This December, for the third year in a row, our book club enjoyed a book exchange. The format was a bit different due to COVID. Readers deposited their paper treasures in a cooler on my back deck and signed up to receive the title of their choice. A few days later, I delivered books in my car, temporarily cheered by lightly falling snow and crooning Christmas carolers on the radio.
Christmas itself involved staying up to wee hours to wrap presents, then getting up twenty minutes later when my kids decided they couldn’t sleep another wink. And then, after a flurry of wrapping paper, Christmas ended, and I started wishing mightily for a pick me up. As my husband likes to say, there is no reward for getting through Christmas. You just get January in New England.
I have to tell you I laughed out loud. Repeatedly.
It was such a great choice for the dead of winter in the doldrums of a pandemic when you realize you haven’t had a date night in gosh knows how long. Date night now might mean sitting in the same room for an hour after the kids go to bed and fretting (fuming?) about how to get the squirrels out of your attic space.
Then you read this little 100 page book. It reminds you that you don’t love marriage despite the struggles. In fact, you enjoy the struggles too. Or rather, you enjoy minor problem-solving scenarios like divvying up leftovers and doing that dance in the kitchen as we jockey for space. And with regards to bigger issues like the squirrels, perhaps you’ll enjoy laughing about those times when you look back at them later (if the squirrels ever leave). You enjoy this extra-unpredictable-other-worldly dimension of your life and truly believe it’s other-worldly in nature because only a God with a hope bigger than our understanding would ever believe that we could pull it off.
Remember you are not alone is something we’ve heard so often during this pandemic and yet strained to believe, and this book reminds you of related truth that you’ve forgotten to remember -- to be grateful that you get to be a part of this strange club where you get to have inside jokes -- and inside arguments -- with the initially random person who later became the one who vowed to put up with you no matter what. This book is so great I’d say give it to your lover for Valentine’s Day. I mean, I would if the day hadn’t already passed. You probably got her something amazing though, right? What’s that? You forgot? Oh well, it’s really just a Hallmark holiday. No one really cares about it.
But you could still read the book. Enjoy. For twenty minutes may you too forget that you are in the middle of winter and slogging it through a pandemic. May you remember that you are surrounded by (sometimes suffocated by) someone who loves you.
Here you will find a catalog of my writing and reflections.