I don’t want others to feel alone, so I want to write how I’ve dealt with the things thrown at us this year, and the emotions I’ve had. The week before California went into lockdown, I had an assignment from a pastoral resident class that the staff (I work for a church) can sit in on for free. As staff, we are not graded, but it’s good to do the work to get the most out of the class. I was supposed to find a place for about four to eight hours to spend with God without interruption.
The more I thought about how to spend this day; I got the sense I was supposed to spend time with God while enjoying a day alone doing whatever I wanted. That seemed selfish, but it was a strong sense that I was to enjoy God by enjoying my favorite things. Now you should know that I can’t remember taking most of the day just for me since I was a young teen. So it’s been about 34 years. I took the day to go to the museum (A gift from my father and mother-in-law). I paid too much for a soda and snack and sat in the outdoor court, soaking in the sun. I felt the sugary, fizzy, orange soda slide down my throat. I watched the birds and squirrels jump, fly, and scurry around the patio. I wrote down how I felt and listened to what God would say to me.
I then meandered around the museum, viewing the obscure things that my family or friends wouldn’t have had the patience for. I went outside and enjoyed the view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the bay. I watched a painter for about 15 minutes. He moved his paintbrush here and there, lined it up with the bridge, looked at his colors but never got around to painting. I heard the lesson in that in my spirit.
I went to a Vietnamese restaurant and got some Pho. I went home and ate it while watching a show I like to watch. All of this alone as my husband and daughter were at work and school. I then took a walk, came back, and watched more TV. I wrote a little more. And that was it. It was such a good day.
A week later, COVID-19 grew out of control, and California shut down. I had no idea that would happen, but God did. The knowledge that God loved me so much to impress on me to take a day to myself and enjoy what I would not fully enjoy for the next six months and counting has sustained me.
With that being said, I have gone through bouts of depression and grief. I was unable to go to Michigan and see my children and grandchildren this summer. It was so hard. I have gone through feelings of guilt for having a job where I can work from home, not having to go out of my house except to grocery shop–knowing that there are those who are losing everything. There are those who have to go to work to provide food or heal the rest of us.
I have gained and lost weight. I have used this time to read good books and work out on my treadmill. I have dove deep into escapism eating chips while binge-watching Netflix (Tiger King, yep I watched it). Being an introvert, I have had times of building the wall around myself even higher, retreating further into my own psyche.
I have spent time reading the Bible, reading a verse or chapter that has caused me to blink, look around, and step a little more back into the world. I’ve read books that helped me see how I, using the gifts God has given me, can be used to build for the Kingdom of God. In some mysterious way, this build is eternal.
To sum it up, I have experienced grief, guilt, depression, isolation, freedom, joy, and wonder. But that day, the day God gave me, makes me smile and gives me peace when I let it. That day makes me wonder at his mercy and love. I hope there is a special moment that God has given you. A moment when you know you heard his voice clearly, a time you felt his presence or witnessed a miracle that you can draw hope and faith from. I pray the Spirit gives you a moment like this even now during the pandemic, fires (I live in California), and whatever else you may be going through where you live.
Love and Peace to you.