Do you know the difference
between alone and lonely?
I love being alone
walking among trees
wading in the water on the seashore
listening to the silence of the night
smelling the roses in my garden
I am not lonely then, and
I can be alone
I am lonely when
no one asks
how I am doing
no one asks
is there anything I can do
no one calls
just to talk about nothing
no one listens
to what I have to say
I am very lonely then
When the only time someone calls is
have a problem I must listen to
issues become the focus of every encounter
I am lonely
How do I tell people
I am afraid
how do I tell people
I can’t cope
how do I tell people
I need them to keep
the loneliness away
I know about dark times
I have had dark times
I have lived through dark times
I am not sure I will live
through this dark time
Ruth Jewell, ©January 27, 2021
In the roughly 2 months since the stay home order was given, I have made some very un-scientific observations:
- I haven’t been much affected by the stay-at-home order. It is what John and I did before this started. Except for going to church and groceries we didn’t go anywhere.
- I have actually heard from more people in the last 2 months than we had all last year.
- Wearing a mask while shopping is kinda weird, I keep wanting to go into a bank, not to do anything, just go in.
- I am shocked at the level of ineptitude we, as a nation, are accepting from our federal government.
- I am totally grateful for the leadership of our faith community, my state and local governments. They deserve medals.
- I am heart broken by the number of people who have been exposed to and sickened by the virus, some because of people so selfish that they pass the virus on only because they don’t want to be inconvenienced by a face mask or a stay at home order.
- I am amazed and stunned, by the heroism of the nurses, doctors, medical house cleaning staff, postal carriers, grocery store clerks, police, and fireman who have continued to be the front line of defense. (I apologize if I have forgotten anyone.)
- I am angered by those who, with guns and lawsuits, attempt to intimidate our hero’s. They also sadden me because they are being manipulated by wealthy, greedy, power hungry, men who are following a corrupt leader.
- I have discovered some wonderful benefits to being told to stay home. I have been able to attend and participate in the Westar Institutes Seminars online and will take a poetry class this summer from the Grunwald Guild. All via ZOOM. I would not have been able to do any of that if this hadn’t happened. (One of my questions even lead to a commitment to include gender roles in the next phase of the Westar’s Christianity Seminar, WOOT!)
- I have also been able to see all of our family, from across the country, on a regular schedule because of ZOOM meetings. It has been so much fun to see everyone.
- I love it that I have a legitimate reason to read books by the bushel, as if I ever needed one.
- My garden is amazing, our garage is now cleaner that it has been in 40 years, and I have developed 5 new recipes that came out really good. I have also created more that a dozen really bad recipes. I am pleased that John has been a good sport and eaten the good and the bad.
- While church has been a bit weird and awkward, it has shown me how much our weekly sessions mean to me. Seeing each congregation member and our devoted and amazing pastor Luke and his assistant Mary make my week.
What does any of this mean, well, probably nothing. I keep trying to remember that none of us are alone. We have each other and the Holy Divine still walks with us. Still despite all that I know, have seen, and experienced I am sometimes afraid. Afraid for our grandchildren, and the children of our friends. I am afraid for those who work with the homeless with little to no protective gear and pray every day for their safety. My fear leads to anger when I hear of the lack of concern for our indigenous neighbors, all people of color, people who are disabled and therefore especially at risk, and the elderly who, unlike John and I, are confined within an institution.
I am also afraid for our nation, I am afraid for my family, and I am afraid for my community. I do not know what the future will bring. I pray, I hope, I pray,
Ruth Jewell, ©May 24, 2020
Photo: Troublesome Creek, WA, 2006, by Ruth Jewell