Practicing Acceptance in the Time of Covid-19

Practice acceptance, my husband would remind me when the Camino got the best of me.

When the gites were full, the markets were closed, and the rain just would. not. stop.

You know, all of the times when traveling through new places didn’t line up with my plans.

 

Practice acceptance, I remind myself now, when this new world gets the best of me.

When the people wear masks, the markets are closed, and the news just will. not. stop.

You know, all of the times when this new future doesn’t line up with my plans.

 

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Dawn in Le Puy

Hello, my friends. It’s been too long. In five years of blogging here at Camino Times Two, I’ve never dropped off for a month, let alone three. But I suppose we’ve never had such a time as this.

I had big plans in February, and a list of things I wanted to write about. On Leap Day weekend, Eric and I flew down to southern Oregon to visit friends who’d just bought a house there. We had a fantastic, relaxed time hiking and exploring and visiting wineries…not knowing that it would be the last travel we did for the foreseeable future. We flew home on March 1, and two days later I got emails from a few friends I’d had lunch with the week before. Several of them had odd, flu-like symptoms…and suddenly, coronavirus was real. (I’m fine. Through the luck of table seating and who drove in what car, I never got sick. But it shut down my “everything’s normal” attitude pretty quickly.)

For the next couple of weeks, we watched the dominoes fall. Schools closed. My beloved library closed. Restaurants closed. Everything closed.

The Camino closed.

I didn’t know how to talk about that. I still don’t. My fellow Camino blogger Nadine said on Instagram this week, “every time I open up my photos from last summer, I ache a bit.” I have the same reaction. It seems impossible to share the stories, let alone the advice, when we don’t know what happens next. It’s often hard to remember.

I had a whole new plan for this year, including a Big Trip (that might have become the Next Book) that crumbled before I even had a chance to tell you about it. I had a lot of little trips I thought I needed to take. I fought reality for the first few weeks. If you know me, or you’ve read this blog or the book, you know that I’m not an early adopter to change.

But…practice acceptance.

Or, as I said when I first tried to explain this:

Sometimes I just have to accept what is, rather than what should be, and adjust myself, rather than the immovable situation in front of me.

More than two months into a pandemic lockdown, and five years after my first steps on the Way of St. James, I’m still working on this Camino mantra. I’m still learning to live in the present and in what’s right in front of me. I work from home, and am grateful that work is still coming. I walk almost every day in our local park, a deep ravine of Pacific Northwest woods that are full of surprises—last week, two barred owls; yesterday, a hummingbird nest with two eggs (pics on Instagram). I volunteer once a week at our local hot meal program (like a soup kitchen). I bake cookies. I read. Eric and I play board games. And I wait.

Because the Camino is closed, but it’s not going anywhere. The pilgrimage path of Saint James has survived worse than Covid-19. It survived the Black Plague. It survived the Reformation. It survived the Spanish Civil War. The cathedrals built by hand have stood for centuries, and they’ll still be standing when we all emerge.

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Burgos Cathedral

So maybe it’s time to start writing again. I don’t know yet what will be here. (I’m open to suggestions.) The things I’m thinking about right now are less about global travel and more about how to stay connected, and to live without fear, and to find peace in the quiet places. But then again, maybe those are Camino lessons, too?

Thanks for still being here with me, in these online spaces.

Ultreia et suseia.

Onward.


3 thoughts on “Practicing Acceptance in the Time of Covid-19

  1. Beth,
    It’s so good to hear from you again! Thanks for letting us know you and Eric are well and have avoided the virus. Like you and so many others, my notebook of plans for returning to the Chemin in May has been placed back on my bookshelf. And so this year’s Camino is taking place in my neighborhood. I look forward to reading your reflections about this unexpected adventure that we are sharing.
    Bon Chemin!

    Liked by 1 person

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