It feels like we’ve been at this a long time. We are getting used to it, but it’s tiresome. What’s next? No one knows? How do we make plans? We can’t.
My mom used to tell me that when she was raising her family, as soon as a special event ended or after they returned home from a trip, she would start to make plans for the next trip or the next event. Having something special in mind to look forward to made the everyday easier to bear; a light at the end of the tunnel, as it were.
This from a woman who raised six kids and in those days typically didn’t travel further than Cut Knife, Saskatchewan or maybe a dance competition in Moose Jaw.
How do we look forward to the light at the end of the tunnel when we have no idea when the light will arrive or where it will lead us? How do we make progress when we can’t move forward?
What do we do when progress stops?
There are lots of people of course who don’t have the time or the luxury to worry about what’s next. Those currently facing huge challenges to their health or their livelihood are spending all their time and energy trying to survive.
For others, it’s a waiting game. Safe and secure in the present, we are at a loss how to behave without the constant satisfaction of getting things done, of making progress. Sure we can find chores and tasks to check off our to-do list. Often these are things that needed to get done but nothing that is necessarily propelling us forward.
Drudgery. Repetition. Busywork.
The other evening I commented about the “groundhog day” feeling I have each night after dinner as once again the kids bickered about the dishes and my husband and I talked about how we might pass the time that evening. “I can’t believe we are all sitting around the dinner table again, with no where to go and nothing to do,” I said.
“I know,” my husband replied. “Isn’t it great”?
He’s right. It is great. There are so many moments between drudgery and progress, between stillness and rushing. Time has expanded. I feel less like I need to do more with all this time. Instead I need to make more of this time. Notice the moments as I live them. Commit to them fully whether I am teaching a class or writing an email or lying on the rug with my kids and my dog.
This is the moment. This is the light in the tunnel. This is the main event. Live it well.