I think everyone would agree 2020 has turned out to be quite a bit rougher than expected. Since my birthday is coming up, and we just passed the middle point of the year, it seems like a good time to put what has been on my mind and heart on paper.
So, how are you?
Has your answer to this simple every day question changed in 2020? I know mine has. It seems like it is easier now than ever before to just be honest and say “I’m struggling” with people that we may not normally open up to. Maybe it is because we are all dealing with the same dark cloud of isolation, unmet expectations, cancelled weddings, cancelled vacations, and missing loved ones that we are separated from.
This was supposed to be the banner year for my business. I opened my first retail store in late 2019, sold out weeks before Christmas, and was excited for all the possibilities for 2020. Then, in early March, after much prayer and consideration about the looming global pandemic, I closed our retail store’s doors to the public. I met with my team and prepared them to work from home as much as they could. One week later, the state ordered a mandatory Stay-At-Home order. I remember feeling weirdly relieved that the other shoe had finally dropped. We are in this for the long haul. Time to pivot back to online sales.
Some days are easier than others. For me, sometimes I wake up able to compartmentalize time - enjoy the moment, belly laugh, and be full of deep joy. Other days, the little (and big) problems of my every day life or the soul-crushing daily news highlights seem to trip me up and I am in a funk for days.
I keep reminding myself it is OK to grieve the loss of what was. It is OK to pray with anger, frustration, grief…to be the rawest version of ourselves when we come to Him. I can promise you, if you do this, and you draw near to Him in this way, He will meet you. It is in these very moments when I feel SO much, and just express that in prayer, that I have felt His presence the strongest. It is in these moments that I have experienced emotional healing and a renewed sense of hope.
My feelings and prayers can vascilate wildly, but they’re not truth-speakers. Rather, they are an expression of what I am believing in the deepest part of me. So holding on to what I KNOW to be true, and releasing what I feel, is the challenge and the path to peace.
Back in college, someone described a visual illustration that I will never forget. Imagine a strong storm battering a large oak tree. Its trunk represents knowledge and undestanding and its branches represent feelings. Am I trusting the branches or the trunk? To put it another way, I am choosing to put my faith in what is unseen, and not what is seen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. This perspective is not an “arrival point” but rather an ongoing, daily battle to continue to choose to trust what is true.
What am I choosing now, then? Even though this year isn’t going “my” way in terms of my business or travel plans, I feel like I have been given a second chance to really slow down (and not just talk about slowing down), to cherish more time with my kiddos while they are so young and enjoy date nights in with my hubby. A sweet silver lining, indeed.
Our store re-opens tomorrow and I am feeling so many emotions. My team and I have been working through the legistics of this possibility for six weeks. It hasn’t been easy to make a plan for a pandemic that seems to squash any sort of plan, ha! So, after a lot of talking, worrying, thinking, praying, talking some more, and then pivoting, we feel like we have worked out how to open our doors back up to the community in the safest way we know how. I am excited and nervous, exhausted and energized. My team has worked their patooties off and the beautiful shelves of our store show it. Cheers to tomorrow.