A Different Kind of Holiday
A Week of Gratitude: Monday

Rekindling the Inner Fire

All week long I look for . . . 

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And then on Fridays, I report back.

==

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
                – Albert Schweitzer

I'm an introvert. Which doesn't mean I'm shy or retiring (because I'm neither). And it doesn't mean I don't like people (because I do). Or parties and social gatherings (because I enjoy those, too). It just means that I get my energy from spending time on my own; I need to recharge - I like to recharge - all by myself. As fun as parties and social events are, well . . . they wear me out. And after time "peopling," I really need some down time with my knitting or my paintbrushes or a book . . . and a glass of wine.

As my sister (also an introvert) likes to say, "We are built for a pandemic lockdown."  Yep. Able to withstand limited contact and alone-time with minimal discomfort. Plenty of books and hobbies on hand to last for a good long time. Techology to reach out when we want to reach out. But really not getting that itch to go to a party or any other social gathering that might risk our health, y'know?

But recently, I've discovered that my introvert-ness has a limit. And I'm there. I find, after nearly 9 months of connecting with my friends via FaceTime and Zoom happy hours and online-whatever-you-haves, I'm missing . . . 

community
connections
PEOPLE, in general
seeing and spending real time with my friends

(And my family, too - but that's a whole other kind of missing.)

This longing for community, for my friends, seems especially hard right now -- as we head into what will surely be a long, dark winter. Five more months of being cooped up inside (even though I do have plenty of diversions inside with me) until it's warm enough to meet in the park again for lunch at a picnic table? Five more months of meet-ups and "parties" and happy hours on Zoom (even though I'm grateful for technology that allows this kind of connection) until maybe the vaccine is available? It just feels really bleak right now. And where is the HOPE in that?

So you might say I was at a low spot.
My inner fire was definitely diminished.

And then, something happened.

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I got a note from a friend!

A really wonderful note.
The kind that warms you up and brings a smile and . . . makes you shed a tear or two.

This note bolstered my spirit and . . . gave me hope!
That we will get through this.
That we will get together again.
That we are friends.
That we remain connected.

I discovered that it's actually pretty simple . . . for a friend to rekindle your inner spirit when your inner fire goes out.

Just words.
Just a note.
A simple, heartfelt note.

This week I decided to start writing my own notes to friends. I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and start trying to spread some hope out there among my friends.

Maybe those notes will hit at a low spot . . . when the inner fire has gone out.
Maybe I'll be able to rekindle some inner spirits with my words.
I think it's worth a try!

==

My best wishes to all of you . . . for a weekend filled with peace and solace, time to rest -- and things that rekindle your inner spirit.

 

Comments

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Kat

This post has brought an onslaught of tears to my eyes. Yes... yes yes yes to all of these things. Thank you for making me see that I am moldering in my well of depression... and I need to get out of it! Sending notes to friends is an EXCELLENT idea! Thank you thank you thank you! (and I am sending you all kinds of love and cheer!)

Bonny

It's funny how we're all feeling pretty much the same, and the answer lies in all of us to do what we can to spread hope, cheer, and a kind word. I often hesitate because my gestures don't feel "big enough" but I thank you for reminding me that even small and simple can make a big difference.

Patty

I think I said the other evening I was beginning to feel the walls close in. Now my cousin is confirmed positive for Covid after doing everything to stay safe. Random acts of kindness and little sprinklings of love will get us through! And though everyone describes me as an extrovert I am really quite like you - that alone/hobby/quiet time is so important! Enjoy the weekend Kym! xoxo

Carole

I can relate to show much in this post! As a fellow introvert I'm also okay with not socializing but with the holidays arriving I find myself quite sad at not being able to gather with friends for Friendsgiving and Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. I love nothing more than pulling groups together under my roof for good food and drink and music and it's going to be hard to miss all of that this year. But perhaps I can send them notes instead to let them know that I miss feeding them and we will do it again some day.

Geri

I remember last winter as I journeyed through my treatment the cards and notes made me feel connected. In April I began an effort to call a friend once a day. This was hard for me since I can find a million things to do around the house and sitting on the phone seems not so productive. As the weather warmed and Covid numbers went down, small groups of friends gathered on our deck and patio maybe once or twice a month. Now facing winter sending notes to these people seems like a great idea!

Dee

When this is all over and we can do the things we have been waiting to do, I wonder how we will change?

I think there may be a bright side to this pandemic when all is said and done ............maybe we will socialize differently, maybe better. Maybe we will learn to enjoy our own company a bit more. Who knows? It will have been an interesting "experiment" for sure.

Carolyn

The line '...That we remain connected...' feels like the critical link. It feels so long, you are so right. I haven't hugged my best friend since March 14. (Although, I'll admit, we've bubbled together. She does not have children and she works from home. This friendship has been an anchor. Not sure what we'll do now that we're back to RED as of 5 this evening, and going on PURPLE...don't really want to think about that.). Your post made me think of a hilarious convo I had with my favorite aunt today. She's high risk so has been isolating since late Feb (because she was getting over the flu at the time and her doctor son told her COVID was coming sooner than later). So she's using up her notecard/greeting card stash....which means she's sending hilariously inappropriate messages for the occasion! Like an "On Your First Thanksgiving" card she never sent to a baby....so she's sending it to my parents, now. So silly. And a laugh we all needed. Mail really does lift our spirits.

sustainablemum

What a wonderful post and I love your idea of writing notes to friends. I have a few friends who I WhatsApp every single day, we started at the beginning of lockdown it is a lovely way to start the day for each of us. I have sent people happy parcels in the past, when they are going through a difficult patch. I put together a handful of small items and post them off.

Chloe

HANDwritten? Is that what you’re saying? Amen to that! Susan Sarandon probably didn’t realize how prophetic she was being when she said on a talk show re modern technology that she would be the only one left in her family who knew how to handwrite notes. Almost like a hug. And right around Christmas card time too.... Your definition of introvert describes me almost exactly (although with certain groups of people I can feel very shy yet still come across as bold) . When I explained this to my husband (an outright extrovert) he looked at me with great concern. Thanks for the validation!

Sarah

I really wonder if this pandemic might be what saves the USPS when we all start sending each other real, physical letters! I, too, am an introvert and have been (mostly) fine with staying home. What I find I really miss is the physical contact with my loved ones. I've joked with my daughter that when this is all over and it's safe to be close to people again, we're going to have to have hugging parties!

Julia in KW

Having just experienced an incredibly low point myself, shed a tear or two and ranted at my significant other for no reason other than...well, you know... I totally get your post...and I think I will be making use of my extensive stock of note cards to bring a surprise to people too! Great idea!

Margene

Yes! This is a perfect time to be writing note and using the mail system to chat just as our ancestors did. I don't know why I haven't thought about writing to friends as I write postcard or a note to someone every day. I'm having a V8 moment! It's time to use my stationary and my notecards to good effect!

kmkat

What a wonderful thing, a heartfelt note from a friend! I am an introvert, built for the pandemic, too, but a little distanced socializing is a mood lifter for sure.

Jane

This post was just what I needed. I sent some cards to two elderly aunts now and then. I am sending a thank you note to our mayor and director of public health. Both women have come under fire for the mask mandate and restrictions for bars and eating/recreation (pool, bowling, live entertainment) establishments.

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