“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” ~A Tale of Two Cities
This is an extraordinary time that we are living in.
A new virus called COVID-19. Social Isolation – not by choice. Life as we knew it is canceled and yet, we are still alive in a world where our lives have been put on hold for what seems like an unknown period of time.
I’m a planner. I’m a strong type A personality. I like to know what I’m doing, what’s happening and I live by a schedule. I like to predict things and plan for them, I like to have everything nice and neat and orderly.
Yes, I can be spontaneous and yes I can have days where I just do whatever with no schedule but when I choose to do so, not when its forced upon me.
I thrive on the energy of people – I am a people person but I also need my alone time. Just me. No people, no noise – the peace and quiet of being alone.
None of that is happening right now and my brain is stuck in the processing of this new normal with seemingly no end in sight.
In these times, I have no control. It feels like the world is spinning around me and I’m just trying to get it to slow down – just for a minute.
I feel helpless but not hopeless.
I’ve been forced into unexpected homeschool. And yet – the teachers are working diligently to provide work for the boys and school allowed us to check out their Chromebooks.
All my social groups and meetings have been canceled – we are figuring out how to facetime and do online video chats.
The boys miss their friends and their social groups too and yet, they are learning that they have each other and maybe, just maybe, the biggest blessing in all of this is that they learn to stop fighting with each other all the time and just get along.
I woke up all up in my feelings this morning. The emotion of what is happening in our world, in our country, in our state, and in our cities.
I knew what I needed – I need a strong dose of Faith. And, I get that through music. Music speaks directly to my soul. I made my morning coffee and came into my office – which is also a place of peace for me – its MY space – neat and orderly. My office is where I make sense of chaos. It’s where I create order and where I help people the most. It is decorated with Elton John memorabilia and one of my favorite verses from a song by Tenth Avenue North:
“I have this hope, in the depth of my soul, in the flood or the fire, you are with me and You won’t let go.” (I Have this Hope)
My music is on YouTube. I put my earbuds in and scrolled through, landing on The Blessing – the new song by Kari Jobe and Elevation Music. I turned the volume up as loud as I can stand it – this is the best for me, to immerse myself in the music and get these lyrics in my brain.
I scroll through Facebook – so much hurt and pain. So much suffering and so much unrest. My introvert friends are loving life right now, my extrovert friends, not so much. People I know, know people with COVID-19. Parents are navigating unexpected homeschool. There is so much information about everything, it’s overwhelming.
Some friends have already had enough of the situation and we are still just in the beginning stages. Some friends are planning for the long haul. Some are somewhere in between.
I see encouragement and I see despair.
As I read through posts… I hear,
“The Lord bless and keep you…”
I read through the posts and see fear –
“...make his face shine upon you..”
I read through posts and see anger and disbelief –
…and be gracious to you…”
I read through posts and see chaos, I see confusion and I see scared people –
The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace…
(This being sung, over and over in beautiful harmony)
Amen means we agree. It means yes. It is the ending of a prayer. I’ve always believed it to mean, “it is so”. And so we pray as if what we are praying for WILL happen. As if it has already happened, in God’s time.
The song is on repeat, so I listen again and again and come here to write.
Because, my feelings…
In the days following 9/11, there were these same feelings. And, my faith was not as strong as it is now – don’t get me wrong, my faith waivers day-to-day just like any other day but in the days following 9/11 my first reaction was NOT to turn to music and prayer when I was feeling all these feelings.
In the days following 9/11, I woke up every day driving my husband to the base where he was stationed as an active duty Marine. From 9/12-9/19 I drove him every day with the plan that he was going to be deployed that day to “location unknown” and every day I got a call from him to come to pick him up. On September 20th, 2001 he deployed for 7 months to Afghanistan. We had only been married for four months.
He came home and all of these years later, its a part of our story.
That time was hard. It was scary and uncertain. Those feelings never really go away. I never, ever forget.
And yet, it was a time in our lives and eventually, life moved on.
Here we are in 2020. Dealing with uncertainty, being scared, feeling out of control and in the middle of chaos. Those feelings resurface for that time after 9/11 resurface from time to time and today was one of those times. This morning all those feelings came right up to the top of my heart and soul and I woke up with a heavy heart, a sadness of sorts.
I knew that I didn’t want to and that I couldn’t just sit in these feelings all day – at the moment, I don’t have the luxury of taking a few hours and process through the feelings. So, I do the next best thing – I come to my office, my space, I put those earbuds and I hear these words –
“May His presence go before you, behind you and beside you.
All around you, within you, He is with you.
In the morning, in the evening, in your coming and your going, in your weeping, and rejoicing, He is for you. He is for you.
May has favor be upon you and a thousand generations.
And this is how I know that everything will be OK.
This is how I can conquer the day, control the chaos, not be scared, worried and anxious. God is with me. God is in control.
All I have to do is focus. Focus on Faith, first. Then, focus on the hour to hour, the day to day until this crisis, too, shall pass and life again will be back to normal.
These are the best of times and they are the worst of times.
But, these are also extraordinary times.
Take a few minutes today, put your earbuds in and listen. Let the music and the lyrics provide some peace and calm for you. Share these songs on social media so your friends can listen, too.