Learning to (Re)Build a Better Me

Scott here. It’s my turn to share some thoughts and insights. I can only hope to fill in the footsteps of Jay, Alex and Katie who paved the way in our desire to share our thoughts about the pandemic with you, our friends. Their words and contemplations inspired me and made me smile – but most of all comforted me. 

Amid C-19, as if that alone and its shock waves weren’t enough, in Utah we have experienced earthquakes, brush fires that burned acres and threatened the possible evacuation of our home, watched the world in political and social unrest, and my back has been on the fritz! I mean, how much is enough 2020?!

Recently, while working and listening to music, George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps rolled into the rotation. I have heard it like a million times it seems but, as great music does, these lyrics seemed to rise above being background music, louder and clearer to me than before.

I look at the world, and I notice it’s turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake, we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps

I have spent time the past months asking myself that same question: what am I supposed to be learning from all these recent life storms? What does my “self” look like on the other side of all of this? Am I better, the same or worse? A wise person I know told me a long time ago that if we don’t learn something from trials — your own or others — then they were in vain. I can weep or I can grow and transcend present difficulties. It’s up to me how I approach this – the world will keep turning with or without me.

As I have pondered over the past few months, I have been mentally numerating the joys and blessings in my life. I have found a new appreciation for the little things in my life and know that I took many of them for granted prior to the pandemic. The little things are actually the big things that make a difference in my life as opposed to the minutiae of life’s lists I tend to get caught up with. In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller (yes, I went there), “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Hello, 1986 – we miss you!  : )

Looking around as Mr. Bueller suggests, a few nuggets come to mind that have made me smile lately: A new found appreciation for my wife and kids – I am fortunate that they are in my life each day and I wonder how I stumbled and got here. A hug from my grandkids and seeing the wonder, joy and hope of life in their eyes. Waking up every morning to mountains that surround me and beckon me to hike their paths. Thinking of a day when all can safely gather and touch one another without fear, distance or a mask. A renewed dislike of crowded places. Seeing businesses open and thriving, as opposed to empty buildings and parking lots that look like a dystopian, sci-fi future. Knowing others are healthy and well, vibrantly living life. Grateful for those on the front lines of this pandemic looking for a cure and working to keep a virus at bay. Watching the graceful and frenetic dance of hummingbirds in my back yard. Seeing friends in a new light and being grateful they are in my life. Reading books and listening to more music. Turning off the TV and its voice of discord. Having a newly restored faith in the resiliency and goodness of our human family.

The list goes on and on and I won’t bore you with any more of my musings since we all have these epiphanies that are individual and unique to ourselves. Life is good. That’s another thing I tend to forget. I’ll make a promise to my future self not to ignore this new light and to try to keep this new perspective when our world returns to a fast paced normal — whatever that is or looks like. 

I am reminded of a story about a rabbi…
A rabbi asked God, “What is my task in life?”
“To build a better world,” said God. 
The rabbi answered, “How? The world is such a large, vast place. It’s so complicated now … and I’m so small and useless. There’s not much I can do.”
But God said, “Just build a better you.”

I really love that story, but more importantly its challenge. So here’s to a better us as we pause, ponder and reboot during this curious time. Despite a whirling world around us, we make our own sunrises each day.