Cindy O. reached out to me to offer to guest write a blog for our Glow Box community of women. This piece is an accurate description of what so many of us have been going through these past few months and gives encouragement and affirmation. I love how she shares what she has learned and how it also reflects what I have learned through this season.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did! Lynda
“Cast all of your anxieties on Him because He cares for you” Peter 5:7
As the cusp of summer approaches, already a few months into a pandemic that was merely a looming threat hovering in mainstream media in January, our day to day has become a very candid new normal, for many of us, in the blink of an eye. Regular outings we took for granted like getting groceries or making a trip to the pharmacy have become a little more complicated and cumbersome. Still, if we look at past pandemics, where there was a severe shortage of food and lack of beneficial communication tools and technological inventions, we are fortunately more advanced, even with the unique parameters and challenges we face.
What helps keep me grounded throughout this whole experience is my faith in God. Because I believe sometimes, our path changes course because it is necessary, part of something bigger. Even if we don’t always understand at the time. We’ve already seen many positive changes in contrast with some of the adversity. We are a resilient species. We have the capabilities to get through this even with the many threats plaguing our midst. I think of past pandemics like the Spanish flu. Even with its vast devastation, it brought change for good, inspiring the creation of the intricate sewer systems commonplace today. Perhaps not quite so glamourous to reflect upon. But imagine trying to live without them!
Challenging times always bring us back to the basics. Faith is definitely one of them. If we trust in God, accepting that which is in front of us, instead of resisting it we are never lost. Trust is after all the truest test of faith. I’ll admit when this first started, I didn’t really know how I would react, or what to expect. Overall, I have adjusted relatively well. I’ve taken many of the modifications in stride letting go of the need for predetermined expectations. Really, what else can we do?
I’ve been thinking about how my life has changed and strangely in comparison, how much it hasn’t. How the important things are still the same. How clearing some of the extra “clutter” and other distractions is somehow making my life slowly richer. I thought I’d miss my frequent dashes to the mall, or jaunting roundabout in a barrage of daily activities. Surprisingly, I’ve just been enjoying the solitude and simplicity of it all. In fact, I am realizing just how much I treasure the place I live in. How the lack of other options is allowing me to savour things closer to home. Like walking in nature, or working from home, having nicely re-arranged my spare room into a jovial, vibrant space perfect for this.
Even though I genuinely miss some things, the shift has exchanged me with reflection and contemplation, opening my eyes to ways of better spending my time. Time I wasn’t fully taking advantage of before. For example, like taking up baking again, or selecting other activities to do closer to home during my week off, as pre-set vacation plans fell away. Also, dreaming about what I’d like my life to look like post-pandemic, even if I have to post-pone some things in the meantime, giving me focus and a sense of hope in light of all the uncertainty.
I’m developing an even keener appreciation for time once spent with family and friends, and the significance of local products and businesses, in lieu of items mass-produced. More and more, I find myself choosing to support local or smaller businesses whenever I can. Ones who shape our communities, giving them income, character, variety, and choice. Ones I’d like to see around when all this is over. Furthermore, I’m becoming increasingly conscious of the plight of our farmers and how vital they really are. In general, all of this making me question this global economy we have created. Although it has brought many benefits, it has opened doors to vulnerabilities too. It has made us largely dependent on external resources, in order to thrive and survive; instead of concentrating on being more self-sufficient, by investing in jobs and industries that reflect these values and possibilities. Of course, that’s not to say we shouldn’t value some of its exchanges. As always balance is key in everything.
We are surrounded by an abundance of things we undoubtedly don’t need, quenching a bottomless thirst for instant gratification. (Some of which having already dissipated). You know those frivolous manufactured items, the ones easily discarded, impacting our environment, and immersing our oceans in long-term implications. This pandemic has already planted the seeds of change. It’s changing the way we buy, think and live. It’s not just about the surge in on-line purchases, or financial restrictions because of the impending uncertainties, or the need to eliminate that which is superfluous. I think it’s more about realizing what is most important as we trade-in our jet-set lives for something much more rewarding and valuable.
Washing my hands for probably the quadrillionth time, with the blooms of summer upon us, I look forward as some restrictions are lifted. Well aware that we’re not home free just yet, still I’m hopeful that it will be a good summer even if it’s somewhat different from past ones. If I can let go and keep the faith. Faith in a summer, a future I can’t yet picture. Swaying like reeds breezing gently under the brilliance of tender rays, relishing the moments and a future bound with much promise and hope of infinite possibilities.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11
If you would like to read more of Cindy's blog posts you can find her at choosingzeninthejungle.blogspot.com