Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

P Publisher’s Point by Jean Loxley-Barnard
Don’t Take Anything For Granted


It is not a new idea, but the virus brings so much into focus that we once took for granted.  For me, a recent thought about going to New England this fall, something I’ve missed for a few years, warmed my heart.  For about a minute.  Then, the realization hit.  

Would we be stopped in New York regarding the quarantine?  Would we want to stay at hotels?  Is The Maple Leaf Inn in Barnard, Vermont (Yes, Barnard!) still open?  All at once I felt like a deflating balloon.  I had loved each visit to the Inn in the tiny town bearing our name, shopping in nearby Woodstock, touring a local farm, viewing the splendor of the brightly colored leaves so reminiscent of my childhood.  Was it over?

When would “normal life” return?  Would “normal life” return? Will we get to see our great grandson in Texas while he is still a baby?  Our newborn great niece in Raleigh?   Disney World?  

Holidays came to mind.  Thanksgiving with my sister’s family....Christmas Eve in three segments...my kids and grandkids at our house, then to the Buckleys with Santa and scores of their  closest friends, followed by Terry’s family at the Paradelas’ home where we inhale Andy’s gumbo.

Christmas with my best friend, Elaine Thompson, missing John for three years already.  Will we have any part of our traditions?  And can we even assume we will still be here?   
It was sobering to be awash in memories of traditions I had assumed would continue but could have expired.  Then what?   

It was sobering to be awash
in memories of traditions
I had assumed
would continue
but could have expired.  
Then what?

There is one glaring benefit emerging.  Gratitude.  Gratitide for each day.  Each other.  Home.  Office.  Business.  Neighbors.  TV.  Fill in the blanks; gratitude covers everything.  

We need to be aware.  Experience every little joy.  Terry brings me rose buds cut from bushes at the driveway’s edge.  Natalie and Scott  brought two mowers to do our yard when we were searching for a mower. Neighbors Barbara and John Short joined them on their own mowers to make four people mowing our yard!  Daughter, son-in-law, great neighbors, during the pandemic, simply showing up to help.  Another son and his fiancee’ tackled our huge ditches and then my overgrown lawn at work.  Does life get better than receiving loving gifts of help?

It is moments like these that give me hope that, no matter what, life is filled with wonderful gifts and I don’t have to be in the Magic Kingdom to feel joy.  When we are missing people and adventures we have treasured, we have but to look around wherever we find ourselves and celebrate the moment we are in, the people we are with, and the memories we are making right now.

Life gets better when we pay attention to today with gratitude.

Life gets better
when we
pay attention
to today
with gratitude.

Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.