Day 59–Last Saturday of Quarantine

   The Italian government is beginning Phase 2 on Monday. While the new permissions are not entirely clear to me, the strict, home-bound period will come to an end. Our children will be allowed to leave the premises–in Phase 1, only 1 adult has been allowed to get in the car to go to the grocery store. These 6 kids have not left this house and land for 60 days.
    I reflect on what has occurred in our family and in my own life during this time. The older kids spent more time with the younger kids. The younger kids could count on the older kids being home rather at sports practices or out with friends. The kids who are most likely to fight gave in and learned to hang out and have fun together. The kids learned that their siblings are very, very important to them, and their memories, shared experiences and common life are treasures. Everyone liked not having to dress up and to have something of a sabbath from appearances, social pressures and expectations. Everyone learned to look for a bright side, and make the most of a hard situation by setting goals, such as working out or learning a language. Everyone has experienced a leisurely pace–waking up later, not rushing about, having time to paint or draw after school.
    I personally feel like a transformed person. Being an introvert in an extrovert’s world, being a low-energy person in a high-demand household, this period has been a relief. Not doing the morning school routine, not driving kids to sports and social activities, not going anywhere has been like a vacation. I find my whole physiology adjusting, getting calm and serene. I have been responsible for 3 meals a day for 60 days–that’s 180 consecutive meals. Ron and others have made a few of them and we ordered pizza twice. But I will say that not eating out almost this whole time has been very interesting. I’ve learned that I like a whole new way of eating. It is simple whole foods. I feel great. Basically, big meals and other indulgences are often for me “rewards” for a hard day at work or being out and about. But when those demands reduce, the “reward” eating and drinking virtually disappears. I like cooking when its not under pressure, and I like real, healthy food that came out of the ground.
    Internally, I feel like I do when I am on or finishing a retreat at a monastery. I have had long sections many days to read scripture and pray. I have unloaded internal burdens that I sometimes carry and now feel uncluttered in my mind.
    My uncluttered perspective on life is: God blessed me with a wonderful mother, father, stepfather, siblings, family of origin and in-law family, and I get to spend the rest of my life honoring my parents and these families, and thanking them for giving me life and for each one giving me a family community. Also, God blessed me with a husband better than I deserved and every day I reap the reward of giving my life to him. And God blessed me with 6 living children and 2 already in heaven. I really don’t know how I am so fortunate, and can hardly comprehend how much they enrich my life. God blessed me by creating me and saving me, and I am blessed to be a Christian and get to spend my life giving honor and due thanks to God for his many gifts. I am blessed with health, a peaceful heart, a sound mind, and a gentle and joyful home. It is one where all of us have the chance to pursue our interests and actualize our dreams, as I too am doing–I have gotten to pursue an education, pursue teaching at the university, found a ministry. What a blessing. Everyone in my family has the chance to make meaningful friendships and enjoy many communities of friends who are truly beautiful, wonderful people. What an indescribable gift.
      This is all. That’s it. All of the deepest desires of my life are fulfilled. Everyone wants meaning–it is unsettling to feel aimless, without purpose, like a random atom banging into other atoms by accident until we die. But no, I do not have that restlessness. I am wedded to God and given until death separates us to my husband and by extension our children. I have a deep sense of being loved, which my mother, father and stepfather, grandparents and siblings, aunts and uncles have instilled in me. In my adult life, my father-in-law and his whole family have been so loving and kind to me, so hospitable and gracious, I am forever grateful. I know who I am, where I come from. I have built a life with my good husband and by the grace of God it continues to grow with deep roots and tall, flowering branches. God has been so good to me, as have so many people. I am at their mercy, and all I can do is humbly receive their gifts, and due my best to honor and love them in return.
    If my mind and heart are uncluttered, what remains is: I am in every way blessed and grateful.