It has been some time since I’ve written a blog, Dear Reader. Much of that has to do with how busy the month of May became in my life. I heard several stories from people who have been bored during the pandemic. That has not been my pandemic experience. It felt as if my work became non-stop, trying to wrap up 5th grade for my students in a joyful and creative manner via technology. Yet, busyness has never stopped me from writing before so the astute reader probably sensed there was more.
Yes, there was more.
May and June will always be extra-heavy emotional months for me. Maybe it’s because both of my kids celebrate their birthdays. It certainly has to do with memories. For whatever reason, the events of May and June 2015 surround me at every turn. My daughter was standing, walking, and running in every memory I have because the thought of her not being able to stand, walk, or run had never even occurred to me in my cushion-filled life. And five years later, this May, my daughter moved far away to a big city for her job. It has been insinuated multiple times during the pandemic that I need to have more faith. Well let me tell you, I think allowing my 19 year old paraplegic daughter to move far from home all on her own, during a pandemic no less, requires a lot of faith. I didn’t cry when we took her to college, but I sure cried when I left her alone in her apartment after staying with her a week to help her get settled.
And then, Dear Reader, the third reason I struggled to write during the month of May was that I just wasn’t sure I had anything to say. A LOT of people are saying, talking, putting their thoughts out there and I just wasn’t convinced I needed to add to the fray. Ideas for writing have always come very easily to me, yet, I struggled. I even wrote one blog post, read it, and deleted it. I pay to write this blog. That wasn’t my intention when I began writing the blog, but I severely underestimated the number of people who would want to read it. I figured with over 1,200 readers keeping up with my CaringBridge posts, the majority of them would sign up to follow my free blog too. That was not the case. Financially, the blog is not in my best interest, so when my “contract” expires this coming December, so will my blog. I wondered if God was trying to tell me to pack up the blog even earlier than I’d planned. But two thoughts/incidents/ideas keep tumbling around in my mind and the words are flowing freely, so here I go.
It’s a world fraught with peril and to say almost anything seems to alienate one side or the other. I’ve been thinking a lot about “sides” lately. In mid-May I went to the grocery store for the first time since March 11. I wore one of my masks. I’m a bit fearful of writing that in a blog. As mentioned above, I’ve found wearing a mask elicits unsolicited responses from others. “You know, God is bigger than COVID-19, Amy J.!” Of course, the insinuation is that my faith is lacking since I’ve chosen to wear a mask. Initially, the first few times I was told that, I kept my mouth shut. (That was easier since it was already covered.) But then one day I grew brave, “Yes, and God is also bigger than paralysis and cancer and (mic drop) death . . . yet we are still having to deal with all the painful ramifications from those here on earth.”
So I wear a mask when in public. And while at the grocery store, two separate older men on two separate occasions got right in my personal space. This would have been an inappropriate distance had the world simply been normal, but naturally, it felt even more inappropriate when social distancing was being requested. To say I felt bullied was an understatement. Neither man spoke to me, but it was incredibly clear they intended to “scare me,” make me back up, and intimidate me, and then sneer and scoff.
No wonder unity seems to be so elusive. If we are a people who will consciously choose to bully and intimidate someone based on whether or not they are wearing a face mask, I shouldn’t be surprised that we as a people will choose to let skin color divide us and fill us with hate. I feel as if those old men in the grocery store were trying to undo everything I try to do in public education with 10 and 11 year olds. I wish I’d told them that; however, I’m probably thankful I didn’t!
Secondly, the month of June is always when we took our little family vacation. For many many years, we traveled to an Ohio theme park, Cedar Point. The first time we went the kids were 3 and 1, and the kids literally feel as if they grew up there because they did! Naturally, when they were little, we spent much of our day in the two child-themed sections of the park and we have the photos to prove it. One of the kids’ favorite rides back in those days was any type of car on a track. They wanted to drive! In fact, the first year we went, our son was content to let our daughter “drive,” but once he reached two years of age, we had to put them in separate vehicles so they could both “drive.” Weren’t they big stuff? “Look at me mommy! Look at me! I’m driving!” And Chad and I would go right along with them. “Keep your hands on the steering wheel! Watch out for that curve!”
And they weren’t even close to “driving.” They had zero control. Zero. Yet they thought they did.
So I humbly offer that with all that has transpired in the last few months, many people have suddenly realized they truly aren’t “driving.” They thought they had control. They wanted to have control. And they realized they didn’t have control. Please please don’t think I’m pointing the finger at anyone. I, too, went through this stark, unhinging realization.
I was just five years ahead of the majority of folks in my realization because a wreck and paralysis will do that to you.
Just like you, everything about our lives is up in the air right now. Our daughter’s college says she’s going back in the fall, but will she really? Who can definitively say in May what will happen in August? Or December? Or March? I would love to go to school and start setting up my classroom since it’s been cleaned for the summer, but that would only be a waste of time. Who knows what modifications will need to be made to my classroom and even if we will return to school in August? My son is training for a cross country season. Will a season exist? What does a full senior year of high school look like during a pandemic? My husband has been working from home now since March 10 with no real date on when or if he will return to his spot at the office. Yet in all this, there is peace. Yet in all this, there is hope. Yet in all this, like you, Dear Reader, I acknowledge I’m not in the driver’s seat. But I know Who is and yes, that Driver is bigger than a pandemic, paralysis, cancer, hatred, peaceful protests, riots, and death. God is still here. And He’s not a bit scared to share our life with us.
Please know all readers are welcome to this blog. Masked or unmasked. Until the next Wednesday the Lord allows.