As an avid journaler, I thoroughly documented my life during lockdown. March 15th “They closed all the skiing resorts yesterday. Bummer big time. Things are changing fast. Every day we wake up with new restrictions”. March 16th: “Life is a s**tshow.” March 17th: “Everyone cancels everything. I hate it. I feel alone.”
Scribbles of prayers some answered, some left unanswered. Lots of frustration and questions about a lot of things. It took time to adjust to the new reality of a slow life, full of restrictions and distance. And while I fought it for a while, essentially I realized that it hit me right where it mattered the most. I felt alone.
I can’t shake the fact off that in some weird holy way it felt like an invitation. I mean don’t get me wrong it was a slugfest at times. Slowing down propelled me to come face to face with myself and challenge the narrative that I have created over a lifetime. You can’t make this stuff up. It’s what happens when you remove the noise, the busy, the schedules, the appointments, the social life, you are left alone with yourself (obviously, lol), and trust me it’s messy. You’ll eventually grow tired of running away (remember, can’t keep running marathons back to back although I wish). This may or may not be the reason why a few weeks into all of this a trusted person (aka my therapist) looked me in the eyes and just plainly said “you’ve been going through a lot.” I just nodded and later closed the night off on our back porch, alone, staring at the cold night sky with a glass of wine celebrating how far I’ve come. Because we need those moments. We need them as much as we need the mountain tops.
But back to the invitation. See the thing is above all else I had time. Time for old friends, time for God, time to learn new things and relearn old things. Time to laugh and to weep and to talk and process and read and listen and watch. It feels holy and significant to say this now, but there was time for everything. Weird concept when we actually live in a world where time seems to be the one thing we lack. So I don’t take it lightly that I have been granted with so much.
While I hate the cheesiness of it all, it felt bittersweet. Was there fear about the future, the security of my job and finances, the weight of the aftermath of the economical recession? Fear of spending time with myself? Yes. Were there early morning walks with trusted friends, long training sessions in which I got to push my body, late nights with too much alcohol, zoom meetings that made me belly laugh, meaningful hugs after what felt weeks of no physical human connection? Yes. Absolutely. Bittersweet, it’s both/and. The tension we live in whether we acknowledge it or not. Sweet and precious moments marked with secret battles and evil fears.
It led me into deeper intimacy with Him. It was an invitation the adventure lover inside of me could not resist. I love truth. I honor and value truth and so I’ve asked him questions I’ve never dared to ask before. And oddly enough I actually stayed to let him speak to me. Wild.
Has COVID caused disappointment?
Yes. Am I sad that I didn’t get to go on the trip that I have been waiting for so long and see people that I miss so much? Yes. Am I sad that I didn’t get to go to the shows I’ve had tickets to for so long? Yes. Am I sad that so much was canceled? Yes.
Has it caused joy and hope?
Yes. It’s the irony of it all right? Believe it or not, even though social distancing was ordered, friendships have actually grown deeper. There was time to speak truth and truth is what restored me.
I hope that you my friend, will be brave enough to mourn the losses that we’ve suffered and that you will be brave enough to raise the glass when you need to. I hope that you will see his face in the most unlikely of places, that you will hear his heartbeat when he draws you close in the midst of this noisy busy wild ride we call life. Because he’s there, he always has been, and guess what, he still got all the time in the world even though we may have moved on. May we never move out of His presence.