A surge of joy

Sundays have long been squirrelly days for me. The impending week, the to-do list, the world. This is only made worse by a global pandemic.

Seriously, in my lifetime, a pandemic. The polar ice caps are melting. Species have gone extinct. The city of my birth now has King Tides. Biblical plagues manifest: locust in Africa, a total solar eclipse, Betelguese (nicknamed Bettlejuice) is a sun in the Orion constellation – and it may have gone supernova and be dead. We just haven’t gotten its last rays of light.

And now a pandemic? I have to physically shake myself. Literally. Not metaphorically. Physically shake myself to remind my brain – REMEMBER – there is a global pandemic. Ten times more contagious than the worst influenza season. No vaccine. Spreads by respiratory droplet (Achoo!) and stays in aerosol (like measles). Can be completely asymptomatic (Hello Typhoid Mary) and kill you in a matter of hours by triggering a violent reaction in your immune system that floods your lower lungs with fluids and blood. Spectacular and horrifying.

And I just want to bury my head. I envy the preppers with the bunkers, three years of rations and gold bullion. I can’t be the ostrich or the bunker-builder. I have a business to run. I have employees. I have patients. I am supposed to give advice and guidance but if I am honest…I am winging it out here folks.

I try to read as much as I can – from reputable and verifiable sources. I try to remain calm and reassure. I synthesize data and formulate responses. I ask for help. I call my state Senator (Keith Perry). I write my hospital’s CMO (chief medical officer). I ask my colleagues how I can help. What can we do?

And right now, we are in a waiting game. We’re in a holding position. The Surge is coming. The Surge. More like a TSUNAMI. How is this all going to work? I have doubts that anything is going to return to normalcy. The world is forever changed. The future is truly unknown. We won’t be going back to how it was.

But are we powerless? Is there no beauty? No joy? Seriously, if prisoners in concentration camps and interment camps could find hope and joy in the shadow of doom, can’t we? If the symphony on the Titanic chose to play instead of scrambling to get on a life boat (okay, maybe not the best metaphor)…but we have choices.

Find joy. Focus on the lovely. The bright spot. Be kind and generous. Be clever and find solutions. And when you need distractions then go find cool stuff to watch or listen to. Like this new HBO series I found on Amazon Prime: Beforeigners. (You have to read subtitles, but it’s worth it). Enroll in the most popular class at Yale University – made free to everyone due to the pandemic. Check it out here. Take cooking classes with Christopher Kimball with Milk Street. Learn to knit or crochet. Plant a garden. Be alive and enjoy this moment. Tomorrow, I might be coughing my brains out. Next weekend, I could be on ventilator, fighting for my life. Is my will up-to-date? Does it matter? I could pull out of my neighborhood and get slammed by a cement truck. BAM! Gone. But, it is this waiting for The Surge. And the slow incremental decline of the lives we all once had…..that is what we must stave off.

So, this weekend, I made loquat jam. Super simple. 8 cups of loquats (measured after they were seeded and quartered, 5 cups of sugar, 1/4 c lemon juice, 1 cup of water boiled down for 2 hours, pureed with a wand and then I added a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste. The loquats are from my yard. and now they are jam. Yummy jam.

Then I painted a bedroom and I am in the processes of making it my new office space. Its not done but it’s close.

What did you do to find normalcy? What gave you joy? Where did you find peace?