The End of the Streak
One-thousand-three-hundred-forty-two days is roughly 3 years, eight months, and one day, and that’s how long our streak had been going. The world shut down on March 13, 2020, and we had been lucky enough to avoid getting Covid for this long, and then our luck ran out .
It came on fast and out of nowhere. One minute I was fine and the next, I was thinking
uh-oh, something’s wrong. Paul followed about 12 hours later. Nothing about it felt right or normal. I knew something was up. It didn’t feel like a cold. This was a different beast altogether.
In 1960, Haley Mills played a little girl called Pollyanna in the film of the same name. She was an annoyingly perky and positive orphan. That kind of says it all, doesn’t it?
She always played something she called the Glad Game. When anything bad happened she would find the positive aspect of it. For example, one holiday season she was accidentally given crutches as a Christmas gift instead of the doll she asked for. Rather than being upset about it, the Glad Game helped her realize how wonderful it was that she didn’t need the crutches. So much positivity it’s annoying. You can just imagine how great it would feel to pop her one.
While Paul and I have certainly not played Glad Game, this experience has showed us some important things. These are in no specific order.
#1. We are lucky to have a house with enough rooms so that we could spread out and get away from each other. (And contrary to the previous paragraph, this is probably the most important.)
#2. Self-care is not a luxury; it’s a necessity, whether to stay healthy enough to prevent illness or to recover from it.
#3. It couldn’t have happened at a better time. Paul's and my speeches were over; we weren’t traveling, and it was enough time before Thanksgiving.
#4. Apparently I have an upper gear that kicks in. My SAT sessions weren’t finished so I taught online for several hours with a fever of over 101°. Now to be honest, I have no idea of who I tutored or what I said, but I did it.
#5. As important as we all think we are, the earth doesn’t stop spinning because we are out of commission for a few days. We sometimes think we are so indispensable that we can’t take time off. An illness shows us that we not only can, but we probably should.
#6. We have learned about compassion with each other. Because Paul and I have had it at the same time, a coughing attack that would normally cause an annoyance now elicits sympathy. Instead of feeling impatient at someone’s lack of energy or because the other person’s dirty dishes did not make it to the dishwasher, it’s complete understanding because your own could only make it as far as the counter as well.
#7. And in all honesty, this is probably the most important thing I’ve learned: we have some of the best friends in the world. A crockpot of delicious chicken soup appeared on our doorstep; so did a bag of food along with a little rosemary Christmas tree. I’m not exaggerating when I say they “appeared.” The doorbell would ring and by the time we could open the door, no one was there. But we received tons of offers from so many people. These weren’t empty gestures either. If there was anything we had needed, all we would have had to do was say the word. These are people who are busy with their own lives, who have more to do than can be accomplished in a day, and yet when a friend is in need, they come to the rescue with food, with prayers, with daily check-ins, and with well wishes.
Maybe I did just play the Glad Game after all.