[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to welcome author Suzanne W. Fisher to the site. She’s talking about the joys of living simply. Take it away, Susan!]
Once a year, a shepherd gathers his flock and brings them to a holding pen for a very special kind of bubble bath: a sheep dip. The day should be warm and dry, the sheep should be rested. One by one, the sheep go through the dip, and the shepherd dunks their heads under so the dip invades their eyes, ears and nose.
Understandably, the sheep hate it. They panic, they squirm, they bleat, they baah, they try to flee.
This special brew rids the sheep of parasites, lice, fungus, blowflies that infest their eyes and nose, and other kinds of horrible things. Without it, their summer would be, at best, full of distractions. At worst, disease.
It occurred to me, as I write this piece, that our country is being forced to go through a type of sheep dip. It feels oppressive, punishing, invasive, all because of an invisible enemy that respects no boundaries.
My state has been under the Shelter-in-Place order for ten days now. Not long enough yet to see the benefits of containing the coronavirus, but definitely long enough to feel the weight of it—the isolation, the diminishing pantry, the restriction of normal life, even…the boredom.
And that brings me to the benefits of this unique, country-wide sheep dip: a stripping of distractions. A layer of protection. And a surfeit of spare time.
When in your life have you ever felt you have an abundance of time? Me? Never. I’m always running behind, wishing a day had more hours, a week had more days. Are you finding, like I am, that slowing down brings a sweetness? I know I feel more patient with others, more kind. Important things—family, friends, church—are more important. Annoying distractions seem trivial.
Soon, this virus will crest and break, and there will be a light at the end of this dark tunnel. And when it does, “normal” will start rushing in.
But let’s hold on a moment.
For all the coughing and sputtering and head shaking that comes from getting dunked in the Quarantine sheep dip, there are some gifts to be gleaned out of this experience. Soon, we will have an opportunity to re-set our lives.
So what have you learned about your life in this experience? It’s fragile, for one. We shouldn’t waste a minute of it. Are there any needless distractions you’d like the sheep dip to rid you of?
For me, I’ve realized that there’s a lot of things I can live without. Time wasters like scrolling Facebook or drifting through on-line shopping or watching mindless TV. Living with less has a certain appeal. I don’t want to lose that awareness. Simple living can be quite lovely.
And then there’s gifts, too. What benefits would you like to take away from the Quarantine sheep dip?
Gary, a young dad who works long days for a big corporation, has been working at home since early March. He works in a tiny spare room in the back of the house, and is able to pop in and out of his little family’s life throughout the day. “It feels like the way it should be,” Gary said. “The way life on farms must have been for centuries.”
My friend Laura and her husband have been systematically tackling the clean-out of closets throughout their home. “It’s actually been kind of fun to finally have time to get organized,” Laura said. Her husband found an old favorite book he’d thought he’d lost. He re-read it, savoring it, because he had the time to do so.
Speaking of books, my neighbor Cara has been reading the books that she’s collected over the years that have gathered dust on her shelves. “I love to read,” she said. “I don’t know why I’ve waited so long to carve out time each day for reading.” Other friends are learning new skills: crochet, knit, piano. It’s amazing what information is available via You-Tube.
My youngest son, Tad, has been dating a lovely young woman for the last six months. They both have busy careers, and time together has been sporadic because of Tad’s heavy travel schedule. “These last few weeks,” Tad said, “we’ve had time to just get to know each other better.”
There’s time to prioritize relationships. I’ve been scheduling daily “dog walk & talk” with friends, especially those who live far away.
Here’s my most significant takeaway—a heightened gratitude. I shudder to think of all that I’ve taken for granted prior to the Covid-19 pandemic: running to the grocery store without worrying about it, playing tennis with friends, planning get togethers that aren’t dependent on Zoom, welcoming a grandchild into my house with a big hug and kiss. I hope I never, ever lose this heightened sense of gratitude. It’s the best gift from the Quarantine sheep dip.
I’m 99% positive—that despite all of the inconveniences and disappointments and worries of this unique global experience—you might agree with me on this. Gratitude is what our corners of the world, yours and mine, need right now. Gratitude changes everything.
About the Author:
Award winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher writes for readers who have learned to expect the unexpected. With more than one million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling author of more than 30 works, ranging from novels to non-fiction books to children’s books. Currently, she lives with her very big family in the East Bay.
On a Coastal Breeze by Suzanne W. Fisher
For Madison Grayson, life is good. Newly licensed as a marriage and family therapist, she can’t wait to start her practice. Despite the unfortunate shortage of eligible bachelors on the island–they’re all too young, too old, or too weird–Maddie feels like she’s finally found her sweet spot. Not even one panic attack in the last year. Not one.
And then Ricky O’Shea drops in. Literally. Floating down from the pure blue sky, the one man in the world she hoped never to see again–the one who’d been her archnemesis from kindergarten through her senior dance–parachutes into town, landing on Boon Dock, canopy draping behind him like a superhero. Ricky O’Shea. Now Pastor Rick, the new minister on Three Sisters Island.
Time to panic.
With wit and a bit of whimsy, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Three Sisters Island where family, forgiveness, and a second chance at love await