When the other C word reared its ugly head in the states, we were forced home, and I changed my life for good.
I think back to the shutdown as ironic- How many of us had always said we worked too much, were running around too much, and needed to be home more?
And then we were home, and it wasn’t quite what we’d meant when we were lamenting.
Like many, I was terrified when the pandemic started.
Clayford lost his job immediately, and I worried that our school might close next, leaving both of us without an income.
All the kids were home, and my oldest son, set to graduate, worried his future was at stake.
But the Lord was gracious to us, and soon my husband found another job, an even better one, in the middle of a crisis.
My job kept on going, Haehae graduated, and all was well.
Nobody around us was sick because we were all stuck at home. And in the midst of “house arrest,” I developed a relationship with my family that has stuck to this day.
While other families might have said they hated being squished up together, we watched movies, played games, grilled out, worshiped God, put together puzzles, laughed and really got to know one another.
There was an upside to the time spent in lockdown.
Slowly in the fall, life opened up again. And that’s when disaster struck for our family.
At the beginning of 2021, a woman my age died from the virus. She left two children behind, and her death made no sense. She was healthy and had no known preexisting conditions.
Then, a long time family friend died. He’d had the virus since before Christmas, but had been tweeting from his hospital bed and keeping everyone up to date. In a span of twenty-four hours, he turned a corner and was gone.
I was diagnosed the next week. I cried buckets of tears in the doctor’s office. I felt like I’d let down my students, my family and myself. I’d tried so hard to be careful.
The illness was bad- no doubt about that. But the mental strain of worrying if I might be the next to die was by far the worst part of the virus.
On the same day I was diagnosed, my sweet nephew died by suicide, leaving behind two babies. To say it was the straw that broke the camel’s back would be an understatement.
For the entire previous year, I’d stayed positive. I’d tried to see the good, enjoy time with family, keep my children and husband off the proverbial ledge.
Having small children who didn’t understand why a loving Creator brings destruction to His Creation was a nightmare to explain (hint: you can’t), and my faith was tested in every possible way, including on January 6, 2021, when I watched citizens of the United States who claimed to love our country destroy its most sacred building.
That was the year, 2021, when my faith shattered, and it never returned, Thank God, to what it once was.
Instead, my beliefs have become expansive, mysterious and open to interpretation. And I’m okay with that.
I’ve also changed the way I set goals. No longer do lists find their way onto the pages of my journal. I’m done setting concrete goals that I know in my heart I’ll never meet because they were never my goals in the first place.
The goals I used to set were all about how I wanted others to view me. I wanted them to picture me a certain way and to see my life and my body and my heart in a specific way.
The best thing to come out of the pandemic was that I stopped caring what other people think. What my Creator thinks, and what I think are all that matter to me now. We spend our whole life discovering who we are.
But because I’d spent so long being everything to everyone else, I didn’t really know who I was.
So, I asked myself a simple question: What makes my heart sing?
Am I happy with the direction of my life? Can I look ten years into the future and know that if nothing changed, I’d still love my life?
Armed with the whys of life, I started mapping out a plan that moved me to the next step.
I set my goals loosely. I did this by listing them as “I want to want to.”
I want to want to be healthy.
I want to want to move my body.
I want to want to be a better house cleaner.
I want to want to work in my yard more.
I want to want to make a steady income greater than I have now.
When I write out my want to want to, I feel like I’m allowing myself the freedom to do what I want.
Because of anxiety, a strict schedule would send me into a tizzy if something were to fall off that day.
So with a looser schedule, if the floors don’t get mopped, I’m okay.
If I don’t get a blog post written, that’s alright.
All of the things that I needed to do would not get done every day. That’s okay. I allowed myself freedom to rest.
Rest was the most important gift I gave myself amid the uncertainty of a pandemic.
Allowing others to rest as well with no judgment has been a gift to the people around me, one that has been much appreciated.
Getting back to my roots, setting routines, allowing rest. I had to decide to choose these “better” things.
And I’m so glad I did. Three years post-pandemic, I feel more myself than ever before.
See you soon,
These are some great points. I myself have found that it’s easier to stick to goals because of the pandemic, as so many variables have been taken out (working from home, for instance, has removed so many extraneous tasks from my day). Anyway, thanks for this thoughtful post!
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Very true, Stuart! Thanks for sharing.
I’m sorry you had such a rough year filled with losses. So far, all my friends and family have managed to stay safe, thank goodness.
What makes my heart sing? My hobby. You can check it out here: https://needlessflossapplesauce.wordpress.com. It’s been a while since I’ve updated. I do have some posts, so maybe I’ll do that this weekend.
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Thank you, @thefiftyedit. It has been rough. Excited to check out your website!
Oops. Spelled it incorrectly. Should be: https://needlesflossapplesauce.wordpress.com/