had this strange sensation that there were two incredible forces pushing from both within and outside my body, in conflict with one another.  I felt like I was going to spontaneously crumble, as if hit by The Invisible Ray (for those of you who have not seen this old Karloff/Lugosi movie, you might want to check it out.) I am surprised I remained conscious.  The only hopeful sign was that I was able to keep my blood sugar level beneath a dangerous range.  As the days crept by, one broken promise after another, I did almost surrender.  It really seemed a lot easier to die than to continue the fight for Janumet. 

At one point a couple of years ago, Dr. Steady suggested the possibility that I might be able to go off the medication because I was doing so well.  I was excited because Janumet is expensive.  When he made no mention of going off the medication at my next visit, I asked him about it. He explained that he had thought better of the idea because I was doing so well on it.  He said that, if I went off the medication and my blood sugar got out of whack, it would be much harder to get it back in whack.  At the time, I was disappointed.  Now, I see the wisdom of that decision.  I think we have all learned now that going off the medication is not a good option for me. 

Finally, on Monday (ten days after I originally called in the prescription) afternoon, I confirmed with the pharmacy that they received the authorization.  They told me they would fill it the next day.  On Tuesday, I called and found out that the pharmacy had none of the drug I needed, so they had to order it.  I could expect the prescription to be ready around eleven on Wednesday. 

On Wednesday morning, my blood sugar elevated into the danger zone.  I was able to work it down with exercise and famine, but it was concerning.  I did not hear from the pharmacy on Wednesday, so I went in to see them at around 3.  At that point, my next stop was going to be the emergency room.  I was back in the “safe” zone on the blood sugar, but I still felt horrible and I was no longer able to keep hope alive.

You guessed it. The drug did not arrive in the pharmacy’s order.  The pharmacy tech, to her credit, knew desperation when she saw it.  She got on the phone and found me a 30-day supply at another pharmacy about 15 miles down the road.  I got back in the car and headed to the other pharmacy, fully expecting there to be yet another problem.  Happily, they did sell me my drugs and I downed one immediately.  I am still re-whacking my blood sugar levels several days later, but all evidence seems to point to recovery with no lasting consequences.

No lasting consequences to me, that is.  For the endocrinologist, not so much.  You remember that local endocrinologist that sounded mean in his reviews?  It turns out that a friend of mine has been seeing him for several months and really likes him.  I decided to fire the Orlando doctor and risk possible curtness.

I called his office to make an appointment yesterday.  The office is closed all week.  Heavy sigh.  I am in the medical twilight zone. 

Just to quell any alarm this blog may generate, please know that I wrote in a few weeks ago.  I am now safely back on my drugs and managing my blood sugar well. 

As we age, health concerns seem to loom much larger than they did in our younger years.  What tips and tricks do you employ to keep as healthy as possible in your “more than ready for prime time” years?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com

Have a healthy day!

Terri/Dorry

Welcome To My Pity Party

I am well and truly sick of the coronavirus.  I have resisted succumbing for many months, but I now suffer from a severe case of covid fatigue.  A couple of days ago, I was feeling especially restless and frustrated.  I made the mistake of googling “will the coronavirus ever end?” If you are struggling to keep your head above the cooties, I do not recommend googling this question.  The articles that estimated the duration of the pandemic uniformly suggested that we will not hear the end of the virus until the third or fourth quarter of 2021.  In other words… ANOTHER WHOLE YEAR!!!

I have been depressed ever since I read this prediction.  I do not know if I can handle another year of this half-assed version of normal the world is simulating.

  • I am sick of breathing through a mask.
  • I am sick of muffled communication.  It is so difficult to hear people and to speak intelligibly through a mask, it often seems easier to just not talk at all.
  • I am sick of having bad hair days every day.  The mask is 2020’s version of a hat… once you put one on, you had better keep it on because removing a mask that has been plastered to your head leaves your hair flattened and bent at all kinds of unnatural and unflattering angles .
  • I am sick of events being cancelled… the butterfly release at my church, my trip to New York, the Candlelight Processional at Epcot, the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom, the Royal Canin dog show spectator activities, and the list goes on.
  • I am sick of not hugging people.
  • I am sick of looking for logical consistency in circumstances that are not conducive to logical consistency.
  • I am sick of constantly having to rethink routines and old ways of accomplishing things.
  • I am sick of feeling like everyone I love is so far away from me.  I feel isolated from even those who are nearby.
  • I am sick of researching coronavirus statistics in search of definitive good news and trying to be satisfied with small, sporadic victories.

This is just a partial list of things I am sick of.  (Yes, I know that you should not end a sentence with a preposition, but I am too sick and tired to care!) Truthfully, the list is endless.  Just as I think I have reconciled myself to one kick in the gut, something I never even thought about rises to the surface of my reality.

I think I have always been a grateful person and I think that I still am, even in the midst of corona crazy.  I know how blessed I am in every way.  I know that God uses even the worst situation to build and create wonderful results, so I trust that this time of challenge will yield some positive outcomes. I have been stalwart in trying to keep people engaged and connected.  Every time a challenge has presented itself, I have endeavored to be part of the solution instead of just whining about the problem. 

Now, however, I seem to be a bit stuck in the slog.  I do not seem to be able to get myself out of it.  I desperately want a break from challenge, but I have not been able to find a place to really accomplish that.

I may have found an answer last Sunday at worship service.  As I listened to the readings, one particular passage, Philippians 4:7-9, punched me in the soul.  It says:

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

During the sermon, the rector talked about how difficult and antagonistic the world can be.  He suggested that there is no real place in which to take a break from challenge in this world.  However, in allowing my mind to focus on whatever is pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy rather than the anxieties and difficulties of the world, the God of peace will be with me.  I do not think God wants me to avoid challenges at this difficult time. I think His will for me is to meet those challenges with an approach that is pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.  In that way, I can give glory to His name, benefit His people, and grow my own relationship with Him.  I must not only remember all I have learned of God and focus on sacred excellence.  I must also put it into practice.

So, I am still sick and tired of the aspects of the world that are not pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy.  I do not understand the way the world is turning just now.  I do not understand why things cannot go back to normal.  I cannot understand why everything must be so hard.  However, Philippians 4:7-9 tells me that I do not need to understand because the peace of God is much more powerful than understanding.  Perhaps the answer to my “sick and tired of being sick and tired” tirade is to dump the anxiety and exhaustion of the world and let God carry it alone for a little bit while I focus on the pure and lovely!

What do you do when you get sick and tired of covid challenges?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative,  you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.

Have a pure and lovely day!

Terri/Dorry 😊