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By Laurel Pattenden

The calendar is empty but it is amazing how I feel like I am living the life of a whirling top. Spinning. Around and around, doing what I am not sure. I know it is not laundry, and yet I thought at least at this time, I would catch up. It is not housework because I am not looking at a spotless house. Even though the calendar is empty I still seem to have a to-do-list that is just as long as before.

When the shutters came down in Ontario, I thought of all the books I would finally read. A pile of books on how to write. Books I am sure you would like me to read (pronto!), just to save you from my disjointed sentences, books that remain piled. Large art projects remain unfinished and no new ones started.

Instead, I had been doing endless scurrying about. Playing Scrabble online. How much Scrabble can one play during a pandemic? Studying grocery lists and reading them twice before submitting for a home delivery. Tense that I forgot something and will have to wait a week or so to place the next order. Who knew how intense grocery shopping would become? Walking most days in our large yard, albeit, in a circle. We all know this feeling.

This new angst in our lives.

Then I got the call from my cardiologist informing me that I have the mild beginnings of heart failure. Medications to take along with lifestyle changes. It all felt like too much. How about you? Is “this time” feeling like too much?

“This time” has pushed unwanted limits on us and pulled the everydayness, perhaps dreariness, of our lives to the forefront. The virus has become a bully in our lives, pushing and pulling, and making us ache in places we have never felt sore before. Our world has tilted and we are off center.

So what can I do to stop spinning? How can I find a new center in my life? I need to stop lamenting my endless circle walks and rejoice in the virtual, Facetime walks with my grandson. Watching him, at three and a half, walk the trails on a beautiful B.C. island several times a week. His dad picking him wild flowers along the way.

I need to stop lamenting the laundry and the household chores. Start to rejoice in gratitude the ordinary, daily life. Like monks in a cloistered life.

I need to stop lamenting the halt on visiting and realize there has been no restrictions placed on visiting God.

I need to stop lamenting my frail heart. We need to stop lamenting because we all have frail hearts now.

The writers of the Psalms lamented when their worlds were turned upside down. However, the difference is that they would always end their laments with lifting up their hearts to God with praise. Finding a renewed strength in God. So, I need to stop lamenting without the praise. We will always lament but we don’t always praise. Perhaps, the psalmists knew that it’s the praise that keeps the world from tilting.

So, shall we sing together after our lamenting. Will you join me?

Laurel is retired and likes to spend her time in her art studio.

I see trees of green
Red roses too
I see them bloom
For me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

I see skies of blue
And clouds of white
The bright blessed day
The dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world
Oh yeah

*Louis Armstrong lyrics