Yesterday I cried. That’s not all too uncommon, really. And there were some reasons I was likely more inclined to cry, but still, I cried for the first time since all this started.
In the morning I cried while watching a video of a man who described how God ministered to him through a janitor while he was all alone in the hospital suffering from COVID-19.
I cried again thinking about all those this virus has forced to be alone, whether while dying, during any other sickness, or simply just their everyday living.
I cried thinking about the ones suffering in this isolated life while living with an abuser, or from lack of quality attention and care, or some silent struggle, or not enough food and basic necessities.
I cried again driving to Publix for meds and a few of our own family’s wants, because we’re blessed to still be able to have more than we could ever need!
And I kept crying when God met me with the perfect song on that ride and stayed crying longer in the parking lot while blasting that perfect song.
I also cried walking into Publix, even if only barely, after seeing their employees sanitize every cart in the blazing sun for their customers. And inside, tears continued once I saw people walking the isles in masks and gloves, basically because I equate these with illness and fear and can’t help but feel distant and separated from others while wearing them. Add to that how we all must strictly maintain this distance and separation for who knows how long in our odd, new reality and I can’t even deal. So, I just kept tearing up looking into their eyes because, as a friend put it, “fear and sadness” are carried there. Masks can hide many things, but not pain.
Then more tears welled up once I saw all those plastic partitions which now exist between every brave worker and their customer, as if I’d suddenly been transported to a really dangerous neighborhood. Which only left me sadder still, considering all those who actually live that kinda reality all the time. And, more threatened to fall as I wondered what all this distance we’re building between us will mean for us all long-term.
I pray hard only good things…
As I cried over all those real things.
But then, I’m nearly strangled at the checkout, when I felt straight buckets of frustrated tears and overwhelming fear because I got confused over when I should grab a hand wipe or the sanitizer… before or after my groceries? The grocery belt divider? My keys? My credit card? The receipt??? Because virus germs are everywhere, you know?! And because I don’t have gloves and only a few wipes are left in my container, you know!
And once I finally made it to the car and my automatic trunk didn’t open, well I nearly pitched a baby fit. I mean, how could I possibly touch the handles after I’ve already picked up the bags that have been touched by at least two other people? (Not that I wasn’t super grateful for the both of them!) And don’t even get me started on what happened in my mind once I could finally get in the car and head home, because that’s the hardest part, you know. Walking in the door and feeling like you may infect everyone there.
And none of those are real good reasons to cry, right?! Like, that’s just crazy town, right?!
And it’s now likely I may have lost many of you and need to explain that living with all these fears (and tears, though not referring to the 80’s band) is not all that new to me. Actually, for some, it’s a daily prison. See, for much of my life I was dominated by fears like this. Fear of many things really, but germs and loved ones getting sick were two of the main ones. As a little girl I even remember struggling to walk barefoot or shower or really just be comfortable in certain places because of this and it only got worse with age and babies. I’ll spare us both reliving too many details, but suffice to say there was a time when you could find me bleaching our bathroom floor with a toothbrush. And one time we actually left a vacation early because we had a crawling toddler and I couldn’t take the carpet in our hotel room. One would’ve thought it was the floor of a public restroom or covered in raw meat, but let’s not even go there.
Point is, for a long time I feared any and all invisible invaders, most illnesses, and even death itself, and had odd and destructive ways to manage their potential presence.
Until I was freed from all that fear. Glory be! (“…perfect love drives out fear…”)
And that’s my bigger point… I never want to go back there. Not EVER! So I have to draw a line in the sand. For my own sanity.
And although it’s important to use wisdom and to help protect others, I never want to go back to fearing the invisible and death and overthinking every move and obsessing over every possible unwelcome outcome. Because, Y’all, that is simply not freedom! And now I feel free in saying one can both refuse to fear this virus, while also staying committed to loving others by following guidelines and all well-informed best practices to the best of their abilities.
And while I may have been tempted yesterday to live out this fear… to be motivated by this fear… I cannot allow myself to go back to living like that. So today I will choose not to fear any of it. Not loneliness or loss or some massive lifestyle upheaval. Not civil unrest, limiting freedoms, government overreach, or financial collapse. Not another illness, novel germ, virus mutation, nor any other potentially devastating outcomes and possibilities. Not any of it. Because why fear what I can’t ultimately control?
Plus, God has already numbered our days anyway.
So, I’m happy to be back to living this way… “Do your best and leave God to the rest.” (paraphrased quote of two of my favorites, Oswald Chambers and Charles Stanley)
And Friends, if you have no earthly idea the kind of fear and obsession I just expressed, I’m so grateful and pray you always remain blissfully unaware of such a prison.
But if you know exactly what I mean, then I’m truly sorry and pray you finally find freedom from these chains and gain true peace knowing God holds our hearts and every outcome in His Capable, Healing, and All-Good Hands.
Stay well and live fearless, Sweet Friends ❤
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.Isaiah 26:3