The last three months? It’s a lot to process, I know! I’m still mulling over what this season has meant, but here are seven things I learned.
You can find Emily P. Freeman’s list (the curator of this seasonal challenge) and others on the link up here. You may just be prompted to make your own list and keep a record from these unprecedented times (don’t you love that phrase?!? ahem).
Hope is a powerful motivator.
In mid-March, we started this covid-19 online schooling with gusto. Our school adapted quickly and made the transition relatively easy for us. (Thank you, teachers and admins!) Around week three, however, we started to wilt, complain, and experience weeping and gnashing of teeth (and that was just me). As with most of the world, the situation was fluid, with week-by-week updates. We didn’t know how or when the school year would end. Several weeks later, we received a definitive end date. I felt my body actually rise in relief, expectation, and a power shot of adrenaline. We could do this! Knowing the end date gave me hope to endure. There are many spiritual applications to this, but I’ll just leave this right here.
I run out of fuel fast if I’m filling my own tank.
I started out strong. Board games. Baking. Organizing. Purging. Reading. Schooling. Walks. Bike rides. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Dishes. Repeat. I felt the fizzle coming, the dread on my chest before the first drop of coffee hit my lips. Yep, I ran out of steam. Then, one quiet morning, God led me to this verse:
You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.Psalm 18:28
I can fill my tank with many empty fillers, but nothing fuels me more than time spent with God. His Word and His Spirit keep giving generously with supernatural wisdom, patience and understanding. My people needed a loving presence, not a reluctant, resentful mom.
My prayer as the days turned into weeks turned into months? Oh, Lord, keep my lamp burning. Turn my darkness into light. Amen. (I shared these thoughts originally over on Instagram.)
Hammock life is the good life.
The weather has been an unexpected gift – we had a mild (read: non-humid) North Carolina spring as pinks, greens and yellows burst forth from barren branches. Time outdoors was a lifesaver, and we finally hung our hammock we received as a gift two years ago. A recent addition is a drink stand right next to the hammock, where life is grand as I take my books, journals, pens and ice-cold water for a time of reflection and rest amid the blue skies and bird calls.
Strawberries make life sweeter – and I can learn new things.
I don’t garden. I don’t make from-scratch sourdough bread. I don’t DIY. But I did test a few new recipes this spring, like strawberry icebox pie, strawberry pretzel “salad,” lemon blueberry bread and break out an old classic – lemon bars. I’ve learned my people like lemony or berry-y things, and if I can make them happy in this small way, it makes me happy, too.
Social distancing makes socializing exhausting – even for extroverts.
I’m a people person, as are my husband and son. With the stay-at-home orders, it was difficult to fill our needed “people-time” quota. As each other’s only in-person interaction, we kinda started wearing on each other’s nerves. But when restrictions started to lift, I found that any amount of socializing was exhausting. I was drained – and found our family needed to go to separate corners of the house when we got home. We all are going to have to go through a period of adjustment when “normal” returns. Let’s find grace for ourselves and each other, amen.
I still don’t know everything, so listen, listen, listen.
As a relatively young woman with chronic illness, there’s a lot that others don’t know just by looking at me. I can ride a bike. I can take vacations. I can volunteer at school or church. But there are other aspects of my life that I hold a little closer, like the sudden pains or aches that snap me back to the reality of living with a serious diagnosis. Or planning rest days before and after busy days to conserve my energy. Or calculating where the nearest hospital is when we’re out of town, just in case. People may make judgments about my perceived laziness or engagement, when in reality I am struggling to stay upright and smiling. I’m realizing when it comes to others’ pain and points of view, open ears and a lot of grace go a long way. In my 40s, I probably know more – and less – than I ever have before. I’m willing to listen and learn.
Anxiety is an unwelcome friend.
I don’t struggle with persistent anxiety or panic attacks, but I’m learning that they come uninvited and unannounced. One night relatively early in this pandemic, I had one of those nights. Heart pounding, head racing. In fact, I blogged about it here. And I realized many of you also struggle with the what-if reel of worst-case scenarios. I’m working on something for you (coming soon) that I pray will be a help.
Bonus “What I Learned” in Spring 2020:
- With the gym, trampoline park, pools, and entertainment venues closed, we’ve found lots of off-the-beaten path adventures in biking, hiking, and exploring. I definitely want to keep this one post-coronavirus.
- Scheduling things to look forward to (like date nights) is essential!
- I miss my church and my friends and thrift stores. (All of which are slowly opening back up!)
- I miss restaurants. They just started opening back up, social-distance style, and when we ate at one last week, I almost cried for joy over my juicy steak!
- The coronavirus memes are pretty funny, like the one below. It’s funny ’cause it’s true.