May 5, 2020

Mornings are hard. And one thing I’ve noticed lately is that the longer quarantine lasts (and the more same-ness each day brings) the harder it is for me to find motivation. A part of that is my personality, mind you, in that I tend to start each day with a level of nervousness that gradually subsides as I work through the business of the day and get closer to the sweet spot that evening is. I know this isn’t a completely healthy way to live, and I am a bit embarrassed to admit it but, well, there it is.
Since I’m in disclosure mode at the moment, I will also say that this morning’s darkness of the mind was particularly harsh.
I wanted to be lazy about milking and give up before milking her out (I resisted this temptation thanks to the greater pull of the desire to have fresh milk as long as possible).
I didn’t feel like running. In fact, my body felt like a dead weight. But I knew how much brighter my mindset is after having done it. So I did. And I will admit to praying a possibly-childish prayer that God would make it a good run. I wanted the endorphins. I craved them—and I’m still nursing a daily grudge-against-the-universe about not being able to swim (my true exercise-love).
I most definitely did not want to tackle the day’s schoolwork! Keyboarding practice … grrrr. Semester exams . . . yikes!
So it was that the day began.
But a few hours into the morning I checked my email. There in my inbox was not one. Not two. But three emails from a person who brings the sort of joy I cannot begin to describe. When I think about this friend, my heart swells and a smile begins, regardless of my emotional state at the time. She is my hero. Truly. A woman who has devoted her life to sharing beauty (she is an art teacher) with children who live in a land where daily survival is a real question. And she is the friend who taught me the sort of devotion that I wish I could claim even a remote ability to demonstrate. The day that I flew away from her village, she wept. I had never, ever, seen someone cry at the prospect of my not being with them, and it floored me. I was flummoxed by conflicting emotions battling within—flattered and awed, but also shamed by my inability to feel anything similar. Jilly taught me what love looks like.
Back to those emails: one was a long and meaty update on her life, in its lovely simplicity—snippets of interactions with those around her, tales of her in the garden, and descriptions of new pets in her life. The second email was a series of photos illustrating that loveliness. And the third—the best of the bunch—was a recording of her voice, singing a song she had written.
This inbox gift could not have come at a better time. It was like the rainbow Peter and I saw this past week: a stunning display of beauty that, though it may last only a few moments, shatters the soul as it points us towards the infinite, and ultimate, beauty that we were created to be a part of, and that we are destined to become. Life is hard. But, every once in a while, we get to step out of the drudgery and into the light.

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