Monday Musings…. Are You Curious about 2021?

Well, we are still in the grey zone for the COVID-19 lockdown, but many of us woke up to a layer of white snow, making Christmas feel more festive and cheerier, despite our current circumstances. The government granted us one more day to spend time with those we love, in person, before we were all shuffled back into our crates, like dogs, ensuring that we do as we’re told and stay put.

Being stuck in confinement brings a myriad of questions to people’s minds: Will the lockdown be extended? Will kids actually be able to complete this school year in person? How will this affect people’s jobs? Can small businesses survive? Will I ever be able to travel to see my family? Will funeral gatherings or traditional wedding celebrations be put on hold forever?...

But the most obvious question, and the one we really can’t answer with any certainty is: How long will this pandemic last?

We’re all sitting passively by, (after all, we can’t do much but sit these days) reading news article after news article, hoping for an end, for a return to normal, to a non-mask world, where we can connect with others without being cognizant of a 6-foot rule. We’re vying for the veracity of a vaccine that will be our PPI - personal protective inoculation to stem the spread of this sickness. We’re given promissory dates of Fall 2021 when everyone will have had the opportunity for injection. But will that really happen?

So, what are we to do, in these uncertain times, when our lives seem to be on hold in one form or another? How can we fight this ‘new normal’ of numbness, of simply going through the robotic repetitions of trying to drag through another day with these ever-changing restrictions?

The answer is: become curious.

As we’ve all adulted, and even before this pandemic, many have become stuck. Life brings no joy, just hassles and hardships. And as we enter 2021, we’re in danger of falling deeper into despair, unless we modify our mindset!

Now, the root of the word curious, comes from the Latin cura meaning ‘care’. Taken in its full form, curiosus, it means careful, diligent, or inquiring eagerly. So in these ambiguous times, we must seek adventure!

No one understands this better than young children, who despite their plentiful presents of Paw Patrol paraphernalia, often are more delighted in large cardboard boxes that can become forts, or smaller boxes that can become that Lookout Tower that you were prevented from purchasing because of all the other parents beating you to the checkout. Something seemingly simple, can become significant in the imagination of a child!

We need to change our weariness into wonder as we look ahead to the New Year. Instead of anticipating more interruptions, more inconveniences, and more isolation, can we pivot and ponder the possibilities?

I’m not talking about resilience here, though that has been a common mantra that the powers that be have promoted. Most people interpret resilience as being able to bounce back, regroup, and move forward. Resilience is about embracing the circumstances and becoming better. And that’s great – don’t get me wrong. But it still leaves you tied to the past, remembering what you were and what you’ve lost. Holding on to a remnant, of what used to be.

But, as we enter a New Year, we don’t want to be stuck in the past – one we may never be able to recover. Instead, we need to use our imagination, be curious, and thrive. Thriving happens when you move beyond your circumstances and try something new. It’s when you explore what you CAN do, not what you can’t, and discover new talents, new interests, new skills that you never knew you had. It’s when you’re forced to think of a new way to earn a living, get an education, entertain your children, and exist in the cold wintry months of Canada. Instead of just sitting and waiting and complaining….

Every day presents us with opportunities to break through our banality, and engage our enthusiastic 5-year-old self. It’s about remaining open to experience, and engaging your senses to explore the environment you find yourself in. Every day that we have breath (which is very much a focus of this pandemic), is an opportunity to discover something new, if we look for it. The operative word is ‘if’. That implies intention!

Thriving is where it’s at, people. I guarantee you that if you seek, you will find a world of wonder awaiting you.

Perhaps there is a reason that the whole world has been placed on Pause. In fact, I imagine God’s finger, much like the one you’ve seen in Michaelangelo’s painting of the Creation of Adam, (Michelangelo, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons) reaching down to the earth and stopping all 7 billion of us. There is, after all, a grander plan beyond the immediate that we see.

So maybe we’ve all been given this time, not to be complacent, but to be curious. Can we make it a practice to seek purpose and meaning in each and every day? In this New Year, can we embrace that word ‘new’ and diligently discover new potentials in ourselves, and possibilities we may never have thought of otherwise. And in this state of ‘pause’ may we remember there is Someone who holds the whole world in His hands, and who has promised to give us strength.

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© 2020 Connect the Thoughts: Charlene Mahon