Thoughts along the path . . .

Friendship during Pandemic

This week I received an email from Blood Services reminding me to donate blood in a couple of weeks. That startled me because, well, didnít I just give blood a few weeks ago? And since they require women to wait three months before giving again, can this possibly be true? If so, then three months have passed since I last donated. And, if thatís the case, then three months have passed since I last wrote something for the Ayr News!

Where did the time go? What have I been doing? And, for that matter, what have I not been doing? With COVID-19 still framing daily life and presenting both opportunities and limitations, I am in a time-warp. Some activities that used to mark the passing of time donít occur anymore. Some other activities do occur, though in a different way ó perhaps through zoom or email óand with adjustments for delays, interruptions, and distractions.

With Ontario officially in its Phase 3 reopening, new questions arise. If somewhere is now open, am I ready to go there? If someone invites me to do something with them, how do I judge my safety as well as readiness? How do I tactfully invite others or accept (or not) their invitations?

John and I have recently taken a leap to inviting a few friends into our backyard for at-a-distance visiting. We have noticed an array of standards among guests. Some are comfortable drinking coffee from our mugs, while others prefer to bring their own. Some share food served from one platter, and others prefer to eat from separate trays. One table or two? Wear masks while walking around the garden or not? Closely watch the clock for a one-hour limit or unconcerned since we are outside and at-a-distance? Truly, it seems nothing is simple anymore.

And yet we do it, eagerly even. What is sweeter than seeing friends and offering them hospitality? I am finding that if I admit the awkwardness of the situation, we can all laugh and then move on with the visit.

Ever since the pandemic began, I have felt grateful for living in Ayr with its kind and respectful neighbours, our tidy yards and wide quiet streets. Within minutes I can walk/bike/drive to parks and trails. We have a bakery, grocery, library, gym, pharmacy, ponds with birds, the river, and so many other treasures.

I never forget though that around the world there remains great suffering ó and not just because of the pandemic. I try to keep in touch with local, regional, national, and international news; and I try to find ways to be helpful. What can I do, what can you do, what can anyone do?

Though there will be a delay between now and when this is published, Iíd like to mention that I am writing this on 30 July, which happens to be The United Nations International Day of Friendship. Maybe thatís why Iím thinking about friendship as the key to a better future.

As the current pandemic reminds us daily, we can solve problems, even crises, if we work together. Why is that the case? Because working together is empowered by respect and kindheartedness. At the most basic level, we can consider everyone as friends and even as members of one human family. Building on that, we can find ways to move from thoughts and words to action. This short quotation from the Bahaíi writings sums it up: ďDo not be content with showing friendship in words alone, let your heart burn with loving-kindness for all who may cross your path.Ē



Submitted to Ayr News by Jaellayna Palmer, July 2020

© Jaellayna Palmer 2020