Victories in Small Things | Counseling during Covid
For starters, I looked up “coping.” The first definition is a “sloping cap of a masonry wall.”
How appropriate! I do feel as if I’ve slammed into a brick wall whose top I can’t climb over.
2020 has been incredibly difficult the world over. Most of us have spent life relatively free of global catastrophes. We have come to perceive the absence of such cataclysms as “normal.”
My parents and grandparents dealt with two World Wars, the Great Depression, the 1918 flu pandemic, and devastations of polio. Yet they seemed strong and resilient.
First, they got to work. They made things happen: ordinary and previously unimagined. They experimented, failed, invented — at cultural and personal levels. They pulled together and worked as communities to share both labor and bounty.
They planted Victory Gardens. Years ago when failed surgery left me with life-long pain, my only solace was to have my hands in the dirt. No gloves — just deep connection to the earth. This year’s constant rain has drowned my vegetables, but I still pull weeds as my “victory” for the day.
Old unused skills reconnect me to childhood and help me cope. Sewing masks is rewarding in both concentration required and the satisfaction of creating something essential and beautiful, to give away to a women’s and children’s shelter.
With little opportunity to exhibit my artwork, I allow my imagination free rein, doodling, sketching, cutting magazines, gluing in journals to give expression to feelings that have no words, with a freedom that goes back to childhood, without judgment. Any one of us can do this.
Lastly, there is the kitchen. I am no gourmet, rarely use a recipe. But I’ve found renewed solace in cooking, washing dishes, and sending meals to others who need to stay safely home.
When it seems too hard, I remind myself that caterpillars disintegrate completely before they fly. I see hearts in stones, bread crumbs, leaves, fleeting bits of light. Anytime you need solace, look for a heart, watch for butterflies, pull a weed, write one true sentence, and grab a piece of chocolate.
Better still, share it.