There is something to be said about turning the pages of a new book that I find so satisfying. I read a lot on the computer, so I genuinely enjoy the opportunity to smell a new book. Yes, I just let a little of my inner nerd seep out, but its the truth. I enjoy cracking open a new book. Nothing excites me more than spending time choosing a new book…browsing a book store with a hot latte until I find the perfect one. Things have changed…I still shop for new books, albeit they arrive in the mail now via one of five Amazon trucks that deliver to the house the same day.
I’ve been reading “Necessary Endings” by Dr. Henry Cloud. The idea of the book is simple. Many of us have relationships (personal or professional) that we need to evaluate and possibly end so that we may move forward in life. Dr. Cloud states, “Endings are not only part of life; they are a requirement for living and thriving, professionally and personally.”
When I started this blog, it was before the pandemic, and it’s even more apparent that many necessary endings will happen in our lives. Some of them will be entirely out of our control. Businesses are having to evaluate if they will ever again reopen. Our favorite restaurants switched to take out only. Parents and grandparents hate being alone and find that Facetime is their only safe interaction with children and grandchildren. We’re celebrating birthdays in Zoom meetings. Students are using google hangouts in class and virtually raising their hands. I had a virtual consultation to design my wedding band (yes, we’re engaged!)
I’ve personally not left this house but three times in over a month, and honestly, I’m pretty okay with it. I’m still working full-time remotely from my home office on a beautiful desk the Bearded One build for me a few months back. I’m now raising the littles full time while the Bearded One is going to work every day dealing with the public and the stress of his job. We’ve made the adjustments we’ve needed to make to survive. Of course, at times, it is very different for all of us, but we’re doing well. We’re adjusting to the temporary “normal.” Big Poppa stopped over a few weeks back to pick up the plumbing that he bought from my company. (Big Poppa is my dad if you don’t know). It was like a business transaction; well, actually, it was like a drug deal. *Opens Garage* “Got the goods?” “Yeah, it’s all there” *Takes the goods…closes garage…end of transaction*
I later texted him and told him that it was the first time in 42 years that I didn’t hug him. THAT was weird. We dropped off groceries to the Bearded One’s mum. It was surreal to drop the groceries and run. Instructing her to wash everything while staying in the basement as she put the groceries away. Things are very different, but I don’t think it needs to be a bad thing. Amazing things will come out of this situation. Old practices and outdated systems will be forced to update to evolve in order to survive in the future. We have to learn to take it one moment at a time and roll with it. I now listen to church online, Facetime my therapist, and hold a virtual meeting every single day with my HR Manager. We’ve even played Yahtzee while having a beer with friends over Facetime.
MORE GRACE AND FAITH -LESS JUDGEMENT AND FEAR
We should be careful wandering around looking for someone or something to blame through this crisis, especially when its fear that is driving. I’ve seen typically calm, and rational people become anxiety-riddled balls of emotion. Everyone is scared for various reasons. Being laid off for the first time in their lives, MILLIONS of people applying for unemployment, some are sick or caring for a sick loved one. The list of reasons goes on and on. Anxiety is not the diagnosis; anxiety is the symptom of something else. How do you find freedom from fear and anxiety? You feed FAITH. Fear and hope cannot coexist.
I’ve listened to the most rational people I know say some of the most asinine comments they’ve ever spoken out of their mouths. Why? FEAR. FEAR is a liar, and your mind is his playground if you allow it. What are the lies? “We’ll never get out of these times. We’ll never recover from this. I’ll never work again; the children will never recover from this. I’m a horrible home school teacher. I am alone.” The lies go on and on. We’re all living at such a high level of stress, but we don’t have to! We can stop feeding the anxiety and fear. It is possible to find freedom from anxiety during the most stressful times if we learn to lean in and find faith in the small moments.
Cindy Beall authored an article called “How to choose Kindness and Patience when you don’t’ feel like it.” She said, “Whether we’re in a difficult time as a nation or individually, we can’t let fear or worry overtake us. These negative emotions can dictate our lives to the point where we feel as if we’ve lost control. Our feelings are a way of letting us know where we stand, but they should not govern how we act. What if we didn’t allow our negative feelings to control us? What if we followed Christ’s example and loved other people as He loves them? We have the power of the Holy Spirit to give us strength in our weaknesses. When Christ works through those weaknesses, we’re actually strong! (See 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.) We can choose kindness and patience, even when it’s challenging to do so.”
The Foolish, The Wise, and The Evil
The lessons I learned from Dr. Cloud of the foolish, the wise, and the evil hit home with me. I try to live my life as a sensible person, and I humbly listen to the advice of cherished loved ones and friends. I’ve changed a lot about myself over the years, and I’m trying to evolve into a better version of myself.
I’ve had to take a step back and look at people I once “hated” with compassion and grace. Yes, I have hated people. I’ve struggled with many people and their behavior, especially in this crisis.
Each of us serves a different role in our families, at our jobs, and socially. No matter what, we have to deal with people. They are people who have emotions, feelings, driving core values, fears, and uncertainties that may not be the same as our own.
I’m finding myself in a place where I want to understand we’re all different, but different is not necessarily bad. We have different philosophies, thoughts, and we should all have the opportunity to feel loved and appreciated. I’ve spent the last few weeks helping my employees through some tough times. They have a lot of questions that I just don’t have all the answers for at this time. None of us know what is going to happen, but we have the opportunity to embrace the good and hold on to one moment at a time.
Before this pandemic, the world around us was hurting. So many people want so badly to feel accepted, but now they have to live their entire lives through a computer screen perspective of the world. Now with everyone forced to stay at home, even more people feel alone, and depression is setting in. Have you checked in with your friends? Sometimes its when people say the least that you have to stop, listen to them and let them know, “you are not alone; I am with you.”
Yes, these are different times, and before this weekend is over, we will be over 20,000 deaths from this virus in the US alone. It’s different, but good things can come from this. People will grow closer as families; unfinished home projects will be completed, new advances in technology will come through this. More importantly, more people will come to know God and find faith in Christ. Be wise, pay attention to the facts and stay at home!
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NIV
- Cloud, H. (2011). Necessary endings: the employees, businesses, and relationships that all of us have to give up in order to move forward. New York: HarperCollins.