Father Ed Commentary: Calendars on the Wall

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Summer is hardly over when the first daily/monthly calendars for the next year start to show up on store shelves.

The array of calendars cover just about every hobby, every lifestyle, every interest, every job category, every animal, every singing group, every community, every historical time, every season, every marvel of nature, every anything.

As each year draws to a close, the stacks of calendars seem to grow larger and higher and bigger. We pick the one that suits us and then put it in a conspicuous place where we begin the great markdown of 365 days.

Some of the monthly spaces remain blank; others aren’t big enough to handle the list of things to do. Some of the spaces we immediately fill in before we put the calendar in its hallowed place. There are the special birthdays, special anniversaries and other special dates that are in the calendars of our minds before we write them down on paper. Our favorite calendar becomes an outline of the coming year, and often we write down dates that excite us – like vacations – as the countdown begins.

As we flip or remove the pages of our favorite calendar, there are sometimes notes on the days that remind us of a famous event that happened years or decades or centuries ago.

For instance, July 4 is the fourth day of the month of July as well as the wedding anniversary of my friends George and Barbara. But if you live in the United States, July 4 is a very, very significant date embedded in our minds.

In the last month or so, something has changed with our calendars. In fact, calendars around the world have changed because of a virus that has spread around the globe. 

Our days and dates have started to run together in a way that we have never experienced. Our lives and our calendars have taken a very different turn as we approach each new day.

Now the spaces on the calendar often remind us of what we were going to do before the pandemic. Each day we get notices of cancellations, postponements and other adjustments. We usually count the days until some special event is coming.

Now we are counting the days until we can finally say this is over. Yet, after the initial shock of the pandemic hit us, our calendars crept back into our lives, even if we neglected the usual morning glance as to what’s happening today.

We have been introduced to novel ways of celebrating birthdays, illness recovery, wedding anniversaries and the like. We have watched teachers and others do what they do in new and creative ways that still stretch the human mind and encourage us to dream, ask questions and learn about our world and ourselves.

We have experienced the human spirit in ways of neighborly concern and care that have stopped us in our tracks and made us say, “Wow!” Our jaws have dropped as we watch those who care for us in the public arena put their lives on the line for strangers as well as friends and loved ones.

Because of the pandemic, we may walk by our calendars and take little notice. But make no mistake; these days are being marked in ways that will make the calendars to come seem very special.

There may not be calendar events that currently take us to a hall, or church, or mosque or temple. There may not be calendar events that take us to ballfields or amphitheaters. There may not be calendar events that take us to parks and playgrounds and each others’ homes or condos or apartments, but our days are being marked by some very important people and events that reach to the deepest part of our being.

They inspire us. They encourage us. They let us know that we will be looking again for next year’s calendar and we will probably appreciate the special dates on our calendars in a way we cannot even imagine at this difficult moment.

These are trying times for sure. In many ways, they are sad times because they are times of loss and fear and questioning.

Have you noticed that when we venture out for our necessities, that signs of spring are with us much more than the date on our calendar? The signs and colors of spring (even the weeds in sidewalk cracks) are reminding us of where we are headed. Maybe we look at them in a way we have never experienced before.

Among our First Nation people who inhabited this land long before us, their elderly were always looked upon as “the wisdom keepers.” They were the glue that bonded families, lifestyles, nature and the Great Spirit together. They helped their people understand the connectedness of everything. They had no calendars on their walls or their desks, but they knew the days and seasons in ways that astound us.

The next time you interact with your calendar, that special connection of your life with the rest of the world, know that days are coming that once again will fill our calendars and hopefully give us the vision that helps us see each other in ways we could never have imagined.

Those will truly be days to remember.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.