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  • Writer's pictureLeanne W. Smith

Pandemics are hard and words, a comfort

Pandemics are hard. Some days the uncertainty is thick and hangs heavy. I know families now who have lost loved ones to the virus. That wasn't the case early on. People have suffered fear and worry and loss, not only for life, but for financial security and occupational dreams. Folks have bravely pressed forward with marriage, birth and retirement...have faced big life changes in a season of not knowing what the future holds. I, myself, had a CT scan earlier this week that revealed an area of "concern" which has me prepping for a PET scan in the next couple of days. It could be nothing...or something. One more item for my personal list of uncertainties. I know as well as anyone who had a malignant tumor removed last year and who had to come home from a dream semester in Italy this spring, that I don't get the luxury of dodging every bullet of inconvenience. Nor do you. Nor does anyone.

But at this moment all I'm thinking is that I am the luckiest, hence the Ben Folds lyrics above. LUCKY REASON #1 I just watched an amazing video about Don Meyer sent by a new friend... LUCKY REASON #2 ...a friend I didn't know prior to the pandemic, who has become one of my greatest personal gifts of the pandemic. Andrea and I walked a hill one day and I confessed that every time I tackle a hill I think of the legendary basketball coach who said in a class one time--that's right... LUCKY REASON #3 ...I was fortunate enough to have a class with Don Meyer as an undergrad--who said in class one time that working hills would help whittle down your backside. It may not look like it, but I've actually tried to lean into this advice and take the hills on occasion. LUCKY REASON #4

And this excellent video, which my friend's workplace (FINN Partners, DVL Seigenthaler) helped produce, led to watching another, then another on YouTube, which soon had me weeping with gratitude that I get to teach college students and write fiction novels. LUCKY REASON #5 Meyer's passion for coaching was palpable, as was his love for inspirational words to live by. In one of the videos he quotes verses from Ecclesiastes that I myself often refer to in my classes: God has enabled me to enjoy my work. Nay, not only enjoy it, but to be absolutely soul-fed by it.

I would claim university teaching as the coolest profession in the world, except that for me, personally, writing may be one click cooler. The privilege to do both? should be clear now why I'm singing the Ben Folds song. I have all this, plus a husband I've come to love and appreciate more with every new hill we climb together, two beautiful daughters, and a son-in-love all dripping with talents God gave each of them, too.

Later, in the Ben Folds song, he says, "I'm sorry I know that's a strange way to tell you that I know we belong." As I read over this post I wonder if this all seems like a strange way to explain why I feel like the luckiest.

Sometimes it's hard to put my own content out there. But watching the Meyer videos filled my heart to overflowing for his life, his influence, his willingness to show us right up until the end how to live with purpose, and for Jimmy Chaffin who helped produce two of the videos, and for Ben Folds singing a song that resonated with me, and for Andrea in sharing--all reminders of the power we each have to bless others with our God-given talents.

And I remembered what a beautiful thing legacy is, and the exercising of talents to produce inspirational content. I should know this, I preach it in my classes all the time, but I need reminders of it, too.

The powerful play goes on and I get to contribute a verse. Which brings me to this:

Next blog: big question

In my blog next week I plan to run an idea by you about my next book. Until then...

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