Black, White and Grey

Good Sunday morning. I am writing, of course, from home, my condo in Baltimore City. It’s a rainy day but the trees and plants outside my windows and on my patio are lovely. You see the lovely in rain these days.

I’ve not blogged recently. I’m transitioning from blog writing to both fiction writing and a legal blog for nonprofits. As this blog will lessen and the other writing increases, I want to listen to God today, and go where he leads. Today, it is here.

Like all, my life is quite different now. My husband is a front line health care provider working constantly to stem the bleeding from this virus, and coming home to a sanitizing regimen that takes longer than it used to take us to eat dinner together. In our little condo, my law practice happens at a table and chair next to my kitchen. My husband sleeps and occasionally has a period of time when he can visit with us, from some feet away and only after the sanitation process. My younger daughter goes to college in another room, adjusting to her Croatian “study abroad” via a Zoom meeting in Charm City. And the two of us, my younger daughter and me, only leave the condo for required groceries or pharmacy runs; given my husband’s work, it is right for us to self-isolate.

I’ve rearranged the furniture so that our oldest daughter, isolated in her apartment across the City and who is immuno-compromised, can occasionally drive over and come up to our condo to visit after I’ve completed extreme furniture wipe-down.

I’m fighting anger mostly–anger at those who don’t get it, who don’t sacrifice for others, who don’t seem to care until it hits them personally. But then that’s always my go-to emotion. Stress can bring out our worst. I’ve deleted a few contacts and I left Facebook last year in an effort to help myself work on this anger issue. Let me tell you, leaving Facebook was God’s miracle prompting–it would not be a good thing for me to have a keyboard and a Facebook account right now.

But it has brought out the best in people too. I’m far more attentive to a husband who has, in our 32 year relationship, been the one to take a back seat to me and my ambitions. He’s a helper, put on this earth to help others. Though leadership positions have been consistently offered to him throughout his life, he tended to shun them, preferring to help at the patient level. But God has different plans to stretch us. And I’m at home, working, yes, but also making mediocre meals, policing a condo building to ensure it is quiet enough for him to sleep mid-day when he staggers home (cue my anger gene), and “pumping him up” in a way I’m used to him doing for me.

I’m busy with my own work when he is also working, counseling nonprofits on weathering this storm or making hard choices when weathering the storm seems as if it is not in the offing. And, from the sublime to the ridiculous, without a body of water in which to plunge, I now do cross fit and Jazzercise (!!) and consequently, am learning more modern tunes. I thought pop music ended in the 90s.

In addition, after a year of being committed to worshipping where I live and attending a new church blocks away, just starting to get acclimated, I am now at home on Sundays and “attending” a streaming Mass, one very familiar and comforting. I continue an Ignatian year-long retreat, but now via telephone with a spiritual advisor living in a Jesuit retirement community that I cannot visit. I think of my grandmother just miles away in a nursing home who I also cannot visit, and wonder if I will see her again.

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I’ve lived in black and white most of my life. It has seemed right, even morally right, to do so, and since The Great Binary fit my personality, I assumed it was right. Indeed, I still think black and white, lines between right and wrong, exist for us as guardrails or guillotines, depending on how far we veer off course.

There is more grey now, though–grey in what I’m called to do and when, realizing it might not be some grand, paved road for me to traverse from here to the grave, but a road with starts and stops, detours and returns, more of a day-to-day existence. What is kind, today? What is needed, today? What is best, today?

So, today, there is no long swim set to conquor, or legal briefing to write for a client, or large ministry effort to coordinate. I will not check a box today that tells me I am worthy. For that box is of my own creation and useless.

Today, I will cook a dinner that all but loving husbands would agree is not very good. I will speak to some family members on the phone, a device I hate more than January 20th in Chicago. I will do a form of exercise that was not designed for a swimmer, being a fish out of water at most land activities, and likely will quit early because I dislike it so.

In short, I will do little of consequence as my black and white mind would judge. But my grey mind will ask:

What is kind, today?

What is needed, today?

What is best, today?

One thought on “Black, White and Grey

  1. Kathleen,Love your post!  This is such a season of doing what we should even when it’s not what we want or consider productive. This grey is making us dig deep into the mundane routines of life during social distancing to find purpose and to adopt a new attitude about our love ones.  Maybe they grey is the cross over from our darker side towards our brighter, purer side. Please let Eric know I’m thinking of him and praying for him/your household daily!  Hugs to the girls too!Josephine 

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad

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