Monday, March 23, 2020

Carry Me, Carry You

My dad has always been a strong and solid man; much like a grizzly bear with a barrel chest, with powerful shoulders and arms that could lift anything. Over the years I have watched those strong arms push wheelbarrows, move furniture, change tires, carry boxes, plant trees, and shovel mountain bench snow. They have done many great things!

I remember a time as a middle-schooler when I was really sick with a sinus infection. I was too weak to leave my bed. Feeling glum and a little bit lonely, I longed to join my family in the kitchen.

My parents' small kitchen, dining, and living room area flowed together into one great room. They were preparing to sit down for dinner at the table, while a tray was being made for me to have in my room. My mom suggested I might like joining the family; I could lie on the blue and white plaid couch that sat adjacent to the dining table.

But how to get there? I was so very weak. My head was sloshy and my skinny legs felt like jello.

Enter my dad!

He strode across my room to my bed and scooped me up and into his arms. He carried me--curled against his chest like a toddler--down the hall and into the living room with ease, so that I could be with my family. It's a powerful feeling, being carried like that by someone who loves you. It feels like a lightening, like relief from pain. It feels like safety, a uniquely meaningful kind of security. It feels like fondness and home.

Our current trials (I see you, Covid-19!) are very heavy. Perhaps now is a time to remember the absolute beauty and necessity of carrying each other through.

In the coming weeks, there will be many among us who will feel stuck, who will long for the comfort of the blue and white plaid couch in the family room. How do we "carry" in quarantine? What can we do? What can we do?

Call. Text. Start with the first five contacts in your address book and reach out to them. The next day, reach out to the next five. Work through your entire address book. FaceTime and Skype and Marco Polo. Send cards or letters in the mail. Leave candy bars on doorsteps! Wave or say hello to everyone you pass on that jogging path. Shop for an elderly neighbor. Share your toilet paper or your pasta sauce. Say I love you.

It was Audrey Hepburn who once said, "The best thing to hold onto in life is each other." To that gorgeous statement I would add, the best thing is to not only hold onto each other, but to carry each other, too. It's the kindest, most compassionate thing we can do.

And for now, we'll do it safely and from a distance!
We'll be great at it.


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