All optimism aside, this week royally sucks, doesn’t it? I mean, I am gonna guess that all of us women are carrying a heavy emotional load right now and I haven’t heard anyone talk about that. I hear the C-Word (you know, the one that starts with Corona and ends in virus) 187,463 times in the last few hours alone (until I shut the screens off). I am pretty sure I’ve worked through the fear part since I’m on a fear-fast and all. We have memes and GIFs and acronyms and charts and experts and projections and blah, blah, blah. We have new terms that we’d never heard before and now are commonplace like social distancing and you-have-more-than-your-fair-share-of-toilet-paper. We have plans up in the air and children underfoot and very real concerns about jobs and money and our futures. I hate it. And the women bear it for everyone else’s sake in a way that our precious, logical men just don’t understand. I’m sure some tears have leaked out and I’m sure things that usually wouldn’t tip the emotional scales are doing so as randomly for you as they have been for me. I understand. Our emotions are the most beautiful part of us. Often, they are minimized or mocked, but this evidence of our heart is also what will help keep this whole thing covered in kindness and smooth all the rough edges until we are through to the other side.
There’s a phrase I have shared many times with many people. It’s regarding the gifts we’ve all been given. Like this: I have a daughter who has a very tender heart that cares about everyone around her. She bears burdens for her people and is thoughtful and considerate in ways that others may not be. When she was small, my mother twisted that beautiful gift and called my daughter overly-sensitive. She made it a thing to be mocked and made my daughter feel very small. We tried our best to turn it around for her and let her know that the very thing that was made to look like a detriment was actually her special gift — a precious, tender heart.
And that’s my saying: Every gift has a dark side. It’s what is used against us when that little voice in our head tries to rob us of our true gifting and identity — the part that changes the world! If we focus on the little voice instead of the truth, the loss is immeasurable. We have to keep the truth in our sightline and shrug off the dark side.
And that’s our job for the next few weeks, friends. This is new territory. We’ve all talked about this kind of what-if and all of a flipping-sudden, it’s HERE! No one really knows what to expect and there’s no one to ask or advise us. It feels like a very real dark side. And I am not here to say it won’t have that in a huge way for a huge number of people.
But, could we perhaps consider the gifts in it? Could we dig through the pile of the informational storm and look for some rare beauties? Some opportunities to shine and share and show grace and kindness? Would you like some examples? I’ve got you. These have been high on my list of stolen gifts this last week.
Even if you’ve literally been on the phone for 3.5 hours trying to get your money back, show some extra kindness in your words to the customer service agent. They’re so weary and abused right now.
Throw a few extra dollars and lots of extra smiles at the folks still at work (and working hard) so you can stock up on groceries and gas and whatever else.
We live in a college town and we have some stuck students who need some basics. It is our extreme joy to bring those who need a family nearby to share what we have. I am so proud to hear of folks sharing lunches for children and buying gift certificates from local restaurants and stores that are closing to help them through. Look around. The needs are real.
As a mom who had my kids at home for YEARS and worked from home my entire adult life, there are joys and treasures there, friends. Yes, there are online lesson plans to be had. But you know what would be the ultimate stolen joy? You have a once-in-a-lifetime gift of time with your favorite people in the world. You can have pajama parties and teach them to cook and play board games and write stories together and get to know each other in a brand new way.
There are some families who are going through some real heartbreak that goes way past those of use who are inconvenienced. How can we show them love?
The gift of time is rare!! If it’s been given to you in excess these days, SEIZE it! Squeeze the moments of sweetness and treasure them! You can make memories that will never be forgotten! You can bond in ways that you never saw coming! Laugh and play and turn off the screens and live some life amidst the chaos and noise. Take the dark side and turn it into a gift that you didn’t even see coming. I know I plan to.
Got any ideas to share? Ways we can show extra kindness and love or seize these moments? I’d love to hear them, and I bet others would as well. Hugs and love to you all as we weather this storm. May we be examples of grace and kindness.