Over the past few months, in the midst of huge life changes, people have shown me tremendous support. One advantage to being alone during a pandemic, without the distraction of the world out there, is that I have had lots of time to think and reflect. There’s been a lot to reflect on. Through conversations with friends, the often hard work of therapy and a lot of reading, I have acquired some wonderful wisdom. I could probably spend a year unpacking all of the wisdom shared with me.
One of the words of wisdom shared with me is that nothing is permanent. That is both good news and bad news. Whatever we are going through, it will change.
This is so important for all of us to remember. We are in the midst of a global crisis and it feels like our world will never feel normal again. But it will. Not the way it did before, but in a way that is different. This is good news. We can be assured that this feeling of isolation won’t last forever.
When we are experiencing a wonderful time in our lives, filled with joy and wonder, we can get so caught up in wondering what is next that we forget this moment will not last forever. So take the time to fully appreciate those joyful moments. You will need them when times change and your life becomes more challenging. Let’s be present in those moments that strengthen us and our relationships.
And on those days when the world seems far too heavy, when it is barely possible to get out of bed, know that this is not permanent either. There is hope on the other side of the darkness. Hold on.
The truth is, I have not always followed this advice. I thought my marriage would last forever. It didn’t. When I first moved out, I was in a lot of pain. I thought the pain would never go away. It did. Not paying attention to where I am in the moment and recognizing it will change has led to unnecessary suffering and missed memories.
And now? Now I just want to appreciate the time I have with my kids, and the time I have alone. I tend to get super focused on where I am right now, and convince myself it will never change. And when things are going well, I like that feeling. But because I believe it will always feel that way, I fail to acknowledge it will change one day. And when things are not going so well, I am convinced it will never change, and life will always feel hard and unfair. But I know that is not true.
Thirteen years ago, I travelled to Taiwan with a group of people from Ontario to teach at an English Language camp at a school called Putai Elementary and Junior High School. The school was next door to and run by a Buddhist Monastery. It was one of the greatest adventures of my life and I learned way more than I taught anyone. One of the lessons I will never forget came from a kind monk who reminded us that the world changes every moment. Nothing is ever permanent. The world is different with every breath.
So this morning while my children sleep, I will remember that I won’t always have them in the next room. I will appreciate every second I get to spend with them. This may not be the Canada Day we hoped for but even that isn’t permanent. Next Canada Day will be different. We will find our fun without large gatherings or fireworks.
I will remember that yesterday I barely got out of bed, frozen with fear about the future. But today is a new day and here I am, up, drinking coffee and writing.
I wish each of you a wonderful Canada Day. Enjoy time together. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Reach out if you need help or if you are stuck. Stay connected. This has been a tough time. But we will get through it. And nothing is permanent.