I never would have thought when we first got the warnings about Covid19 and the need to wear masks and shelter in that my husband and I would still be in this mode in mid-August. On one of my walks last week, I was feeling stifled and somewhat dismayed at the claustrophobic feelings I get some days. I was hoping to see deer on my walk, as they always give me a happy feeling. Something about them seems sweet and peaceful and like they are just enjoying the moment.
Well, I didn’t see deer, but I spotted this beautiful, bright red flower in the middle of a weed patch. And then the thought came to me: “Should I focus on the weeds, or this vibrant flower?” And then I envisioned how our country is struggling with patches of “weeds”: the coronavirus, political unrest, divisiveness, uncertainty about masks or no masks, questions of how to get our kids back to school.
The other day we were sitting on the front terrace visiting with family, social distancing and wearing our masks when someone from across the street yelled at us, “Why are you wearing those masks? They don’t make any difference!” Now the weeds are right across the street!
As a psychotherapist for many years, a most important tool in my toolbox while working with clients was to see how we could take whatever difficulties they were experiencing and see how we could reframe it. The negative thoughts around their crises were understandable, and yet if they stayed there, there was no immediate remedy for their situation. When we could identify a way to reframe the problem, the darkness diminished and options became more apparent. Hopefulness replaced despair.
So, back to my weed patch. That bright flower can represent the thoughtfulness I see in others these days. The respect I feel when friends visit wearing their masks. The gratitude I feel for long, spirited phone calls, and for upbeat hellos from our neighbors walking by. Grateful for face time and zoom so we can see family we haven’t seen in months. Appreciation for our priest who says mass every week and puts it online so we can continue to be spiritually fed. Grateful for times my husband and I get creative in the kitchen and it often becomes an entertaining highlight of the day. It would seem that gratitude is an antidote for the spread of “weeds”
I recently read a book wherein two of the characters adapted three words to fortify them when they faced life’s challenges. Those words were “Strong, Brave and Kind”. I would add the word “Grateful.” Those words can fuel one’s resilience, inspire hope and create more peace in our hearts.
Wishing you days of finding vibrant flowers!