If you’re a long-time reader of Sick Pilgrim, you’ll know that we used to have a column called “Things Keeping Us Alive.” TKUA was meant to name small joys – places and times when we encountered unexpected grace. It was meant to remind us that there is an abundance of things to feed our spirits even in darkness and doubt.
Well. If there ever was a time of darkness and doubt, a global pandemic is it, and so we’re revisiting these posts and naming the things that are keeping us going even when we’re fearful and under stay-at-home-orders.
Kristen Allen is a frequent contributor to SP. This March she writes:
- I was delighted this month by hearing my 13-week-old grandson laugh for the first time. I can’t think of the last time my heart got squeezed so tightly.
2. The peepers are back. Oh, how I love these tiny frogs singing their hot-n-bothered hearts out during their brief mating season. (Listen here).
3. The American Beauty album from the Grateful Dead. It’s become something of a hymnal for me.
4. The recipes I’ve collected from women I’ve loved. Baking Nola’s banana bread or Deb’s blueberry muffins (that have so many blueberries in them that the batter turns purple!), cutting out “ninja bread men” with my cousin’s sons, made from our Nana’s molasses sugar cookie recipe, or putting Ruth’s “Awesome Sauce” on my sandwich (or literally anything!) is like spending time with them for a lighthearted chat. At the very same time, it is like offering up a prayer for them and all my sisters.
5. These two very good dogs. (They are not good. They are incorrigible, but we love each other without limits.)
For myself, the things keeping me going are such things as:
- “Murder, She Wrote.” It’s currently available on Amazon Prime and it is both terrible and delightful. It hearkens back to an earlier time in my life, when everyone’s hair Looked Like That and I didn’t know what a pandemic was. So that’s nice. It’s also just demanding enough that it keeps me guessing, without demanding that I steel my nerves for something gritty with realism. It’s also very solidly in the category of “camp,” which I love. “Murder, She Wrote,” Lynda Carter’s “Wonder Woman,” Adam West’s “Batman,” these are all favorites with me right now.
2. “Jane Eyre.” My daughter just finished reading “Jane Eyre” for school. It has been a delight. It’s exactly the kind of book she loves to hate, and her criticisms of Mr. Rochester and St. John Rivers have been scathing and hilarious. So have the Jane Eyre family pantomimes, which have been endless.
3. “Lord of the Rings.” It was our family’s New Year’s Resolution to read “Lord of the Rings” this year. We picked a good time for it, apparently. My husband has been reading a few pages aloud each evening since January. We’re midway through “The Two Towers” at the moment, and it’s providing a place for stability that we very much need right now. I’ve resolved to work only on LOTR themed knits while my husband reads. So far, I’ve made a Leaves of Lorien shawl and am currently working on a Lothlorien themed scarf. My kids keep asking me why I make so many scarves and shawls. Because Reasons, okay?