When quarantine began, I made a list of all the things I would accomplish while staying home. I would bake bread, do yoga every morning, finish the seven books I was in the middle of reading, organize the entire house, and help Brett run the church during these unprecedented times. I made plans and commitments. Among those, was volunteering to lead our first “online/virtual” study group. Instead of choosing a book that has a leader’s guide with discussion questions, scriptures, and other support, I decided to go rogue. The book, The Wisdom of Tenderness, has been and continues to be one of the most influential books of my life. (If you are interested in learning more about the book or joining us, there is still time to get caught up! Here is a link to the forum:
As soon as I began my pursuit of experiencing God in accordance with my formula, guiding others through this book, and trying to be a quarantine queen, my body decided it had other plans. Instead of plowing through my to-do list, I have been relearning to take care of my body and find new ways to live life with chronic illness. For weeks, I really didn’t feel alive, spending most days just trying to move from my bed to the couch and trying to cope with pain and fatigue. Living with chronic illness seems to be similar to learning how to surf. I have never surfed, nor wanted to, just like I never wanted to learn to battle these physical issues. I have been trying to imagine the pain and fatigue as a wave, not just a normal wave, but the really big ones you can see building in the distance. The ones that the professionals seek out and try to conquer. A professional surfer sees these gigantic waves and is confident and prepared. I see that wave and am terrified and filled with fear of its power. But no matter how the pro feels or how I feel, that wave is not changing. It swells, climbs, peaks, and crashes. The pro knows these stages and knows how to work with its power, not against it. A wave is a wave, a mountain a mountain. Pain is pain, and a crisis is a crisis. We can’t change or stop them, but we must learn to work with them. Successfully coming out on the other end, still standing on our board, is imperative.
Being terrified, frozen with fear, and unsure of what to do next may seem pretty familiar to us all right now. We are in the middle of waiting to see just how high this wave is and wondering if it has peaked and what the crash will feel like. This past weekend, Memorial Day weekend, was an experiment. We do not know what the outcome will be from people heading out of their homes to beaches, parks, stores, and parties. Honestly, I am scared. I am scared that more people will become ill and more lives will be lost. However, I don’t feel frozen with fear or unsure of myself as much as I did in March. I feel more confident that I know what to do. I know that I will wear my mask, continue to stay home as much as possible, trust my neighbors, and continue to pray for the world. This wave will eventually peak and crash. We will learn from it and when the next one starts to swell in the distance, we can respond with confidence and wisdom, even if that means we are feeling pain, fatigue, and anxiety. But we will be better able to use our energy and resources for good and for living life, not just surviving.