During the lockdown of 2021---or was it 2020? It doesn’t matter. A lockdown is a lockdown and unless someone has a soulmate to play with and a good cable package lockdowns are boring and scary and add pounds in places where you don’t need it. Life stuck at home because of a world-wide pandemic left me longing for some place to go, something to do. Well, now I’ve got places to go and things to do and I can’t believe I’m saying this but there is too much on the smorgasbord of activities here at the continuum care complex. Take today for example I had my choice of any or all of the below activities:
9:00 Cardio Drumming class
10:00 Coffee and Conversation
12:30 The Gravity of Joy lecture
1:30 Stretch and Flex class
4:00 Tailgate party
6:00 Game Room night
In addition to the above I had an hour’s worth of homework to do for my Stronger Memory class plus I had to pick up my mail and the book for the next club discussion, and fit lunch and dinner into the mix not to mention that I’ve been obsessed with finishing a jigsaw puzzle of all yellow pencils (up above). I’ve done this puzzle every winter for 13-14 years but it’s never taken me this long before. I’m on my fifth (and probably final) day. The memory quilt puzzle (pictured below) took me a day and a half. There are at least three others living in here who have puzzle tables and there is one in the game room where it’s a group effect to put one together. But a long-ago experience doing a communal puzzle makes me stay away from them. I'd spent a lot of time sorting pieces by color then the next day someone came along and sorted them over again by some other criteria that baffled my mind.
I discovered the other puzzle people at a party I went to on Sunday, a joint effort by Auntie Mame and my neighbor (not Scottie dog’s mom). This one lives at on the other side of my hall. She’s a widow barely three years out and she still struggles a bit with her loss. She has one of the biggest apartments in the complex, three bedrooms and fantastic views of the lake and her deck connects with the public piazza. I’d hate the latter but she says she’s very social and it’s the feature of her apartment that she loves the best. These two ladies put on a spread and wine bar you wouldn’t believe and there were probably 20-25 people in attendance…all of us who frequent the cafe and farmhouse table on a regular basis. Other than the fact that I kept thinking it was a breeding ground for Covid, it was fun. At least two people at the party had been on airplanes a day or two before the party and not a single person was wearing a mask. We all had to be vaccinated before making our final payment to move in here but still, people have gotten the new variance with their shots and boosters. Time will tell if it was fool-hearted to go to a party.‘The Gravity of Joy’ presentation was giving by the author of a book by the same name, Angela Williams Gorrell, and was about her search “for authentic Christian joy as she reflects on our collective need for a counter-agent to despair.” Yes, I know, agnostic me was worried I’d stand out like a heathen with a big red ‘A’ painted on my forehead, but I never pass up an opportunity to hear an author speak in public because I’m still fascinated by the process of pulling thoughts from the inner recesses of our brains and making them into a book you can hold in your hands. And more importantly, I knew this lecture would be the talk of a few dinner or lunch tables. She’s an assistant professor of practical theology at Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary and an ordained pastor in the Mennonite Church. This young woman also volunteers at women’s maximum security prison and she lost her husband to suicide just months before her young nephew died of a heart attack and her dad died of an opium addiction. Talk about a powerful and compelling reason to search for joy. One reviewer on Amazon labeled the book to be about spiritual resiliency and I would agree if that label was applied to this lecture.
This lecture was part of a series underwritten by a local church-based university, the same one where I took my husband for speech classes twice a week for six years and I have nothing but deep appreciation for how we were treated there, red ‘A’s painted on our foreheads and all. I don’t usually go to lectures that I know will be laced heavily with religion but it wasn’t a waste of time by an means and I didn't get converted. But you can’t listen to a story like hers and not be happy she found her way through her grief. The human spirit truly is resilient.
There was a Q&A at the end and someone asked what she suggests to whose who are drowning in grief and she answered that what worked for her was "trauma dumping" a type journeying where you spill your guts and then shred the pages. That’s essentially what I did after my husband’s massive stroke. It just didn’t have a name but it did eventually help me find my Joy again. ©
|This 500 piece puzzle that was way too easy to be fun. The pencil puzzle above is also 500 pieces and it doesn't get easier no matter how many times you do it.|