EDITOR’S NOTE: We are so blessed to have many talented writers in our midst, and the Pioneer is proud and pleased – over the moon, really – to be able to share their thoughts about how we’ve all adjusted and pivoted to the changes coming at us almost daily. Here’s some wonderful insight from Sydney Elliott (TBCC instructor and Yoga teacher) about the things we need to keep from this experience.
by Sydney Elliott
The thought came to me as I was Zooming with my in-laws who live in North Carolina. I won’t claim it as original in any way, but we were discussing a potential visit over the holidays and decided to postpone due to Covid. My father-in-law is a minister, and we were talking about how Covid redefines how we live right now. I was relieved that we decided he shouldn’t come visit the week before Thanksgiving, not because I didn’t want to see him, but because I loved him and his wife. We were all disappointed. Then a thought came from almost nowhere, and I blurted out that these sacrifices, these trying moments, are the new ultimate meaning of love. And love can be painful.
In so many ways, the pandemic feels restrictive as we are cut off from our loved ones, and in a lot of cases, co-workers and friends. Our activities are also curbed, and our world seems to have shrunk. I know for myself that my once-filled, cluttered calendar now seems like a desert, and I’ve missed seeing my students in person or singing with my jazz band.
But here was my thought: the pandemic has actually expanded our ways of loving each other. We had to find more ways to communicate. My mother has now joined, what I call, The Legion of Zoom. We have more tools now than ever before that go beyond what we are used to and encourage us to do and learn new things.
I’ve always been a writer, but I’m penning more letters, using social media to check in, and being more deliberate about calling people in my life. We had to learn to say no as a form of love. No, don’t come visit (even though I love to host). No, let’s wait so there is a next year. It hurts! But there are some new yesses, too. I now have socially-distanced picnic and coffee dates. And a new pen pal or two. I also share my yoga practice via posting videos on You Tube. I have a whole new tool box when it comes to teaching and engaging my college students.
Yes, it’s not the same, but in some ways, it’s taught me to be better. I have to slow down, be deliberate, and find ways of expression and reaching out that are creative and stretch my imagination. And when we find ourselves on the other side of this (hopefully soon), I plan to keep my new ways of loving and showing that I care—after I hug all of you first.