Adventures with Anne – National President Anne-Marie Gorman, April 1, 2020

April 01, 2020

This adventure may be the most unique I have experienced in my lifetime, and yet, likely similar to your experience at this time. Short of having been ill and sequestered in bed at home as a child for more than one week one summer—a fate worse than death for a tomboy who spent her life outdoors—this is the first time I have been in quarantine for two weeks, after having been out of province. Dutifully following the advice of the provincial chief medical officer and the federal safety and health regulations has been challenging, but not without some levity. I daresay my life is much like yours.

I heard on the radio (and from one of the working group members) how much cleaner and well-organized people’s houses are, specifically the closets and cupboards. This certainly gave me pause. I have made lists, discarded lists and made new lists. I guess what I have learned is, as Dr. Seuss said, “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” My time has been occupied by the daily mass, the Prayer to St. Michael, the Angeles, and the Rosary, along with reflections on the daily readings by His Holiness Pope Francis, Cardinal Thomas Collins (Toronto), Bishop Robert Barron (Los Angeles), Father Eric Tellez, my parish priest Father Bill Brennan and associate Father Maria Arokiam Chinnappan. My regular reflections from Father Richard Rohr and Father Ron Rolheiser continue. Add to that the daily Lenten reflections by His Holiness with a probing question for my husband and me to consider, and the morning is almost gone. I have a list of people for whom I pray daily. This list keeps getting longer but I cannot abbreviate it. All my League sisters are included. You have your favourite and new reflections too, I am sure.

Maybe I have to rise much earlier, as breakfast has to be prepared and consumed, meals considered, some indoor exercise completed, League activities executed, calls made to friends and relatives, including my dear mother-in-law who will be 100 April 7th; federal government updates on the COVID-19 internalized… How much time is left for cleaning and organizing closets? However, I have promised myself I am going to get a bit of spring cleaning done if for no other reason than to salve my guilty conscience. John and I are working, very slowly, on a 1,000 piece puzzle, which may or may not be completed by summer.

I have also been working on a book I received shortly after my first grandchild was born. That would be 15 years ago! There are 365 prompts, so I began recalling childhood memories for the grandchildren a few years ago, mainly writing in the book in the winter, a quieter time. I brought it out most recently last week to see how many entries I have left. More than I had hoped. Whether I complete the book this spring or it stretches over until next winter, I am committed to completing and sending before Will’s 16th birthday March 17, 2021.

There are takeaways from this new reality that have been positive, realizing more fully that “God is God and I am not.” I continue to be assured of God’s presence in the midst of the uncertainty, have taken the time to be more present to listen to God, have thought about my fellow brothers and sisters without adequate shelter and food, and made practical plans to help out more once I am liberated from the confines of my home. My four kids arrange via Zoom what they call “business meetings” to which I am invited. It is like sitting in the living room at home with my crew, and it provides much laughter. I thank God again and again for the simple pleasures of life.

Besides that, I learned something new from Cardinal Collins as an aside one day, if you want to complete your handwashing in Catholic style: It takes about the required 20 seconds directed by health authorities to say the Hail Mary twice.

God bless and stay well until next time…