The year 2020 has been difficult for a lot of people, all over the world, affecting different individuals in different ways. The pandemic brought some difficulties to me, although some trials were already in place apart from it.
Thankfully, the virus itself did not hurt me or my loved ones very directly. I do live in the New York City area, one of the areas hardest hit early on in the spring of 2020, and I remember continuously reading of a new victim of the virus in my Facebook feed. Only one of my brothers may have had the virus, but he was never sick enough, thankfully, to be hospitalized.
My animal care business came to almost a standstill, partly because nobody could travel and, partly because working people, who sometimes needed care for their animals while they were away from home, were now working at home. A few years earlier, I’d already lost my job as a newspaper reporter, a job I enjoyed and held for 10 years.
My job loss from the paper coincided almost exactly with my mother developing some health issues: breast cancer, which, scary as it sounds, was not as great an issue for her in the long run as something more crippling, a severe spinal issue that left her chair-bound and in agonizing pain whenever she tried to move. Strangely, these two health issues for mom, as different as they are, developed simultaneously. Mom had to have some scans done for her cancer, and the nurses were shocked to see how excruciating it was for her to get her body in position for the scans. It was, perhaps, a blessing to my parents that I was home and able to be my mother’s caretaker, but it also made things complicated for me personally. I now had a “job” that was consuming most of my time and energy but wasn’t paying me and was making it challenging for me to do something that would pay me.
Then, in August, I had another setback when my father and I were both attacked by a dog I was caring for. For my father, the injury was serious enough to require two surgeries. (The function of his hand is fine. One surgery closed the wound, and another was a skin graft.) This made me wary for a long time of taking in unknown animals.
I had all sorts of hopes for myself as a writer and book author and built this website shortly after my newspaper job ended, but it seemed I had countless distractions and obstacles to even giving my site the attention it deserved and needed. To frustrate things further, I experienced a computer failure, and for a very long period had no access to any of my book works in progress. Anyone who is a writer can feel the pain of this scene below from Little Women, though unlike Jo, in spite of very frustrating circumstances, my document losses were not permanent.
In spite of all of this, in recent times, I am feeling more hopeful than ever, downright cheerful even. I am a strong believer and have always had hope in God even through my problems, but there were times when I thought His ideas for my life must be very different from mine. That is probably still somewhat true, but I also feel that He just might indulge some of the hopes I have for myself.
There has just been a snowball effect of hopeful changes in my life. My mom’s pain has greatly improved for mysterious reasons. Spinal surgery seemed to fix things temporarily, but this was followed by a serious and lasting regression. Now, for unknown reasons, she is better, not perfect, but better. Both of my aging parents require more of my help than at an earlier time, but mom is also more independent than she was at her painful worst, which frees my time up considerably.
I am beginning to get more and more animal care jobs and new clients, and, in between things, amazingly, I am finding time to write. Writing and creative expression seem so key to my happiness.
Just a short while ago, I took a walk with a little doggy and prayed that God would help me be creative. I’ve already explained that I’m a strong believer. I talk to God often, and I like to be creative. I don’t know how often I pray to be creative. Seconds later, I looked at a tree I was walking past, described it in my head, then later reworked it into a haiku and posted it to the blog with a photo of the tree. That little haiku became my most popular post.
I thought to myself that haiku are short and simpler to write than a novel or a long article that requires research. If I have an audience for haiku, I ought to write more of them. One thing led to another in a way I’m not sure I can even explain, but I became aware of blogging poetry challenges and poetry communities on WordPress. I began writing more poetry and just about quadrupled my blog views and engagement, at least on some days. I felt I was connecting with people and not just putting out words into the stratosphere that went who knows where. I still want to write novels and articles and all sorts of things, but I think I will continue to write poetry also.
I did not plan, at first, to make this post so personal, but I suppose, what is applicable here to you as the reader, is that, no matter how dismal things may look at a certain time, you can never tell how future events may unfold in a positive way.
I know not all of my followers share my exact beliefs, but bear with me. I’d like to share a song on hope that comes from a Christian faith point of view. Somewhat recently, I watched a video on CCM music put out by an unbelieving (or at least neutral) YouTuber, who shared that it was his least favorite musical genre. In many ways, I agree with him, which might surprise you after what I just told you. I feel much of today’s CCM music is lacking in creativity (and sometimes has some other issues.) The YouTuber made an interesting comment as an outsider, sharing that he feels that music of faith should have a lot of passion, feeling and conviction. This is a Southern gospel song, and I don’t think you will find any lack of feeling or conviction here. It has some poetic lyrics.
The hope that is within us, erupting from the sand
Is pure and clear refreshment in a dry and weary land,
No scorching circumstances can stop that eager flow
of hope that springs eternal. It’s hope that floods my soul.
This was written for Marsha Ingrao’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesday Writing Challenge. Marsha assured me that I had a week to get in my participating post. I see I’m getting mine in just in the nick of time.