Remember that feeling? Anticipation. Remember the 1971 Carly Simon song? “Anticipation. Anticipa-a-tion is makin’ me late is keepin’ me wai-ai-ai-ai -aiting.” 

Remember the Heinz ketchup commercial? 

My calendar is empty, except for some virtual meetings and walks with friends here and there. I hurt my ankle – again – and even those scheduled strolls are on hold. 

I’m on hold, but I’m not on hold. I witness the brightening of this amazingly green morning in the misty rain. After the rain, I anticipate the sun. Yesterday, buds opened right before my eyes. I wonder if this is how it will be with the calendar – slowly things will appear. Slowly life will be in full bloom again. 

But life is in full bloom right now. There is no waiting for life. 

People say 

  • I can’t wait til I can go to a restaurant again.
  • I can’t wait till I can go to a ballgame – any type of ballgame.
  • I can’t wait til I can hear a band play.
  • I can’t wait to go to a bar. 
  • I can’t wait to dance at a party. (I miss dancing!)

Anticipation. With the ketchup bottle, you can see the red paste making its way to the plate. I can’t see anything making its way to my calendar. 

My friend Ann now lives in Arizona, and today she emailed that she doesn’t know when she will be home again. 

My mom lives in a nursing home. She is 93, and I don’t know when I will see her again.

My grandchildren live in Milwaukee, and I don’t know when I will hug them again. 

We wait. But where is the excitement of anticipation? We have two friends whose daughters are getting married this summer. Will they happen? I’m not frustrated with not knowing – I’m just waiting.  

When things are cancelled, I am fine. I accept. I’m not mad or angry – just meekly disappointed. We expect to celebrate benchmarks. Where did these expectations come from?

I think about the desolate, yet spectacular, Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland, where three of Tim and my grandparents are from. Or the west coasts of County Clare and Mayo where the other five were born. What was life like for them only a few generations ago? I don’t think they hosted big shindigs to celebrate birthdays, weddings, retirement and anniversaries. Entire towns had less people that a few city blocks in Chicago. 

I’ve missed so many funerals. Yesterday, I mailed four sympathy cards. Misericordia in Chicago is hearing a lot from me lately as I request prayers for friends’ loved ones. I’ve participated in two funeral masses via lifestream. Churches are sparsely populated. Have we simply returned to what was?

Today Tim’s coworker emailed and apologized that he and his fiance must limit their June wedding guest list to close family. How awkward for this wonderful, young man to have to uninvite us. His love for his fiance is all that matters. We will toast him from our home on June 13th, and that is enough. We will celebrate their commitment in our hearts – without the hoopla. 

Have we – in our quest to create lasting memories – embellished miracles like lifelong commitments and life everlasting into major events and somehow muffled the beautiful essence of what is? Love. 

As a lover of hoopla, it is strange how I accept cancellations. I understand. And I wait. And in the meantime, I do my best to bloom. 

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