Daily Connector | How I took a vacation and changed my life during the pandemic | Michele Dicke

Listening to self-care techniques so much recently, I challenged myself to listen.  It seemed there were many broken threads from things I used to do – face-to-face visits with neighbors and friends, walks on the beach seeing new turtle nesting sites, eating out.  I was feeling frazzled and frayed.

My work with Peace by Piece (PxP), our Covenant Mennonite Fellowship comforter-making group (and little cousin to Piecemakers), was weighing on me.  I had the joy of having stands and sticks – and no one to help put fabrics in the frame! 

So I examined the tapestry of my life, sneaking peeks at the backside where threads are more jumbled but still quite colorful.  This May, I surveyed the color of fibers I was forgetting to put in place, and resolved to restore what I could. 

So I stepped away from PxP duties for one whole week and looked about.  I drove to an empty business parking lot near a beach access and walked the beach on a day when the surf was assertive, the sky a bit gray, tinting the gulf waters.  It was wonderful!

A clandestine, week before official permission, haircut led me to meet a new friend.  Sandy offered me a kayaking adventure adding colors to my tapestry!  Look at the amazing colors she brought! (Think the blue/greens of deep and shallow waters, mangrove branches, blue sky and fluffy clouds.) 

Meditation – rather than in a peaceful room with other (mostly) women –had turned into a zoom event.  I again made it a point to take part.  Right now, my mediating mind is more like a young puppy in serious need of training, but the practice of sitting quietly again added golden hues to my tapestry.

I wrote a letter to a friend in prison.  I invited him to share his situation and responses– and he did.  I was sad at his circumstances (some dark grays and browns here), but he asked me how I saw my dying.  He (and I) lost his mother to suicide some 20 years ago.  That led me writing nearly three pages of reflections in response.  I think it was the first time I had ever documented this so completely.  I discovered strong threads of family history, memories, experiences and peace.  (Now peace seems a white bird in my mind, but many shades of purple and lilac and yellow surround it on the front of my tapestry!)

After my vacation week (which was really simply stepping away from PxP duties and dumping a mental funk, re-examining my broader life circumstances, choosing different opportunities and rediscovering parts of my core being), I picked up a needle and threads (teal and royal blue) and helped my friend Treva knot two smaller comforters which were made to celebrate two new babies soon to be included in our church community.  [First use of our sticks and stands, folks!!  Celebration!]

In vacationing, I pulled on some of the tangled threads of my life’s tapestry I wasn’t pleased with.  I discovered they were attached to many other threads that I cherished.  I worked at some of the knots that had been causing me worry and found they were nothing.  It was a good trip!