Artist’s Lane: It’s about how the story ends


By Betty Slade
PREVIEW Columnist
The subject seems to be on everyone’s mind — toilet paper. Should we go or stay home? Travel the high seas or keep our feet on solid ground? Do we need to self-quarantine?
I am not one to live in fear, but today’s calm seems to be upended as we consider our health and that of those around us. Not to mention how a lack of balance can cause us to lose our peace of mind.
For our 50th anniversary, our children sent me and my Sweet Al on a cruise. We enjoyed every minute. Like a scene made for Jack and Rose, I stood at the front of the ship with my muumuu blowing in the wind. Supporting me from behind, Al’s teeth rattled as the waves struck against the hull.
April is upon us. Ten years later and the topic came up again. Our youngest daughter wanted to send us on a cruise as we celebrate number 60. “It’s a historic landmark, we can go as a family.”
“Uh, NO! You are not going to get me on a boat after everything we are seeing on the news. It won’t be historic … it will be hysteria.”
We love our children, but we are not taking any chance that would involve being forced to be in a cabin with them for weeks on end. Not even the temptation of an endless buffet is worth that level of bonding.
We will just stay out on the Blanco and watch the geese fly overhead as the ice breaks up on the river. Besides, there is still Sunday night dinner with the family.
Our son went to the grocery store. He came back and said that most of the vegetables and canned goods were sold out.
My Sweet Al and I have gone through many storms together. We have endured the strong winds and the high waves they cause. It’s fair to say that we have even hit a few icebergs along the way. With or without a cruise, or canned goods, we know that our love and life will go on. We also know that our freezer is full. It is a perfect time to work our way to the bottom.
Like most things in life, this too shall pass. No, we are not being ignorant. We just choose to embrace the day and take things head on. We wouldn’t have gotten this far in life had we approached things any differently.
When we feel the pull of the ocean around us, it is our faith that keeps our foundation firm.
Everywhere I turn, there is more and more talk that seems to do little but incite panic. Dare I say that it is hard not to let it creep in as we hear of different event closures. Certainly, the canceling of gatherings can make a person a little nervous.
My Monday writers’ group decided to postpone meeting for a few weeks. I had to wrestle with my own convictions. I felt like we needed to be there to support one another. Then, again, sometimes supporting others comes when we allow them to be where they feel the most comfort. There is always video conference should we really need to see each other.
Our government officials are asking us to be more attentive. We are being told to wash our hands more frequently, to be sensitive to the spread of germs. We are even being asked to distance ourselves more often than not. It can’t be all bad. Imagine how much time we now have to read a good book or to finally clean out the cellar.
I’m not being Pollyanna. Far from it. I’m just recognizing where I am, where my Sweet Al and I are. Yes, we are creatures of habit and like our structure, but can operate outside of the norm for now.
As for any panic that we could feel? It’s a bit exhausting and doesn’t seem to drive a healthy course. For now, we will re-prioritize and focus on the things that are more important to us today.
Final brushstroke: One of the greatest lessons in life is knowing that Jesus survived in the wilderness. That is all that this time is really, just a walk through our own wilderness. We can horde toilet paper or fill every room with canned goods, but it will do nothing to guide our hearts through difficult times. Yes, we need to be prepared for tomorrow and take care of our health. But, if we have read the last chapter of “the Book,” we already know how the story ends.
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