One of the best fiction series, in my opinion, is Jan Karon’s Mitford books. Karon does such a good job of crafting this fictional town, it feels like an actual place where I want to live.
The main character, Father Tim Kavanagh, presents his wisdom in spades. As the local Episcopal priest, he oversees most of the spiritual events in Mitford. But he is also a practical fellow who grows roses, struggles with diabetes, and walks daily with his faithful dog, Barnabas.
Recently, I re-read the latest book in the series, To Be Where You Are. In this story, Karon offers a special life-values formula via Father Tim.
What are the three things everyone needs in their life?
Someone to Love. We all need an object of our affection, whether human or a pet. And I would suggest we also need to know and truly believe we are loved by someone.
During COVID lockdown, one of my friends had to put down her beloved dog. But she knew living alone without something or someone to love would be emotionally painful and isolating.
So she bought a puppy. Between potty training, adapting her new buddy to the environment of her house, and the usual vet visits — she had no time to feel isolated or worry about COVID. She had someone to love. And the regular licks of her face proved she was loved in return.
Something to Do. We all need to feel as if we have a purpose, that our lives matter for something. Activity of some kind keeps our brains nimble, our muscles hydrated. If we can see we are making a difference, leaving an impact for someone else, that sense of significance soothes our souls.
During the pandemic, I was so grateful I could continue to work. Although some people tired of Zoom meetings, I was grateful for this technology that allowed me to coach my clients and help them publish their books.
In fact, during COVID, multiple books were published — especially digitally. With more time at home, more people were reading. All the authors in the world cheered.
Multiple words were produced, words that will impact readers forever because of writers such as my clients who continued to write.
And they increased my hope as I had work to do, helping them to make an impact with their wordsmithing.
Something to Look Forward to. Whether it is holding a newly published book in your hand, planning for a wedding, or cleaning the clutter to downsize and move to a smaller place — we need some reason to anticipate the future.
As we circle a date on the calendar and make a list of tasks to complete, we focus on something positive happening soon. From that future event rises a feeling of hope, a surge of joy for something good on the horizon.
In 2020, I often thanked God in advance for the day I would no longer have to wear a mask. Looking forward to that time helped me deal with the reflection of myself in the mirror, masked and praying I would not get COVID.
Although masks helped us stay a bit healthier, they also represented fear. So the anticipation of no longer needing to wear one felt like freedom in advance. Answered prayer with God’s detailed timing.
Many of us in the last act of life are anticipating that day when our bodies no longer constrain us. When our spirits get to lift out of flesh and become totally free. When we get to relax in the arms of God.
That anticipation becomes a life-giving hope that carries us through health scares, changes in family dynamics, even the higher prices at the grocery store. And it helps to remind us that the problems we daily face are really nothing compared to the amazing life ahead.
Someone to love. Something to do. Something to look forward to.
Wise words and a reason to reflect on these blessings in our lives. Then thank God for the hope they offer.
©2022 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved.
One of the books I wrote after COVID lockdown is titled: Day by Day: Hope for Senior Wisdom. Check it out on Amazon and Kindle.