Keep Calm and Carry On

Poster from the United Kingdom reading "K...

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This morning our little Sweetie-pie returned to preschool after the better part of a full week’s absence. He’s been sick. When we entered the school, Sweetie-pie, generally outgoing, stuck to my leg like glue. Only the lure of the playground got him to peel away, and that with reluctance.

As I left, I thought that I understood Sweetie-pie’s reaction perfectly. I felt out of my own element, too. Not only had our house been dealing with sickness for two weeks, yesterday my morning had exploded with  a crack-of-dawn call for emergency help, then caring for grandchildren all day, as well as helping a very sick son. It had been one thing after another for days. If someone would have asked me, I would have had to think hard to give my name.

Arriving home from the preschool delivery and going up the stairs to my office, I saw a plaque to remind me of where to begin at any uncertain moment. It reads: Keep Calm and Carry On.

The poster was originally produced by the British government during WWII, one of the efforts to keep up the morale of the people. It actually was never used at that time, but archived, to be rediscovered in 2000 and put on sale by a number of private companies.

I believe the British people never did really need the reminder. They already knew that when life goes to hell in a hand-basket, so the saying goes, when the routine is all shot to bits, what helps most is to do the next right, most normal thing. To get the normal feeling, one must begin with normal thoughts and actions.

In this case, for me it was to take a cup of tea to my meditation chair, spend a few minutes in quiet, and then get to the computer and spend a few minutes writing something. Anything.

I continued to do normal tasks, and soon came one of the most normal: get back in the car and go pick up Sweetie-pie, who greeted me happily from the playground, perfectly comfortable once again in his surroundings among his friends, with whom he had a shouting match before leaving.We drove home singing Zippety-do-dah, both feeling back in our own skins.

Now, keeping normal, I’m off for an hour of play in the blooming yard!