By April Monahan Corrias
This has been one of the most beautiful Springs that I can remember. Truly, it has been amazing. The dogwood and azalea blossoms seem bigger and brighter, the sky seems bluer, the birds chirpier. Or maybe it’s because I’ve actually had the time to watch it delicately unpack and unfold itself into Madison. In recent Springs since I’ve had children, I’ve desperately tried to capture it and to appreciate it properly. It hasn’t been possible for me in years because Springtime is also the time of soccer season and the birthdays of all three of my children – a whirling time of vacations, concerts, and events. All of these happenings are enjoyable, but can keep you so preoccupied that there remains little time left to be present, much less reflective, over the incredible miracle of Spring. This Spring, full of rebirth, is even more noteworthy, as it came during a time when the world is fearing and experiencing death. It seems no one has filled Spring in on the impending doom. The babies and blossoms have come anyway, like little cheerleaders reminding us that “this too, shall pass.” I have been working on my Masters degree, and around February, I told the youngest two children that we would not be able to swing soccer season this year. We would all be too pressed for time, and the games and practices just might push us all over the edge. The kids were not happy. I got a lot of crying and even a bit of the silent treatment. Then, blessedly, it didn’t matter. I realize it did not happen like this for everyone. I empathize with others who may not have had such an apparent lucky escape, but I do think there are so many positives to be taken from this halt. Positives that may occur to us, only when the danger is over.
It seems to me that there are two realities present in everyone’s life, whether we are comfortable admitting to it or not. In our social reality, we make polite conversation, throw parties, shop for the perfect gift, and make sure all the children’s outfits coordinate for Easter service. Then there is the other reality – our real lives. The lives that may not be particularly post-worthy. It is this part of our lives that has gotten some extra time during this pandemic. There have been moments of real reflection and conscious thoughts for me about my priorities. I have a sneaking suspicion that others have had the same types of revelations. Let’s face it, the world has a way of creating balance. It is just as easy to take things too far as it is to not give them enough attention. I have priorities on both sides of that spectrum that could use some time-out.
“If you want to know who you really are, you have to look at how you spend your time.” This common quote has both the ability to comfort and strike fear in people’s hearts. But it always comes with options. We can choose how to spend this time. We have control on how we want to come out of this pandemic. We have the choice on whether to assign blame or point fingers at others’ choices. Or, alternatively, we can choose to look at the sweet teddy bears in our neighbors’ windows providing entertainment to children that have been cooped up. We can notice Gussie’s “Happy Boxes” on doorsteps, delivered to people we love and cannot hold. We can see the churches, along with local restaurants passing out meals to those in need. We can see and revere real priorities. The priorities that should be the most important in life- health, nourishment, and love. It is my feeling we should congratulate Madison on how she has handled this pandemic. We should also thank her for the incredible Spring she has given us this year to comfort us. All around us are whispers of rebirth, a promise of life to balance out the fear of death.
April Monahan Corrias is a local lover of Madison with all its beauty and quirkiness. She is a teacher and mother of three.