Come Together: On Celebration & Mourning

There is a lot happening right now, lots of emotions swirling around.

Some people are anxious and terrified of coronavirus. Some people are angry and infuriated by systemic racism in our country. Some people are sad, some people are mad, some people are feeling both, some people are feeling neither.

Responding to both the pandemic and heightened racism is a lot for me to process.

I feel anxious and overwhelmed regarding the pandemic. I feel a righteous anger and undeniably upset about white supremacy.

I believe there is a divine mingling between joy and sorrow.

Growing up, I used to think I had to be happy all of the time. I used to think sadness, anger, anxiety, etc. were bad emotions. But through plenty of therapy and many life lessons, I have come to appreciate my feelings–all of them and for all reasons and seasons.

Maybe it is because of my mood disorder, or maybe it’s just because I am a human, but sometimes in the sweetest of moments I cannot neglect a feeling of sadness and melancholy, too.

For example, leaving my adult job and starting a position at the climbing gym was perhaps the most bold and bittersweet decision I have made to date. I was excited to try something new, to pursue a passion, to leave a toxic situation. But at the same time, I was sad to leave familiarity, to close a chapter, to end an era.

These days, I think there almost has to be some bitterness simultaneously mixed in with sweetness. We cannot fully appreciate the highest of highs without experiencing the lowest of lows. We cannot feel pure delight without knowing utter sorrow.

Will you celebrate and mourn with me?

Advent is a season of hope and expectation: hoping and expecting a Savior to be born, hoping and expecting a King. But it is also a time of longing and craving: longing and craving our Savior to return; longing and craving peace on earth as it is in heaven.

The holiday season can be a time of joy and celebration, but also a time we miss a loved one’s face at the dinner table or around the Christmas tree.

I hope you feel delight in this season, I hope you feel peace and excitement. But if you do not, or if you do not entirely, I hope you know it’s ok to feel sadness, too. It’s ok to feel anxious and to struggle.

Let’s come together. Let’s build each other up, not break each other down. Let’s mend our hearts, heal our pains, and celebrate and mourn together.

Slow & Steady: On Resting Well

CommSandwichLife is different now.

Even as I go back to work at my climbing gym, my life has looked drastically different than it did just a couple months ago. And I have a feeling yours is different, too.

Remember the moral of the story about the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady wins the race? Well if life was a race right now, I would definitely be winning. And maybe you would be winning, too.

I’m not used to slow and steady.

My life is typically the opposite: fast and unpredictable, busy and spontaneous, constantly moving, constantly changing. But these days, whether I like it or not, life is slow and steady–and it probably will be for a while, even after COVID calms down.

Pre-COVID, my life was a lot of leaving the house at 8 a.m., going to my job, going to my other job, and getting home at 11 p.m. And on days when I didn’t work, it was a lot of running around, seeing people, making friends, planning trips, crashing on my bed in the wee hours of the night.

I’m learning how to rest, and how to rest well.

Rest for me can be a lot of things: emotional, physical, spiritual. When I need emotional rest, I like to talk to a friend or journal. When I need physical rest, I like to nap or simply lay down for a bit. When I need spiritual rest, I spend time alone with God and read scripture or pray.

Resting well means being intentional about seeking it out, making time for it in my everyday life. Resting well means saying “no” to phoning friends, or leaving a video call game night early. Resting well means waking early just so I can have an extra slow morning with Jesus, drinking coffee and opening up the Word.

Resting well means assessing my needs and what I am lacking, and taking steps to meet those needs. Resting well means valuing this alone time, this me-space because I know when everything goes back to normal, it will be harder to find this time to myself.

I have a few tips for resting well:

  1. Assess your needs: ask yourself what you type of rest you need–emotional, physical, spiritual, etc.
  2. Consider how to meet those needs: when you have identified what form of rest you need, then think about how to meet those needs. Is it by prayer and meditation? Is it by sleep? Is it by saying “no” to others, just to say “yes” to self-care?
  3. Follow through: it is easy to assess and consider without following through. It is easy to ignore your needs and instead pursue your wants. But when we follow through, we are giving our body, mind, and soul the nourishment and attention they need.

It’s important to rest.

It just is. Our bodies, minds, and souls need it. Our spirit craves it. Our eyes love it. Even though things are slowly starting to open up and we are beginning to have some sense of normalcy, I want to prioritize rest more than I did pre-COVID.

It’s important for me, it’s important for you. Let’s rest and rest well, friends.

 

The Monthly Update: May

It is hard to believe it’s June!

Though some days seem long, the month flew by for me, and so has 2020 in general. Let’s go ahead and hop into this month’s update.

May highlights:

  • Celebrating Mother’s Day with my family was great. I got to see my cutie-pie nephews, and sitting around the kitchen table and eating lunch with the people I love was just nice.
  • Summit, the climbing gym I work at, re-opened this month! It has been so nice reuniting with the climbing community. And I was promoted to Assistant Manager. Nervous-excited about this new opportunity.

May lowlights:

  • Now that the gym is open and I have returned to work, my pup Jack and I are trying to get used to being apart. He definitely feels some separation anxiety, but we are working through it.

This month, I was filled by:

  • Now that things are starting to open up, I have been meeting friends for park dates. They’re exactly what they sound like, usually with Jack in tow, we hang out with a friend at a park, just catching up and enjoying each other’s company.
  • My home group has been meeting virtually since social distancing started. It has been encouraging to have that solid community during such odd times.

This month, I was emptied by:

  • The news of George Floyd has been devastating and heart-wrenching for me. I opened up a bit on my Instagram about scripture that encourages me during this time, and where I am starting as I seek to support my black friends and community.

In June, I am looking forward to:

  • My nephew turns two this month! It is hard to believe Mason has been with us for two years. He is a whirlwind of joy and giggles and mischief. I am excited to celebrate him.

Lessons From Home: On What Social-Distancing Has Taught Me

I’ve learned a lot lately.

A lot about the world, a lot about my friends, a lot about Jesus, a lot about myself. If you’re like me–which I hope you are–you have been at home and having lots and lots more time to yourself, which also means lots and lots of more time to learn.

Let me share a few things I have learned:

  1. We take a lot of things for granted: like going to the gym or movies or out-to-eat, like going on a vacation to a far-away place, or even simply taking a bus to a neighborhood down the road.
  2. Saying “I love you” goes a long way: maybe it is because words of affirmation is one of my love languages, or maybe it is because I am mushy gushy, but I can feel my heart physically swell when my friends say, “I love you” at the end of a video call. I’m trying to say it more often, more audibly these days.
  3. We’re all in this together: even though we are not physically together, it has been encouraging to see so many emotionally supporting one another through social media, phone calls, video conferences, etc. Community is important, especially during these times.
  4. But also, take time for yourself: living alone in quarantine has obviously given me lots of opportunity to spend time by myself and practice self-care, but it is a good reminder nonetheless. In order to care for others fully, we must care for ourselves and fulfill our needs, too.
  5. Emotional safety is important, too. It is very important for us to take care of our bodies during this time, but it’s also good to check in with our thoughts and feelings. Holistic wellness is what I am always aiming for.

This is a very rare time for all of us.

This will (hopefully) never happen again in our lifetimes. Our new normal now is far different from the normal it was before this pandemic. But I want to see this phase as an opportunity for refinement, growth, renewal.

I want to utilize the time I have to myself to become a better version of me. I want to look at pre-pandemic me and see all of the ways I have developed into a more polished self during this quarantine.

Change and growth aren’t easy, and sometimes they certainly are not fun. But at times they can be necessary, rewarding, and good for the soul.