I have company this week and am scaring up some magical fun! Please come back next Wednesday for more newly perked Terri LaBonte ramblings!
I am well and truly sick of the coronavirus. I have resisted succumbing for many months, but I now suffer from a severe case of covid fatigue. A couple of days ago, I was feeling especially restless and frustrated. I made the mistake of googling “will the coronavirus ever end?” If you are struggling to keep your head above the cooties, I do not recommend googling this question. The articles that estimated the duration of the pandemic uniformly suggested that we will not hear the end of the virus until the third or fourth quarter of 2021. In other words… ANOTHER WHOLE YEAR!!!
I have been depressed ever since I read this prediction. I do not know if I can handle another year of this half-assed version of normal the world is simulating.
- I am sick of breathing through a mask.
- I am sick of muffled communication. It is so difficult to hear people and to speak intelligibly through a mask, it often seems easier to just not talk at all.
- I am sick of having bad hair days every day. The mask is 2020’s version of a hat… once you put one on, you had better keep it on because removing a mask that has been plastered to your head leaves your hair flattened and bent at all kinds of unnatural and unflattering angles .
- I am sick of events being cancelled… the butterfly release at my church, my trip to New York, the Candlelight Processional at Epcot, the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom, the Royal Canin dog show spectator activities, and the list goes on.
- I am sick of not hugging people.
- I am sick of looking for logical consistency in circumstances that are not conducive to logical consistency.
- I am sick of constantly having to rethink routines and old ways of accomplishing things.
- I am sick of feeling like everyone I love is so far away from me. I feel isolated from even those who are nearby.
- I am sick of researching coronavirus statistics in search of definitive good news and trying to be satisfied with small, sporadic victories.
This is just a partial list of things I am sick of. (Yes, I know that you should not end a sentence with a preposition, but I am too sick and tired to care!) Truthfully, the list is endless. Just as I think I have reconciled myself to one kick in the gut, something I never even thought about rises to the surface of my reality.
I think I have always been a grateful person and I think that I still am, even in the midst of corona crazy. I know how blessed I am in every way. I know that God uses even the worst situation to build and create wonderful results, so I trust that this time of challenge will yield some positive outcomes. I have been stalwart in trying to keep people engaged and connected. Every time a challenge has presented itself, I have endeavored to be part of the solution instead of just whining about the problem.
Now, however, I seem to be a bit stuck in the slog. I do not seem to be able to get myself out of it. I desperately want a break from challenge, but I have not been able to find a place to really accomplish that.
I may have found an answer last Sunday at worship service. As I listened to the readings, one particular passage, Philippians 4:7-9, punched me in the soul. It says:
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
During the sermon, the rector talked about how difficult and antagonistic the world can be. He suggested that there is no real place in which to take a break from challenge in this world. However, in allowing my mind to focus on whatever is pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy rather than the anxieties and difficulties of the world, the God of peace will be with me. I do not think God wants me to avoid challenges at this difficult time. I think His will for me is to meet those challenges with an approach that is pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. In that way, I can give glory to His name, benefit His people, and grow my own relationship with Him. I must not only remember all I have learned of God and focus on sacred excellence. I must also put it into practice.
So, I am still sick and tired of the aspects of the world that are not pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. I do not understand the way the world is turning just now. I do not understand why things cannot go back to normal. I cannot understand why everything must be so hard. However, Philippians 4:7-9 tells me that I do not need to understand because the peace of God is much more powerful than understanding. Perhaps the answer to my “sick and tired of being sick and tired” tirade is to dump the anxiety and exhaustion of the world and let God carry it alone for a little bit while I focus on the pure and lovely!
What do you do when you get sick and tired of covid challenges? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a pure and lovely day!
One of the benefits of staying at home during the COVID-19 quarantine was that it gave me time to reassess the “stuff” I have acquired over the years. I did a merciless, no-holds-barred purge of my closets and bedroom drawers, throwing out or donating all the clothes that don’t fit, are too worn and threadbare to be respectable, are not suitable for my current life (as evidenced by the fact that I can’t remember the last time I wore them), or make me feel dumpy or like I am trying too hard. This process was traumatic, but I stuffed my feelings along with the rejected garments. I ate some chocolate and plunged ahead. I also trashed some of the souvenirs from my working life. I did not get rid of everything, but I did discard items that no longer sparked joy. I cannot imagine why I ever thought it necessary to move across the country with a list of emergency contact numbers for people I temporarily managed two years before I left the workforce.
As I conducted my shock and awe purge of joyless articles of uselessness, I ran across some writing I did over the years. As some of you know, I always wanted to write, but the business of making a living pretty much dominated my life for 30 plus years. I forgot that I had, in fact, been writing during that 30 years. I tended to write a bit or piece of something and stuff it in a drawer. I am beginning to think that my reason for not pursuing my writing was only partially about time. I think a big part of it was about fear- fear of failure, fear of exposure, fear of myself. I do not have a lot of the material I wrote in my prime, but I do have a few things. These pieces, strangely enough, seem to be remarkably like what I would call “blog posts” today. Most of them were written long before anyone had ever heard of a “blog post.”
As I was reading these relics of the me I used to know, I found myself chuckling. They reminded me of a time in my life when my priorities, self-image, and outlook were different than they are today. I remember the me who suffered way more than her life conditions merited. I remember the me who did not believe in her own worth. I enjoyed knowing her. I enjoyed maturing her into someone more settled, more joyful, and more confident. As I read these older writings, I remember I liked the girl who wrote them. She was kind. She was funny. She had a great sense of life’s absurdities. She was introspective. She was committed to becoming the best person she could be. She had a catchy turn of phrase. She believed in the beauty of the soul.
I realize all those qualities I admire in the girl who wrote the articles I found stuffed into drawers are still me. They are simply better and more polished and more well-integrated now. That makes me happy.
I have now written over 500 words now to give you the backstory for my main reason for today’s blog post. I think I am going to share some of that early me with you over the next few months. Every now and again, I am going to post something I wrote years ago as a “Wayback Wednesday” blog piece. I hope you will enjoy them and that you like the girl who wrote them as much as I have come to like her.
Do you ever come across a picture or letter or some other souvenir of another time in your life? How does it make you feel? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at email@example.com.
Have a wayback wonderful day!
Today, I was driving down the main road of my subdivision. What distinguishes this thoroughfare as the “main road” is that the speed limit is a breakneck 25 miles per hour, as opposed to the more sedate 20 miles per hour in most of the development. I was driving along when I noticed that the car ahead of me was stopped in the middle of the road about 50 feet ahead of me. There was a person on the meridian next to the car.
Now, it is not unusual where I live for people to stop and chat with each other. It doesn’t usually happen when one of the residents is driving and must come to a complete stop to carry on the conversation, but the situation is not unheard of. I didn’t think much about it, other than to chuckle that people seem to find this practice completely normal.
What was distinctly abnormal was what happened next. The guy on the meridian began jumping around as if being attacked by murder hornets. He was running at and around the car. It was a disconcerting sight. The way he was bouncing around, I wondered if he needed help or if he was some sinister oldster zombie character trying to eat the brains of the person in the stopped car.
Then, I saw the reason for the bopping around. There was a small turtle in the road. Apparently, the car stopped to avoid hitting it. The guy on the meridian went to move the turtle from the road, but it started “running” to get away. Unfortunately, it was running in circles around the car. It was kind of funny to watch the man try to outrun a turtle. We are all old here. The guy eventually caught the turtle and carried him to safety on the other side of the road. Good job, sir! Pretty cool.
We are an animal-loving bunch here in my neighborhood. A couple of years ago, the alpha male alligator must have decided that one of the juveniles was getting too big for his britches and forced him out of his pond. The junior alligator, disoriented and confused, ended up in the park area at the front of the development. I think he was okay until he got to the path that leads from the “main road” to the clubhouse/mailbox area. I think the paved road flummoxed him. He began walking in circles. Some of my neighbors found him and set up a little parade of people to guide him to another pond across the street. There was a video on Facebook of our stalwart residents shepherding the alligator to smoother waters. I don’t think I would have wanted to get as close to him as my neighbors did, but no harm done. In another situation, someone put up yellow police tape around an oak tree that was housing a new owl family. They wanted to give the new momma and daddy owl some privacy with their babies.
It is nice to live in a place where people pay attention to this sort of thing. It warms my heart. Some people retire so they can stop and smell the roses. Some people retire so they can stop and help the turtles.
What unique characteristic do you like best about where you live? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can leave me an email at www.terrilabonte.com.
Have a helpful day!