Lessons Learned While Sheltering in Place

 

Prayers, thoughts and connections from friends and family (near and far) do matter.

In times of crises, regardless of age, you want to call your mom.

We don’t keep as much food in our house as we did previously.

It is difficult to walk 10,000 steps when you can’t leave your house.

Our day to day fears do not always match reality.  

Spring has sprung in New England and it is time to smell the roses (and notice the forsythia).

Einstein and the Chasidic Rabbi were right.  Everything is relative.

Time passes in uneven increments.  Sunrise and Sunset are what matter most.

We live under the illusion that we know what is next, but we actually have no idea.  All we have is the present

Most of humanity is good.

Image

 Above are the lessons learned standing on one foot. The rest of this post is commentary: 

The first indicator could have been the silence.  Friday, April 19th was the 3rd Friday of the month. In our neighborhood in Cambridge, 3rd Fridays mean street cleaning. On street cleaning mornings, the bullhorns start early and continue intermittently for an hour or two.  “Street Cleaning.  No parking on the even side of the street, street cleaning no parking n the even side of the street”.  Loud and persistent.

On Friday I woke to beeps and rings, rather than bullhorns. Phone calls and text messages telling me to stay in my house.  For the next many hours, I followed those orders.   In those hours, I learned some new lessons and was reminded of some I already knew. 

1) Prayers, thoughts and connections from friends and family (near and far) do matter. 

 The messages poured in all day in so many forms. Each and every one of them made me feel connected, less isolated and bit more hopeful.  Although no one who checked in could actually do anything about the situation, it was reassuring (and a bit scary) to realize that all around the world I was being cared about. 

2) In times of crises, regardless of age, you want to call your mom. 

If your mom is alive you understand this.  If your mom is no longer alive, you really understand this.

3) We don’t keep as much food in our house as we did previously.

It was remarkable to me how little food we actually had in the house. The freezer, fridge and cupboards are pretty empty as I shop day to day at this phase of our lives.  I did scrounge up a half a half a Challah, half an onion, some old peppers, a can of tomato sauce,  some frozen pasta, and a bottle of wine which turned into a very nice dinner.  However, it also made me realize, in a profound way, that this is a common experience for many in our midst who never have food in their pantries nor the luxury of going to the market whenever they desire. 

4) It is difficult to walk 10,000 steps when you can’t leave your house. 

Although exercise has not always been one of my favorite things, I have become a fitbitaddict the past few weeks. On Friday, I realized how blessed I am s to have the freedom and the ability walk 10,000 steps a day.  This past week that freedom was taken away from many in a horrific fashion and my legs and the ability to walk freely are feeling very precious.

 5) Our day to day fears do not always match reality. 

Thursday night I walked to  dinner a mile from home and contemplated walking home.  I chose not to, but certainly not because I thought the Boston Marathon Bombers were ready to, once again, wreak havoc on the neighborhood.  The fears that kept me from walking home were much more mundane and familiar.

6) Spring has sprung in New England and it is time to smell the roses (and notice the forsythia).

Outside our family room window is a beautiful forsythia in full bloom.  I opened that single blind and stared at the forsythia periodically through the day.  It was a respite for my eyes from the many screens to which I was glued. The forsythia reminded me to make sure and look around this week to all that is blossoming and blooming in our midst. Spring is a short season in New England and is easy to miss.

7) Einstein and the Chasidic Rabbi were right.  Everything is relative.

I was reminded of the Chasidic tale of the mother who complains to the Rabbi about her chaotic household.  She is told by the Rabbi to bring all of her animals into the house and then one at a time remove them.  After the animals are removed, her house feels calm although the children are still running around and nothing has changed.  Since Friday, the world has felt  safe to me and my crazy life has felt calm.  A reminder that everything is relative.

8) Time passes in uneven increments.  Sunrise and Sunset are what matter most.

Time followed a strange trajectory.  It was not broken up by hour long appointments or meetings that began or ended at a particular time.  Some minutes went very slowly and others flew by.  All day there was an undercurrent and backdrop of knowing that sunset would arrive and that would change everything.

9) We live under the illusion that we know what is next, but we actually have no idea.  All we have is the present.

My days are usually orderly, moving from point A to point B following what is in my calendar.  On Friday I truly felt that I had no idea what was going to happen next.  Did I have time to take a shower?  What if we were going to be evacuated? Was my wallet nearby?  This day brought a heightened awareness of the fact that regardless of our plans, we never really know what is next.

10) Most of humanity is good. 

Although the world has some bad guys in it, most of humanity is good.  So many people were trying  to do the right thing, so many put themselves in harms way to save others,  so many are searching for ways to say “thank you” to the first responders. Although this week of terror wreaked havoc on our lives, I believe it also helped us realize the beauty and specialness of those around us every day.

All  in all a surreal week culminating in an even more surreal day – a day I hope to not repeat.  Yet, the beauty of life is that, in the midst of one of the most challenging days our beloved Boston has ever experienced, there was much to celebrate and much to learn. 

 

 

 

This post has been contributed by a third party. The opinions, facts and any media content are presented solely by the author, and JewishBoston assumes no responsibility for them. Want to add your voice to the conversation? Publish your own post here.