First published in the BC Catholic Newspaper on May 26, 2020 https://bccatholic.ca/voices/lisa-rumpel/just-to-be-alive-is-a-grand-thing
Wildflowers dotted the grass around my picnic blanket. Shade from tall evergreens created a perfect spot for me to rest in. I kicked off my running shoes and let my bare feet enjoy the cool breeze. Laying down on the blanket tucked away in Queen Elizabeth Park felt like my own piece of paradise. Birds flitted from treetop to tree branch. Fuzzy bees flew by and visited pink rhododendrons nearby. The smell of ferns and evergreens reminded me of hiking trips of the past. Hunger pains told me it was near dinner.
Calling my mom, we chatted for a good half hour. Then after the conversation about our hopes and dreams, we said a short prayer together. Two young girls were sharing snacks on a picnic blanket near me. They laughed and picked up pinecones. I dug into my handbag for my red beaded rosary that my mom gifted me. Sitting with my chin titled toward the sky, I prayed the Glorious Mysteries with many intentions in my heart.
The Lord is generous in his love. Even with all of the social isolation, I have felt community in the many phone calls, text messages, and video chats with my friends and family. We have become more creative in ways to connect. Virtual dance parties, brunches, movie dates, and Mass have become a way to bond when we cannot be in person.
God’s love cannot be undone with an outbreak of a virus causing anxiety to rise. It has been a “corona coaster” of worries and emotions for me lately. Going out in nature and hearing my loved ones’ voices over the phone has been a calm grounding. Surprising to me is my increased desire to create art, bake, dance, and laugh with loved ones.
My dream of completing my book has really been forefront on my mind. I know that my small plans are nothing to what God has planned for me. His plans are bigger and better than mine. I feel like God will bless my little “yes” in taking action. Without having my social calendar full, I am using the extra time to foster my creative pursuits. As I felt the Lord say to me in prayer, “Pick up the pen and be brave.” I have been journalling, writing poems, taking notes, and jotting ideas down. As a writer, living life vibrantly fills the well of creativity. I go for many walks, read lots of books, and fill my hours with varied activities which brings countless material to my writing desk.
Being in an environment that helps me do the work and having the right tools is key. For the longest time, I was without a laptop because my old one crashed. Thankfully, I had backed up my files and didn’t lose seven years of work on my book. When we open ourselves up to what we believe God is calling us to, he provides the means. It’s amazing how many people he has connected me with to assist me in writing my memoir. “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I will help you.” (Is 41:13)
The excitement of possibility and leaning into the mystery of God’s plan helps me live through these days with hope. I will cultivate the garden of my heart, watering with prayer, acts of love, and faithful trust.
As Agatha Christie said in her autobiography, “I like living. I have sometimes been wildly despairing, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”
One thought on “‘Just to be alive is a grand thing’”
I AM SO EXCITED TO READ YOUR BOOK! What a beautiful and heartfelt writing style you have!!!