So much loss. That's all I keep thinking. For you. For me. For all of us. Many of the hopes, dreams, and plans we had for 2020 were shattered in an instant. Most of us have experienced the pain and loss of cancelled weddings, graduations, vacations, and business events. All of us have suffered the grief of being separated from family and friends and our normal routines, and many of us have suffered even deeper losses with the passing of loved ones.
This pandemic has stripped us of the lives we knew. For months now, we've been hanging on, hoping it would end 'this week' and things would get back to normal. Yet, it is unlikely that anything will normalize in the near future. Zoom meetings and parties will continue. Social distancing is seemingly here to stay. School in the fall is still questionable, leaving a nation in flux. Many, including my husband, are still unemployed and don't know if/when they'll get a call back. We are living in historic and unprecedented times.
It's time to hit the reset button. First, we need to grieve the losses we've had, because they are real, no matter how big or small the loss, which isn't limited only to the loss of loved ones. Next, we need to ascertain what things we are in control of in this currently chaotic world. Once we've determined what things we CAN control, we can set new goals and hit the reset button for the remainder of 2020.
The Ash Pile
This morning, I found myself saddened as I looked at my list of plans and goals for 2020. Two national Christian Writer's Conferences cancelled that I would've been faculty at-cancelled. My 40th class reunion-cancelled. My girls getaway weekend-cancelled. Trips to see my kids and grand kids-cancelled. Time that would've been spent in the studio has been devoted to trying to acquire, prep, and cook food from scratch (for the life of me, I still cannot find shortening needed for biscuits and just received a bag of yeast from my daughter in PA so I can make bread). Endless hours spent cleaning and disinfecting, over and over and over again. More time has been snatched by a medical situation. Even more time has been snatched by needing to start seeds and get a garden going, to offset the cost of food. My whole calendar year is in the Ash Pile. Every single thing I planned to do-gone.
The New Reality
We cannot control this pandemic. We cannot recover what has been lost. So we have to ask ourselves "What can I control?" Here's a partial list I came up with: "My health. My inner peace. My willingness to be change with the times. My ability to continue writing. My ability to utilize digital platforms where I cannot be face to face, with friends and family and with all of you." These are realistic goals that are not dependent on external circumstances to achieve.
Rise Up From the Ashes What do I mean by that? A key to still moving forward in this pandemic is to remain flexible and try to figure out what you can do instead. Perspective is a wonderful thing. For example, many parents have figured out how to create a fun birthday celebration, despite the situation. Some are having drive-by birthday parties for their kids, others are using Zoom and similar platforms to host parties, and still others are deciding that a family day is a great way to celebrate this year. People who no longer can work out at gyms are hitting the hiking and biking trails.
What hopes and dreams and goals did you set for 2020? Some may need to be delayed, much like my Writers Conferences are delayed until 2021. To this I say "It is what it is." Focus on what can still happen, not what is lost. Some plans may just need to be adjusted to accommodate the new normal. For example, the vacation my husband and I were planning to take down through the south in late summer has been adjusted to renting a cabin on a lake here in our state for a week. Am I disappointed to have to be confined to this little state? Yes! But, I am also grateful that rentals have opened in-state that will allow me a change of scenery and some peace away from this urban sprawl!
The lie is that we've lost 2020. The truth is-this is only June! There's still a half a year left. So I urge you to rise up from the ashes and hit the reset button of life! This pandemic and our current circumstances has not taken God by surprise. The hopes and dreams He gave you and the call He has on your life, the purposes and plans for you are all still there. Nothing has changed, except how we do life. Mom Life
My heart is especially toward moms at this time. There's a seriousness and reality to your new normal. You've got kids to raise, and now are bearing more of the load of responsibility for their education than you've perhaps been used to doing. Maybe you'll continue distance learning this fall. Maybe you've decided to home school instead (yes, there is a difference). In addition, you may be working or working from home and trying to juggle work and family life. Kids activities have been cancelled and now you're playing the role of the activities director. Summer camps are cancelled and you need to step in and be the camp counselor this summer. You may not be used to cooking everything at home and adjusting to cooking with what food is available today.
I get it. No, really, I get it. Been there and done that. Everything I typed above is a life I've lived. The good news for you is that myself and other women are seasoned veterans. My advice to you is to sit (virtually?) with one or more women who you can identify as currently or in the past managed a household situation similar to yours . You don't need to figure it out alone. There are many in your situation.
In the Bible, Titus 2 gives the model for us to follow 'Older women teaching the younger women'. I fall in the category of 'older' and am here for you. If you follow me on social, you can DM me. If you want to email me, that's fine too. Any situation you find yourself in, I've probably lived part of my life in that similar situation (really!).
We're Living History
Whether a mom currently raising kids or not, we all have dreams and things we wanted to do in 2020. History is being made with each passing week, and we are living it now. How we live it will determine our legacy for future generations! 2020 is one for the future history books, and if that is the case, we may as well be finding and living the positives of 2020, not all of the losses! Reset. Rise Up. Out of the Ashes.