Sacred Spaces

Embracing Closeness

The past nearly three weeks have been marked by close interiority, the contemplations and conversations that arise from being confined—first, for me, with my second bout of COVID; then, with my mother’s hospitalization (not from COVID); throughout, other beloveds’ health concerns. The rhythms of these challenges have been ultimately beautiful, with the gathering of materials and processes toward healing; the gathering of family toward unity and resolutions; the gathering of knowledge toward an understanding of causal connections. I’m used to a lot of movement of my body, throughout my day, across surrounding landscapes, but these past weeks have been marked mostly by stillness and sleep, by days blurring together, by the lived space ending at the edge of a bed, the near wall of a room.

Gratitude bubbles up all around what might be otherwise distressing: I was sick with a much less violent and prolonged form of COVID this time, recovering in my own home, with all my health-supporting resources at hand; I was able to spend many hours of connective time with my mother and my siblings and with other family and friends; we’ve already established robust routes of clear communication for navigating whatever it is that lies ahead for each of us, for all of us.  Wednesday night, in the hours before Valentine’s Day ended, there was a breather, a break in the concerns and logistics, a slight lifting of the weight of it all. R. and I dressed up a little, invited our middle son and daughter-in-law to join us, and traveled to our favorite grocery store’s cafe for a holiday meal together, where we sat among other families asserting that love expands far beyond its romantic forms, the arms of it wide and welcoming.

We were surrounded by hearts in all the shades of pink, woven, printed, and scattered on all the surfaces and textures: People’s sweaters and skirts, headbands and scarves, shoes and bags. There were heart sprinkles on cupcakes in the bakery, heart-shaped chocolate mousses and creme brûlées. There were bouquets of flowers and boxes of chocolates—and a long, snaking line at the express checkout of folks carrying one of each. There was a kind of silliness to the prettiness, a lightness of mood, and hope in the air—a respite, even if brief, from difficult developments personally, nationally, globally—and I felt saturated with happiness, another Perfect Moment at hand.