by Pam Hillman
It’s been a really strange spring. I realize COVID-19 has consumed our country and the entire world, and it’s certainly played a big part in my life the last few months as well.
However, something closer to home has occupied my time and energy even more than a worldwide pandemic. My elderly mother had a health scare in March and we’re still dealing with some of her health issues and will be for some time. So I can certainly understand the worries and fears that so many families faced when they couldn’t see their loved ones or stay with them in the hospital. Yep, been there, done that, and it’s a terrible feeling!
But then our family has also had blessings upon blessings heaped upon us. I have a new grandson. He’s one month old as you’re reading this, and he, his mom, dad, and big sister are all doing well and with the parental leave act can pretty much hunker down away from all the big, bad scary stuff of the world for these precious first few weeks at home. Of course all of this means that I’ve only seen him twice, but that’s okay.
I led into this blog post with a bit about my current crazy life. Even after 5 days in the hospital with my mom, I didn’t go back home for three weeks, and I live a short 4 miles from her. Under normal circumstances, she would have been in the hospital, but with COVID-19 patients there, her doctors decided that my brother, me, and home health (bless home health!) could take care of her just as well. We were thankful to be sent home.
So, how does this relate to writing? Well, I sort of feel guilty about not be really productive during this time. I mean, many of my writer friends are happily plotting and writing their latest novel right now. We’re used to social distancing, aren’t we? We tend to go for days without seeing another living soul, except for the occasional glimpse of a spouse or a few kids or grandkids. So being cut off from the world should be right down our alley, isn’t it?
But this “stay home, stay safe” isn’t necessarily a vacation or a sabbatical, is it? I suspect plotting, planning, and spending hours upon hours has been far down the list for others as well. Some of us have been involved in elder care, others have had to dive into the uncharted waters of homeschooling, or even babysitting grandchildren because daycares are closed and one or both parents are essential employees. Our family is overrun with nurses (praise the Lord!), so I’ve done my share of extra childcare over the last few weeks as well.
I guess my point is that for everything there is a season, and maybe this season is one where we have to stop and reassess our priorities. Mine right now are taking care of family. Interestingly enough, I look back over the last few years and see that God knew this time was coming. He knew I’d need this time to take care of my mom, and I’m in a place where I can take a breather. In other words, I don’t have a LOOMING deadline.
As I type this, I’m sitting on my mother's front porch with my feet propped up late at night, listening to the frogs croaking in the nearby swamp. Mom is doing her crossword puzzle and we’re both yawning, just waiting for 9 o’clock so we can go to bed. We're in a new season, a different one to where I was two months ago, a month ago, even last week.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Whatever it is, we need to be prepared to embrace it.
I’m playing with new story ideas, new series, new plots and enjoying the process, but I'm not putting hours upon hours of time into getting words on paper. But those stories will have their season.
So, if you're feeling a little down because somehow self-quarantining didn't result in that great American novel you always dreamed of writing, look outward, instead of inward. Look at the blessing you've been to your family, your friends, the elderly, your country, or whatever, wherever you've been needed during this time.
That's your season right now. Embrace it.