Where Our Focus Goes, Our Energy Flows
Whatever the circumstances, what we think and who we choose to be makes all the difference
Sometime around March 2020, life as we know it went off the rails. As the number of coronavirus cases grew, businesses closed, and others struggled to keep their doors open. Parks, restaurants, and theaters closed. Weeks passed, and for many of us, the walls felt like they were closing in. Now, as the world around us begins to re-open, I’ve enjoyed talking with friends about what they learned through the struggle and sharing moments of joy they experienced over the past year. One of those friends shared something that I’ve been thinking about a lot since our conversation, and I’d like to share his story with you.
Adam works mainly out of his house. His wife is a schoolteacher, who, at the time, was also working at home. They have two boys still at home and one in the military. Safe-at-Home orders meant pretty much everything around them was closed, and they were immersed in learning new technology, testing new routines, and adjusting expectations.
My friend said, even in all the struggle, they were able to create moments of joy. I asked him to share one:
“Our wedding anniversary was coming up, 22 years together, and I was sick. The week before, I’d developed some congestion and a cough. No fever, fortunately, just one of those deep, nasty coughs that keeps you up at night.
“For 22 years, our anniversary always meant an adventure. Hiking, sailing, enjoying a beachside B&B, learning, and exploring together… Not this year. Even if I wasn’t sick, the world was wearing a big Out of Order sign.
“By Thursday, I was on my third day of very little sleep. My bride took one look at me and told me to stay in bed. I rolled over, closed my eyes, and woke up Friday morning. All day, the house was full of whispers. Mom and the boys were planning something as I tried to knock the rust off my brain and get caught up on work.
“Anniversary morning arrived. We sipped coffee on the porch swing and watched the river behind our house. It wasn’t a mountain cabin or a tropical island, but we were together. Looming deadlines meant I had to get back to work. Lesson planning meant so did she.
“That evening, she knocked on my office door, asked me to come with her down to the dock. The boys were in their room, peeking around the door, giggling. Something was definitely up. Out on the dock, they had strung Christmas lights from piling to piling. Candles flickered on a table set for two. Platters held all our favorite picnic foods. A wine bottle sweated in the warm evening. Soft music played.
“I sat down across from her, soaking up the moment. It felt like we were together at a riverside Italian bistro, the only people in the world with all the time in the world. She poured the wine, and we toasted 22 years. We set our glasses down, both smiling, maybe for the first time that week. I know it was the happiest I’d been since the first time I heard the words ‘COVID-19.’
“As the sun melted behind the horizon, we ate and talked and laughed until it was too dark to see. Coronavirus may have stolen our annual adventure, but maybe creating moments of joy when the world feels like it’s falling apart is adventure enough…”
Hearing this, I was inspired by Adam’s unwavering life stance, the way his family honors traditions, embraces challenges, and loves each other through these uncertain times. Where their focus goes, their energy flows, and that is true for all of us.
A version of this article was originally published in the June 2020 issue of Sandpoint Living Local / Coeur d’Alene Living Local.
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