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On the Inside Looking Out

Updated: Jan 11

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us have been spending far more time indoors. Accustomed to being “on-the-go,” some sit longingly staring out the window with their noses pressed to the glass, anxiously awaiting the day when it will feel safe to get fully back to normal living. Wonderful things happen “out there” - employment, socialization, and recreation. There are so many simple freedoms and activities that I used to take for granted, but now recognize as great privileges and blessings. I look forward to going to the movies or the mall again one day, and remembering how beautiful the smile of a stranger can be when not hidden by a mask. I don’t know how long it will take, but I believe in my heart that day will come. This too shall pass.

In the meantime, we’ve been given the great gift of being “trapped” inside with a little more time on our hands. Our family has pulled out board games we hadn’t played for years. I have spent more time exercising, meditating and cooking fresh meals from scratch. The nurturing of family, faith, friendships and inner peace became my primary focus when there was suddenly less demand on my attention. I know now that it always should have been. Stress levels have been lower. Relationships have grown stronger. Even the family dog has been reveling in all of the extra bonding time. As the world is slowly beginning to open back up, schedules will get busier again too. I want to hold onto this “inside” thinking though, and not lose the lessons it has taught me.

While gazing out at the grass and trees in the yard, I’ve also been confronted with an image reflecting back at me in the pane of glass. The woman looks outwardly familiar, the same face I see in the mirror every morning. She is 52. Graying hair and green eyes. Your basic soccer mom in suburbia, with a white house and a garden she putters around in. She goes to work, cleans the house, plays with her family, says her prayers and lets the dog in and out multiple times a day. She gets up the next day and does it all again, because she loves her family, friends and life. This woman may look familiar to you too. You probably know her, or someone very much like her.

While days have been moving slower, I have had more opportunity to evaluate whether I also recognize her on the inside. What does she like and dislike? What are her hopes and dreams? What does she believe in enough to fight for? To live and die for? Do I like this woman’s company? Do I love her, and take good care of her? She once was a passionate young girl who danced a solo in her high school dance production, and dreamed of becoming an actress in New York City. She made choices that led her down a different path, with no regrets, but I wonder if she would still enjoy dancing? And I wonder why I don't already know? She is close to me every single day of my life, but I often pay her no attention at all. It seems I should know her much better than I do. I’ve been ignoring her for far too long, so it may take some time to get her to open up to me and share candid, honest answers to the 10 million questions I am discovering that I want to ask. I have time - I will make time. I’ll grab a cup of coffee, and sit down in my comfortable chair by the window, where I can enjoy the view outside while also looking in.

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