Among the many down-home philosophies of Mama’s was her proclamation that “Somethin’ good always comes out of somethin’ bad. Always. You just watch and see.”

I’ve long loved the restaurant chain, Ruby Tuesday, which Mama devoutly hated. This has to do with the fact that they stopped serving bread with meals. Mama’s love of bread led to her strong dislike of the restaurant.

“It makes me so mad that I can’t see straight,” she carried on. “Whoever heard of a meal without bread?”

If we were going out to lunch after church, I’d ask, “Where do you want to eat?”

She’d shrug, “I don’t care. Anywhere is fine with me.” One breath. “As long as it’s not Ruby Tuesday’s.”

When Mama answered the sudden call of the Lord to go home, I tried to find good in that. It was so hard to decipher. Then, one day, I chuckled to myself. “Well, now I can eat at Ruby Tuesday’s any time I want. Mama was right — there is something good in all things bad.” It was small, but it helped a bit.

The last several weeks have proven that to be true, too. Among the isolation and restrictions that have been thrust upon us, I have become reacquainted with many beautiful things.

Instead of hurrying past the dogwood trees as has been my way for years, I stop and pull down a bloom to study carefully its lovely creation. I am ashamed that I have cruelly disregarded it in the past.

I now take the opportunity to call friends and spend a leisurely time in conversation rather than the hurried text or email. I have caught up on all my thank you notes and have even found time to write letters, especially to older people who are bored and feel disconnected.

Particularly widow women.

For the first time in a few years, I don’t feel out of breath at the end of the day because I have gone in a constant trot since rising from bed. Normally, I am scurrying to pay bills, answer correspondence, file, write and handle details for speaking engagements. Since having my entire calendar of engagements for four months canceled, it has provided more free time, some of which I use to read more books.

Recently, I realized that I am enjoying this slower pace so intently that I run the risk of becoming lazy or, at the very least, less motivated. I am trying to carefully guard against that by pushing myself through a to-do list every day.

From Tink, I am reminded that we will return to normal as he sits in a chair and cheerfully writes two Christmas movies for the Hallmark Channel. He is exceedingly glad this year to create these stories, knowing that Hallmark’s always successful Christmas movies will be more than just lovingly embraced.

They will be akin to fresh oxygen for a population that has been gasping for breath.

There is always magic in the Lord’s timing, and this is no exception. How grateful I am that this uncertain time coincided with spring reminding me of fresh life and renewal.

Mama, like I, told detailed stories that included the extensive genealogy of anyone involved in the tale, what they wore, and the weather. Mama never told a story that did not include something like, “It was spring of the year and unusually cold” or “It was July and the sun was so hot you had to stand in the shade.”

When Mama started rambling into one of these stories — usually just as I was putting my hand on the doorknob to leave — I’d sigh heavily, roll my eyes and say, “Mama, cut to the chase. I don’t have all day to listen. I gotta go.”

And that’s another thing that has changed dramatically.

It’s been many weeks since I said, “I gotta go.”

There’s something about that which feels extraordinarily good.

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Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of the new book, Let Me Tell You Something. Visit www.rondarich.com to sign up for her free weekly newsletter.

Editor

I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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