Simple Pleasures in Hard Times

“The real things haven’t changed.  It is still best to be honest and truthful. To make the most of what we have. To be happy with simple pleasures and to have courage when things go wrong.”  ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

My favorite author was once quoted as saying, “The real things haven’t changed.  It is still best to be honest and truthful. To make the most of what we have. To be happy with simple pleasures and to have courage when things go wrong.” The words of Laura Ingalls Wilder are especially true during this impactful time in our lives.  I have largely kept my opinions regarding COVID-19 to myself in an effort to keep the social media trolls from dragging me down into the depths any further.  I’ve been through all five stages of loss in the last 14 days.  Denial had me 14 days ago.  Then, we locked our doors to the public on Tuesday, March 17th.  Those feelings switched over to anger and sadness as to why we couldn’t find a better solution at this time.  Next, I started bargaining by looking for options for child care, evaluating how to keep doing our jobs as normal, and working through the proper protective procedures.  I lost myself to tears in the shower on Friday morning, and I had a brief bout of depression over the weekend as to how we were going to get through this thing.  Now, I’m moving into acceptance mode.  All five stages in one week. Talk about an emotional roller coaster.  I’m exhausted and I’m sure many of you can relate.  I am waiting for the relapse because, let’s face facts, we are only about 14 full days into this thing.  Check on me when we get to day 100 because the ball game is bound to change (if we are even allowed to play ball by that time!)

Nonetheless, I am drawing hope from the simplest of things right now.   While preparing supper with my family on Tuesday night, I saw this quotation proudly perched on my kitchen counter amid a clutter of school papers and dirty dishes.  It brought me comfort and gave me a sense of peace to think about those words and what they mean to us during this time.  That comfort ballooned into thoughts about the trials and tribulations that Laura Ingalls Wilder endured throughout her entire life.  From moving across the American frontier of the late 1800s, to the isolation I’m sure she and her family faced as pioneers of the West.  They suffered through disease, illness, Indian encounters, wild animals, death, poor harvests, hard winters, and devastating events.  Yet, the message she has shared with generations is one of hope, perseverance, and true American determination.

Throughout all of Wilder’s writings, discouragement and defeat are rarely memorialized despite the most difficult of times. If you ask me, she suffered far worse than any of us have even come close to seeing at this point.  For the most part, we still have ready access to reliable food sources, warm homes powered by electricity and running water, the ability to provide our children with a sound education, and the love of close friends and family (even if it is from afar).  I don’t know about you, but I haven’t made one trip to the creek yet to get water, and I haven’t tied pieces of prairie hay into knots to keep the cookstove fire going.  Better yet, I’m not trekking across the barren Nebraska prairie in a covered wagon.  In case you haven’t heard, cruise night is tomorrow, and gas is cheap.  Load up the covered wagon and let’s raise hell and praise Dale (Earnhardt) in the only country in the world where I can make that statement and people actually know what I am talking about.

Moreover, parents, don’t be hard on yourselves regarding your children’s education.  Believe it or not, we are all teachers.  Our children are learning everything they need to know about being good human beings when we provide them with love, safety, and the occasional Bear Hunt. Showing compassion to them and others will go further than any lesson they will learn out of a book.  My kids have learned a multitude of useful life lessons this week. For example, “Do not flush wet wipes down the toy-lit (toilet)” is posted loud and proud on a sign in the front window of our building.  This word of advice comes straight from the heart of my 6-year-old and it brings me joy to know he is listening and paying attention to the real struggles we are facing right now as a company and a community low on toilet paper!

We are making the most of what we have (which is far more than what most have).  Life isn’t all real estate and roses.  Let us be happy with our simple pleasures today and always.  Stay courageous when things go wrong.  Welcome Home.

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