The virus circulating the globe has been a source of unity and disparity, depending on who you ask. For every voice that tries to put a positive spin on what’s happening in the world, there are five more that make it their mission to tell you that we are prisoners of this disease, that there is no hope of ever returning to normal, that those of us who are “privileged” have no idea what it is to struggle during a pandemic.
I have no interest in fighting to be the loudest or most relevant voice. But I do have my own experience to catalog, and plenty of questions–in fact, I’ve had questions throughout the entire month that myself and my fellow North Carolinians have been told to “stay home.” My questions have come and gone, some have remained the same and some have evolved. Today, our state is no closer to “normal” than we hoped we would be when we were first told to stay put, but I now realize that a complete return to the way things were, the normal I knew before COVID, would be a mental, emotional and spiritual step back for me.
Do I really trust Him? Do I rush to find information and solutions that will assuage my concerns and satisfy my mind instead of practicing the art of waiting? Am I humble enough to truly accept that I can’t fix it all, know it all, be fulfilled at all times? Am I ready to see that without the extraneous events, errands and lists in my life, I’m left with a void that only He can fill? Do I understand how to practice joy in Christ, to make choices to live an abundant life when the rest of the world is telling me to mourn? Do I know how to communicate the joy and peace of Jesus to a lost world that is hurting and searching for answers themselves?
I have learned through the reality of COVID that these questions will continue to sit with me, although they will likely be pushed into the recesses of my mind if I allow my life to resume the same hectic pace as before.
So I don’t write to communicate that I have all the answers or know whether we’ll see a return to the comforts of the days before COVID. But I know what I and my family have seen to be true for us.
We understood that there were rules and laws we would need to follow as citizens, but we also know there was tremendous societal pressure to behave a certain way based on fears of the unknown. Both my husband and I have been victims of tragedies–he lost both parents suddenly with no warning; I was abducted and raped at 21. We are no strangers to terrible things happening without warning. Because of these events, and our witnessing Jesus sustain and redeem us through grief, we’ve made conscious choices not to live fearful lives.
Notice I did not say that we never fear–I said that we don’t LIVE fearfully, big difference. When fear and uncertainty come, which they regularly do, I make decisions based on prayer, the leading of the Holy Spirit, logic, common sense and love for others.
For those buckling down–web chats brought a convenience and connection that brightened our slower days. For those willing to stop by and chat in the front yard, smiles and chatter were a taste of community. Still, there were others who considered quality time worth the risk, who came over for 6-feet apart cocktail hours in the backyard, or cookouts in great weather when the kids could run and play–and with these friends, the time together was life giving and almost seemed unaltered.
I have no answers, and I probably never will. And honestly that’s okay with me, because despite all the medical, scientific and political information out there, you and I were never meant to have all the answers. But we were designed and meant to know the One who does, and He is always good no matter the mystery. I am so glad that I answer to Him.