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HENSLEY: Appreciation of small things

By Judith Hensley
Contributing columnist

With the COVID-19 lockdown of our normal ways of life, I hope people will come through it as an improved version of themselves. I hope people are learning or being forced to pay attention (at least) and appreciate the small things they may have taken for granted only a couple of months ago.

Through the years I’ve been forced into some of these “stay at home situations” where I had to focus on things inside my home. I’ve had two separate knee replacements which each required about a month of recuperation at home. The diagnosis of breast cancer with following surgery and treatments last fall left me exhausted and at home a lot resting.  So, I had a bit of advantage in finding things at home to give my attention to and appreciate if I had energy to spare.

I think all this social distancing and sheltering at home has been most difficult for those people whose busy lives took them out of the house and to work every day. They were in the habit of cramming in the other responsibilities of living around their work schedules. To be suddenly without a job, stuck at home, surrounded by the mundane and irritating bits of life they weren’t accustomed to has been a real challenge for them.

Homemakers who have been used to having some quiet time each day with husbands gone to work and children gone to school have also had to step up and grasp a temporary “normal.” Their greater responsibilities have included overseeing what goes on in the house and less quiet time for themselves.

I also suspect that all of the disgruntled parents who have complained about their children’s school and/or teachers for little flaws along the way may have a new appreciation of the process of educating their youngsters.  With children now expected to continue their studies at home with parental supervision and help, many parents may realize for the first time what goes into a classroom full of students with different abilities and needs.

We will all appreciate being able to go for medical appointments and sitting in the waiting room of a doctor’s or dentist’s office. We will appreciate being able to go inside a hospital or nursing home to visit a loved one when the restrictions are lifted.

One of the things I always have loved to do is go out with my camera and photograph the small but beautiful details of nature. I appreciate the design of Creator God who interjected so much variety and detail in our world. Not being able to share that experience with others or to find others out and about doing the same type of thing hasn’t bothered me as much as being aware of empty yards, roads, and parking lots on my way to outdoor adventures. I suspect all of those confined to indoor living during this season will appreciate being outdoors again when we feel safe about getting out.

Here are a few of the things I will appreciate in a totally different way when all of this pandemic precaution is over: regular “in house” church services; checking on my parents without fear of contaminating them; meeting friends for a day or a meal; eating out; going to the store whenever I choose without mask or gloves and having to jump in the shower as soon as I get home; finding needed items or food in stock at the store; having get-togethers of more than a handful of people; visiting friends; traveling; the sense of “freedom” that is missing because of the restrictions.

During this season of being forced into a much smaller world as individuals and families, there are hundreds of small things to appreciate which may have previously been taken for granted. I hope we all have taken the opportunity to do exactly that.