By SUSAN PAULUS

Well, I’m up. Against my better wishes I was out of bed before 6 a.m. on this Saturday morning. Couldn’t go back to sleep so decided to get up and have some alone time at the computer. Though I long for that time to just do what I want, I seem to squander it when it is here. Before I started this writing project, I checked my e-mail—nothing of great importance there—played some solitaire and then clicked on the blank page. So here I am telling myself that it is time to do something constructive.

We are to write about handling the pandemic, our reactions, and emotions. Well, I’m not handling it! I’m stomping my feet, having temper tantrums outwardly and inwardly, and crying a lot. Story over, thank you for reading. I have not one thing to complain about, but that doesn’t seem to stop me. I sit and cry at the terrible news reports; bodies being stored in refrigerated trailers due to lack of space—can you believe that, thousands of people dying alone because family isn’t allowed in the hospital, grocery stores empty—come on, no one needs that much toilet paper, restaurants going out of business even though customers long to be there, millions of people out of work, the stock market taking a huge hit. These things are terrible, too terrible to write about, too terrible to even cry about, yet in our house, we seem to be doing ok. I’m not living these terrible events; I’m seeing them on television. And I still sit and cry.

Our life has changed very little. I’m home more, cooking more, seeing fewer people which is difficult as I’m a people person and get my energy from interaction with others. Hubby is happy with me home, taking more care of him, he’s eating better. At least he eats better until the times that I say I’m not cooking, the times we would have gone out to eat. Now that isn’t an option and I’m irritated that I have to figure something out whether I want to or not. Have you figured out what I mean when I tell you that I’m not handling this! Surviving this, yes, handling it with grace, no.

Then to add insult to injury, was the after Easter snowstorm. Wet, heavy snow that didn’t last a long time on the ground yet made driving difficult for a short while. Today is warmer, sunny. Soon the green grass will show again. The grass is telling us that it is time to get out the mower. I’m glad the snow melted first.

So, what is my plan for sanity? I really do try to think of others. Have been sending notes and encouragement to the shut ins at our church, making a phone call now and then to check on someone. Being grateful for neighbors who check to see if we have a need, enjoying the phone calls made to us to check and be sure we’re alright (maybe to check and make sure that I haven’t done anything dreadful to anyone, like my husband).

Also, and this is a coincidence as the project started before we knew the extent of change the coronavirus would bring to us, I have been working on finishing a writing project that began more than two years ago. I’ve been working with an editor and a graphic artist to get Come Walk with Me published. This has kept me busy, added to frustration, given a sense of extreme reward and excitement, and simply filled hours. Later today, after I finish this, I will sit alone and read the proof copy, looking for errors, hoping to find none.

For years I have told my daughters to take care of themselves because sanity is important. Now I tell myself that same thing. If taking a nap helps maintain sanity, take a nap. If writing a note helps maintain sanity, write a note. If having a cocktail helps maintain sanity, have a cocktail. If talking privately with the Lord, helps maintain sanity, then talk to the Lord. I do what I must do to take care of me. Several friends and I are using the mantra “After all, it’s all about me you know.” This always brings a laugh, and if laughing helps maintain sanity, then laugh loud and long.

Well, I’m up. And I have written a first draft to send to the Defiance Writers Group later today. How I wish we could just have a meeting on Monday, but we can’t. Another loss due to the virus. But this will end. We will have a new normal, but at least we will have a normal.

Also, as you can tell since I have no one to talk with I ramble a lot!

Consider yourself hugged! This is as close as we can get right now.