Learning to Fly

Lately, between a caterpillar and a butterfly, I’m pretty sure I’ve been a caterpillar. I’ve gathered and consumed and taken my time to relish every moment. I also retreated and found my center and I am on the branch waiting for my wings to dry.

Which are you? Were you barely moving or were you flying when COVID hit? I know there were many people hurt by this lockdown.

Here’s my question: when you look back on the COVID period, in a few months or years, will you be able to say you did it right? What I mean by that was, did you use the time wisely?

It was a time to take in everything going on in the media, but it was also a time to stop, retreat, and reset. I feel most of us spent the first half of the lockdown in a query mode: Was this really happening? A worldwide lockdown? Was this a test, a hoax? Was the COVID virus a real threat? Was it manmade? A bioweapon? A precursor to a war…? Now we are asking when will it be over? We are being warned daily that it is going to come back. Oh, joy and rapture!

This COVID period really tested us. When we were told our health was in danger, wham! We knew the virus was a serious threat and it was pandemic. Then, came the lockdown. Bam! At this point, we were all feeling on the verge of panic. We could get this horrible virus… We could be isolated from all our loved ones in a cold dank hospital…We could become jobless, lose our business, become homeless… our minds were reeling.

We had every right to be in a state of shock and fear. However, the lockdown was the perfect time to shut down and go inward; become a caterpillar and spin a cocoon. It was time to rest. I asked myself: What are you going to do? What do you REALLY want to do? What is the most important thing? What is good for the family?

I thought about my adult children and my grandchildren. I cried. I thought about not being here for them. I thought of the heartless highly competitive world they have waiting for them… I cried more.

To make the best of this life both spiritually and materialistically, in order to fly, and reach great heights, we need to know: change and growth do not happen overnight. Change happens when we decide to follow through with discipline– which is nothing more than careful use of time. Successful people are those who don’t give up. They don’t waste time. The concert pianist, the front-line ballerina, the great artist, did not say “I want this” and it magically happened. They spent every day and hours of time working toward their goal. They sacrificed relationships, nicer clothing, perhaps even lived in a shabby accommodation.

So, I’ve started a project. I’ve begun a self-study of the Arabic language. I’m sure this will improve my vocabulary and pronunciation. I’m writing several verses of Quran every day. I want to finish all 114 Chapters. I am on the longest chapter which has two hundred eighty-six verses. I love seeing my notebook fill up! This will make my life much more secure. I will be able to write simple texts when I need to rather than writing in English. I’m using an online Quran site where I can see and hear the text clearly for correct pronunciation. I speak Arabic but not fluently and it is something I want to perfect.

Do not let COVID kill your dream (s). Do not let it clip your right to fly. Become a caterpillar, go inward, and you will find your focus. You will fly again, or maybe you will fly for the first time…

From My Heart to Yours,

Make every moment count.


Laurie Hill
Laurie Hill
Laurie Hill holds a Liberal Arts degree from Pennsylvania State University and a Certificate for Writing Social Commentary, (2006). Having traveled to many countries she is a passionate promoter for world peace for all people and all religious thought, as long as its base is non-violent, and respects individual freedom. An aspiring novelist with three completed novels she is currently working to publish her third. She has resided in Jeddah for twenty-eight years.

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  1. Frankly, I have never considered restrictive measures as such an unbearable constraint.
    First of all, I have always been trained for loneliness, but I also reasoned that they are very important restrictions that impact our daily life, but which were necessary to counter the spread of the Coronavirus and be able to return to our daily life as quickly as possible. With the right awareness of their importance and with some precautions you can overcome this difficult moment, spending this time at home in a stimulating and proactive way.
    First of all get well informed, Then we can engage our minds in reading, fix neglected things in the house, do manual chores, create a small space for exercise, write, learn new things, call people who haven’t been in a long time time, etc.

    • Hi Aldo
      I appreciate your comment. I didn’t feel the lockdown changed my life too much. In the beginning it was a bit scary. It taught us many things about using time, and made us look at ourselves and the people we had in our lives; and perhaps for some a time to look at what they did for a living.
      thank you Aldo!

  2. Dear Laurie,

    What a wonderfully descriptive and very real-life account of our surreal world we find ourselves,

    I also enjoy your analogy; the caterpillar and the butterfly.

    At the beginning of the Covid19 outbreak, there was a touch of denial; not of whether it was happening or not, but the belief that if you maintained the social distance and wore a mask you could fend of a shower of meteorites!

    Ultimately came the lock-down. Town was deserted, hardly an traffic. And people were kinder. I have repeated the kindness element many times, but it is true.

    Only very recently, at the start of the latest lock-down and dramatic increase of infections 60k a day and a thousand deaths a day, jolted me into stepping off an elevated pathway to reality. The new, nasty version, apart from being extremely contagious has upped the ‘scare factor’.

    One sad reality is I can’t visit my granddaughter who was born on October 30th. Just a few days’ initially, and now just Zoom contact; better than nothing. She changes every day! Seeing her again will be a magical moment to look forward to! I miss the hugs. Living 25 minutes’ walk from Winchester, everything seems normal. In the center it is rather quiet. I do miss the busker who I call Bob Dylan! I am a positive individual and can’t get depressed over this imported coronavirus. I will fly again (even flying dreams occasionally) but to envisage a life of stillness and solitude is not in my mind-set. I’ll keep writing and one day soon will write about the release of loved ones and friends into the stratosphere of positivity; high flying. Maybe meet a butterfly! Friends are so important.
    Thank you, Laurie. You have .brightened my day

    • Hi Aldo
      I appreciate your comment. I didn’t feel the lockdown changed my life too much as my work as a freelancer saved me. In the beginning it was a bit scary. During our month of fasting in Ramadan we couldn’t get out so easily and our landlord asked us any time he went if we needed anything! So sweet. I will never forget that act of kindness he and his family did for us. It taught us many things about using time, and made us look at ourselves and the people we had in our lives; and perhaps for some a time to look at what they did for a living.
      thank you Aldo!

    • Simon, I hope you’ve been able to see your granddaughter! I hope you and your family are doing well. Thank you for your comment and sharing with me. I’m glad I was able to brighten your day.
      What I loved MOST about the Covid pandemic if one could ‘love’ it was to see the sky become blue and the birds happier, and yes people kinder!! (See my reply to Aldo) Our landlord showed me and my daughter so much care and kindness by bringing us groceries when we were on curfew and fasting Ramadan. Those acts of kindness-are so great that you feel you can never repay them except by doing exactly the same thing.
      I appreciate your sharing with me and our Biz family Simon.
      Thank you

  3. Good for you, Laurie! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience. The pandemic certainly provided a time of reflection for those that chose to embrace it that way. Despite the severity and uncertainty that comes with it, there are silver linings such as you’ve described. For me, it is time to reset. And maybe too much time to think, but I have to believe I am where I am supposed to be for now.

    • Interesting you say that Laura, “I have to believe I am where I am supposed to be for now.”
      I have been feeling this way about my own life. I’m starting over and sometimes I don’t feel secure…but somehow I also realize, life isn’t really ever ‘secure’. We aren’t free from any catastophe really…
      thank you!

    • I know you’re a butterfly too Paula!
      Thank you for always being such a giving authentic and intelligent person.

  4. Excellent Laurie! We are of the same mindset! Go inward and discover your submerged talents. Use your great mind and the imagination it encapsulates. With all out there for the taking, use your brain to do so. Thank you for this! I cannot imagine how your eloquent wings will not touch everyone, and at the very least, encourage them to consider.💖