A long time ago when I had three children ages four and younger, a wise friend gave me some great advice. At that kind of intense season of life, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated by the things that you just can’t get done – some of them seemingly simple and therefore all the more frustrating.
My friend saw me in my fatigue and discouragement and said, “Sue, focus on the can, not on the can’t”. She also encouraged me that the things that seemed impossible (like showering) would return to being possible in their time.
That advice – to focus on the “can” – has served me well even as my kids have grown and I can take a shower whenever I want to. It is serving me now through these pandemic days and months, and I expect that perspective to serve me as we emerge from this time.
As we approach the holidays, many of us are feeling the burden of the things we cannot do this year. We can’t travel. We can’t raise a glass with friends. We can’t do group carol singing. We can’t hug the people we meet.
What CAN we do? This is the spirit we need to embrace as we celebrate a season of love and togetherness in isolation times. We can call our loved ones on the telephone. Remember the telephone? We can send cards in the mail – yes with stamps and everything. We can Zoom chat or FaceTime. We can create challenges that everyone can complete in their own spaces and then compare results. We can watch livestream events together-apart. We can sing for each other through online connections.
Within our home bubbles we can play cards and board games and video games. We can read out loud to one another. We can sing. We can bake. We can go around our neighbourhoods and look at Christmas lights.
I don’t know what it will look like at your house, but at mine, I will continue to focus on the “can”. Even though the “can’t” sneaks in and hurts – I won’t deny it – I won’t dwell there. We have a choice friends. And my choice is to shine the best I can in this month of long nights. I hope you will choose the same.