Finally — a name for what I’ve been experiencing lately.
Much like everyone I know, I have a routine for my day, a rhythm that gets me started from the moment I wake until I go to bed. It differs based on the day — or it used to at least.
Mornings are pretty much the same, however.
I wake, generally speaking I exercise, eat some breakfast and then sit down in my writing area and well, write. Other times I read and then write. Lately I’ve done a lot of mindless surfing. Just feeling too numb to write.
During these mornings, I also find time to squeeze in some friend time through the Marco Polo app. I LOVE this app. My daughter (20) calls it a “mom” app, and I’m good to own that. What I call it is a lifeline.
I started using it about a month before we moved from Colorado. I set up a few of my close friends from home and started recording messages to them. And they started responding with video messages back, and so on and so forth. Over the years amazing things have happened. I have formed, or strengthened, incredible bonds with most of these people. One friend in particular – we were good friends before I left, having spent the better part of a decade getting to know each other, but she’s a tough nut to crack. She tends to keep things close to her chest. But over time, through almost daily chats, she has become one of my most dear and intimate friends. Who would’ve imagined that would have come from an app.
This morning I had a message from another of my favorites, Teri. Teri is by nature an incredibly kind, enthusiastic, smart, power-house-of-a-person, life coach. We have been friends for years. Though a decade separates us in age, our likes, skills and interests are so compatible it’s like slipping into a warm favorite sweater every time I receive a message from her. I always open it with eager anticipation of what life nuggets I’m about to receive and explore.
Today, Teri was talking about how difficult the last few days have been. Teri, like me, is an ambivert. We are highly extroverted in that we seek time with others and outside adventure as a way to stimulate the senses, but in between we seek quiet/solitude to process thoughts and emotions before seeking the next adventure. The solitude is short-lived and connection is high on the list of daily needs.
Both she and I have remained social during this time. Marco and Zoom have been life savers, but something is missing. I talked about it in my post a bit yesterday. There is energy when you are in a room with others. It’s a different feel when contact is made in person than through a screen. And the going and doing parts of our days have all but ceased. Denver and the surrounding counties have begun full “stay-at-home” protocols. Unless going to the store or you are an essential worker going to your job, you are to be in your four walls. Period.
For someone like me, that is hard.
Even though I work from home and spend hours a day here with my husband and daughter on the regular, I was always out and about. I’d take my lunch time to head to the mailbox, or run an errand, pick up a few items from the grocery, go to the car wash — any number of quick errands I could run during the day and I never gave them a second thought.
When work ended, I often had plans – be it bible study with my groups of ladies or dinner with friends or date night with Frank. Occasionally I was home after work hours. But being home was always by choice, and I enjoyed the time being there because I had opted to stay in. Times are a little different now.
Now I am home to stay safe, and to keep others safe. And though we here in South Carolina, are not on lock down, or required to stay home, where would I go if I could go out? The grocery is less appealing – I feel a little panic when I am there. I look at others with suspecting eyes. Gone is the energy I used to feel when groups of people gathered near me. It’s so not the same.
Last week, I was in a funk for sure. Just going through motions. I had trouble with focus and doing normal tasks, no matter how small. I really hadn’t dwelt on it, but I feel a little residual ick still lingering in my day.
So when I popped on Marco this morning and listened to Teri’s message, I had a light bulb moment. Teri was in the midst of re-reading Brene Brown’s book “Braving the Wilderness”. It’s a book that helped me as I was still sorting out my experience of mourning after leaving the Mormon church. Teri shared that some of what she was feeling about the shifts and changes lately was very much a mourning period. And that really struck a chord with me.
Things have changed. And they changed out of my control. I didn’t decide to shift my life, my life was shifted for me. My patterns were changed and my day redefined by an invisible menace — the virus has taken some of my freedom away and I am in mourning.
When I left the church, which had so defined my life for so many years — decisions I made, friends I had, behaviors I’d adopted were all influenced by the corporation of the Mormon church. Leaving meant I had to redefine most, if not all, aspects of my life and who I was. There was a sadness and the feeling of loss of my identity on many days in the early moments of my faith crisis. But I knew things would get better, that one day it wouldn’t be so painful. That one day I would wake up and be who I was without having to think so hard about every single step I was taking. And eventually, that was true.
And it will be the same for this period of time as well.
One day the virus will be gone and our freedoms restored. I am under no delusion that things will go back to exactly how they were before all this happened, at least not immediately, but things will feel more normal down the road. I look forward to that time.
But for now, for now, I am going to give myself some grace. I am going to feel what I feel, and name it for what it is. Mourning. I am mourning the things I miss, the social interaction, the being close to people I care about and looking them in the eye when they are speaking to me. Hugging my friends as they walk in my house. Cooking a meal when we entertain. And going on date nights out with my hubby.
It’s all part of the process.
As I walk through yet another wilderness, I am once again redefining things for myself. What am I learning about myself? What is God trying to show me and teach me during this time? I’m trying to be more open and aware of the answers to those questions. I’m trying to keep notes and journals about what I’m experiencing and learning during this quieter time. I look forward to being on the other side of things, where I can look at those notes as a whole and decide what to keep and what to shed in what I’ve learned about myself during this time.
Processing all this today gives me a sense of hope for the positive things that will come from this experience. Though days feel longer right now, I know that this will pass in what ten years from now will feel like a blink of an eye. It’s what I will gain from this time that excites me and gives me renewed hope. For now, I will embrace a future time and look forward to the lessons ahead.
Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed.
Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came, it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.Ephesians 3:23-24 (NLT)