Lately, interactions with others have felt more like a cold shoulder than a warm hug. Quarantine may be long gone but loneliness hangs around my soul like a morning fog.
These last 18 months have been hard on us all. Though we’ve regained a sense of normalcy, it feels like something has shifted at its core – society and relationships don’t feel the same anymore.
Perhaps this pandemic is just revealing what was there all along: that having friends and having community is not the same thing. That in the past we replaced meaningful connection with social gatherings and surface-level interactions. That the bonds we thought we had didn’t run very deep.
Being physically together yet emotionally empty can leave you feeling very lonely. That’s because loneliness is not a lack of company but a lack of connection. Being disconnected hurts so much because we were created to connect.
These days, I’m learning that hardships were intended to be lived and shared within community. But this hardship seems to be pulling people apart, not together.
If I’m honest, the world does not feel like a safe place right now. The divisiveness is further driving our disconnection. And the church does not seem to be helping. Continue reading
From the very beginning, things did not go as planned. What had started out as a normal day quickly spiraled into a nightmare. Cloaked in darkness and gripped by fear, the promise of death seemed imminent.
The disciples were seamen. This was their lake. As professionals, they were used to navigating the changing waters and unforeseen circumstances.
But this storm was different.
Violent winds had stirred the waves into a foaming frenzy. Despite their best rowing efforts, they had made little headway. Six hours of unrelenting stress, exhaustion and willpower had produced only a few miles at best. Continue reading
It has been a year. For all of us.
We’ve had a lot of experiences over the last twelve months.
We baked bread. Binged watched tv shows. Learned a tik tok dance. Took a mask selfie. Rearranged furniture and made home improvements. Parents became homeschool teachers. We all got a crash course on this thing called Zoom. We worked from home. Neighbors bought blow up pools for the backyard. We hosted socially distanced hangouts in the garage. I ordered online groceries for the first time. We witnessed historic events and scientific achievements. We deeply felt the many waves of suffering and chaos that swept over the world. And we survived a global pandemic and national election with most of our sanity intact.
As we approach the new year, reflecting on all we endured can feel sobering and perhaps a little overwhelming. To many of us this year has felt like a desert season – one full of difficulty, isolation and strife. We are ready for it to end as soon as possible and for good reason. Continue reading
I still remember all the firsts. The first vacation. First birthday. Our first Christmas without Dad. That feeling of trying to celebrate the holidays while a piece of our heart and home was missing.
Holidays are naturally a big deal and loss can feel even deeper during those times that magnify our togetherness.
This year, over 300,000 families will wake up Christmas morning without their loved one. Our family will once again experience another first Christmas without someone one we love. This year, the celebration may feel a little less merry and bright.
Grief can be challenging and confusing. Sometimes it feels like you’re drowning, other times like you’re being hollowed out from the inside. Overstimulated, yet numb at the same time. The stages of grief can feel cyclical and repetitive, causing you to wonder if life will ever feel normal again.
After surviving a year like this one, I thought the Christmas season would redeem all the mess. I looked forward to gazing at lights, drinking hot cocoa, cheerfully decking the halls, and lining my countertops with cookies shaped like snowmen and snowflakes. I envisioned feeling refreshed.
Instead, I spent the month stress-shopping online, complaining about the mail and snapping at my husband as he walked by.
This year there would be no travel plans, no family to see, no church service to attend. And because our normal had been uprooted, I felt pressured to do more this Christmas, not less. Continue reading
The last few weeks I’ve been preparing for the holidays. Mentally, that is.
Just this week my state registered a 39% positivity rate for COVID-19. Illness in my community is so widespread that the Department of Health developed an entirely new category of measurement.
As our cases surged, my heart sank. A “critically high” spread meant I would be home for the holidays. It meant more confinement. Less gathering.
Maybe you can relate. Across the country, cities are mandating that families forgo the festivities and guests this season. For most of us, this holiday promises to be different. Complex. Confusing and discouraging. Continue reading
With prying eyes, I watched as my ballot joined hundreds of voices in the locked blue box. Safely secured in the vault, it waits for Election Day. As I exited the polling station into the frigid October air, my sigh of relief mingled with the uneasiness in my heart.
This time, the future of our country, constitution and liberties could very well be at stake. If certain politicians have their way, this could be the last election where my vote counts in a flyover state.
How easy it is to forget the privileges we all share. The blessings we reap from the many lives who have gone before our time.
Clutching the wool scarf around my neck, I thought of my grandfathers before me. The one who sailed the Mayflower in search of a better life. Another who, fleeing religious persecution, came to America to freely worship God and till his own land. Still other grandfathers bravely fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars so that we could be free and equal. Their legacies weigh heavy on my mind as I ponder the next four years.
As a Jesus follower, it is challenging to know how to respond to the mixed bag of emotions this bitter campaign evokes and the uncertainty that lies ahead.
A few weeks ago, I drove to the park and wept in my car.
I’m guessing you can relate. Maybe you’ve had your own moments of hiding in your closet or alone time in your car. Perhaps the stress of this year is wearing on you, too.
I’ll admit, the last 6 months have been a bit much. My aunt died, most of my family got COVID-19, I lost a friend to cancer, my work dwindled, and the chaos of the world flared my chronic illness and PTSD.
In truth, I’ve got a bad case of “2020 Fatigue”. I’m tired of the stress, tired of the mess, tired of waiting for the next shoe to drop. Each new circumstance cues my anxiety like clockwork.
It’s like the world is on fire (oh wait, it is) and someone just keeps turning up the heat. And this girl can only take so much disaster bingo.
So I cried out all the feels in my car. I asked God to just make it stop. I was too weary, too weak, too inept to handle it all.
And perhaps that’s the point. Continue reading