Our spring days this week have been quite the roller-coaster. One minute it’s beautifully sunny with blue sky then the clouds turn dark and it’s pouring rain and hailing. This pattern repeats itself throughout the day. Sunny and cheerful to dark and gloomy and back again. I feel my own emotions reflected in the ever-changing weather. At moments, I am sunny and positive. It’s like a breath of fresh air. I can do this. At other moments, I am stormy and gray. My emotions are dark. The blue skies are hidden from view. I can rotate through these very different outlooks in a matter of minutes.
As I wrestle with all these thoughts and emotions, I am comforted by the fact that I am not alone. Everyone I’ve talk with about this analogy has been able to relate. While I am isolated in my home, I am not isolated in my feelings. Many others understand right where I am at and that helps me make peace with the whirlwind inside me.
Monday was a hard day for me. It was the day I noticed my heart reflecting the weather. I sat down to journal my thoughts because I figured it would be healthy to write down some of the emotions I was carrying. As I was writing, I could feel panic rising within me. Normally writing helps me process, but this wasn’t working as planned. I was being stirred up instead of calmed down. I needed a new plan.
As my husband’s work day wrapped up, I shared with him that I needed to get out of the house. He agreed and before long we had our family loaded up and heading to McDonald’s (don’t judge). My family ordered meals, I ordered a chocolate milkshake and ate Owen’s chicken nuggets. As the boys happily munch and played with new toys, Jeremy drove us around back roads. It wasn’t a long outing, but it was a game changer. It was the reset I needed.
I don’t mind time at home. My home is my happy place, but this is the first time that I have ever spent this much time at home. I’m realizing that while I’m good with spending long periods of time at home, I do need small windows were I get out. I used to schedule one day a week were I intentionally stayed home. Now I’ll need to have one a day week where I intentionally get out of the house. What a flip! For the first week home, the boys and I stopped by the office to say hi to Jeremy (this was before the stay home order in our state). For the second week at home, we drove to pick up a homework packet from Owen’s school. This week it was the drive to McDonald’s and taking the long way home.
I’m learning about myself through these new circumstances. It is a journey of self-discovery going through these new waters. I’ve found myself slow to jump into big projects or to schedule video meetings. I needed time to absorb the changes to my world and figure out my new priorities. At first, I went into family protection mode – how can I make this okay for my boys? How do I make our home the haven it needs to be for our family? I truly feel that my biggest responsibility is now within the walls of my house. The responsibilities of school, faith, family and friendship all happen here now. I want to make the most of this unique opportunity.
It seems like the world has slowed down and sped up at the same time. I’ve been bombarded with nonstop online content at my disposable. Suddenly every ministry and organization has videos to watch and articles to read. Calendars are being filled with phone calls and video conferences. These are all good things, but I’ve hit a sensory overload of screen time and information absorption. I can only handle so much. I don’t want to waste the gift of this season. There is always something I could be doing – a new project to start, another person to connect with. But I also know that I am a finite being. I am processing a major shift in my world. It’s okay to scale back. I want to keep the main thing the main thing. And right now that is my family.
I want to make meals and eat around the table. I want to do chores as a family. I want to read books, do art projects, and help my boys do school from our dining room table. I want to help my husband with his creative ideas. I want to support him as he learns his new schedule as well. I want to watch to TV and just generally enjoy being together for this season. Home takes top priority. And so does mental health. I will do my best to be happy at home while occasionally driving to get milkshakes.
In the stormy moments, when it feels like life is a down pour and the hail is hammering the ground, I will remind myself that the sun is just behind those clouds. If I give it a minute, the storm will clear and the light will shine again. I will find a break in the rain, a breath of fresh air, and hopefully a second-wind to keep going.
Here are the a few Bible verses I’ve been keeping close on hand these days:
Psalm 33:4 ~ For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does.
Proverbs 3:5 ~ Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Psalm 23:1-3 ~ The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.