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Dust It Off

The sneezing is brutal! I’m having trouble seeing what I’m doing and beginning to regret my decision to start my Christmas decorating. Each tub that gets pulled off the shelf disrupts another layer of dust. I decorate each year but evidently I haven’t taken the opportunity to do any dusting. In case you haven’t figured it out…I don’t care for dusting. There are always much more exciting things to do.

Face it. Unless you are in love with forensic activities, most people don’t care for dusting, cleaning the fridge, the corner cupboard or junk drawer. Don’t even think about checking under the bed.

That being said…it is the year 2020 and let’s just say that it’s not been a year to let dust settle. COVID19 has put a tailspin on most everything in our lives. It has changed the way we socialize, shop, worship, travel and generally look at the world.

Weddings and funerals, both of which can be quite large, became a gathering of immediate family or less. The introverts were thrilled and the extroverts promised a grand celebration once COVID is under control. I am definitely a card-carrying member of the extroverted grand celebration crowd.

The first couple of months were pretty tough as the weather kept many indoors, especially here in northern Alberta. When it warmed up, the gardeners hit the ground running and even the ones without a green thumb helped to clean out the seed companies and greenhouses in record time.

The quilters and sewers were thrilled to have the time to work on all their unfinished projects. Fabric stores ran out of basic colors like black, navy, grey, cream and white. Anyone who had elastic was sitting on a gold mine. Mask making became a highly prized skill. A sewing machine was greatly valued, even if it hadn’t been used in 25 years and the dust had to be scraped off.

Of course there was sadness too. Having a baby became stressful as visitors were limited to one per patient. Non urgent surgeries were postponed. Those living in care homes were cut off from outside visitors, many confused as to why. Loved ones lost their lives to COVID, often dying alone.

It became a challenge to find the joyful moments, the things to be thankful for. Between the conspiracy theories, lock downs, fear of a horrible death and deep loneliness, joy got covered in the dust of coping. It was shoved into the back of the corner cupboard, buried in the junk drawer and kicked under the bed.

It brought us face to face with a choice. Either we had to grab the dusting cloth and deal with the sneezing or continue to live without joy.

It was wonderful to see musicians get creative with social media. Many closet musicians appeared and the joy started to shine. People blew the dust off their skill sets and looked for ways to practise kindness. I’m sure there was some sneezing happening but it was behind a mask. Kindness was scattered about and joy experienced. As I move into this Christmas season of 2020, contemplating how different it is going to be without a table full of family and friends, I have determined that it will be memorable. It won’t be about what I don’t get to experience but what I choose to make it extra special. I will get dusting, sneeze, and let the joy shine.

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