I have been meaning to write for days. Maybe even weeks. To write for today, but mostly for years from now when I need to remember how I felt when the world went quiet.
How my whole life suddenly became my bedroom….my office, my gym, my coffee shop, my church, all of it packed into a tiny space that felt so protected. So very precious.
How there were no more parties, no more hugs. Just a lot of Zoom conference calls and for me, a lot of praying.
There was no need for makeup or nail polish….my hair grew out and I kept it pulled back in a braid. I hope I can remember that I finally (with a little help from my Mama) mastered a French braid during this pandemic.
Maybe I’ll tell my grandkids one day “I was a coffee shop girl. I lived for eerily quiet mornings inside Portland Brew. My forehead perched on my right hand while I scribbled in a journal”. And then I’ll say “But during the COVID scare I couldn’t quite simulate that same feeling in my apartment. I couldn’t get the words to flow”.
Hopefully I’ll remember in detail how heartbroken I felt because my people were miles away and I couldn’t get to them. I also hope I can smile and say “but oh did I write them letters”. Because that’s what I’ve been doing….pouring every ounce of love I can find onto stationery, stuffing pink confetti into an envelope and praying my words show up when someone needs some sunshine.
There’s bound to be things I’ll forget. The blue pajamas I treated myself to, the way I didn’t even change the calendar because it didn’t matter what day it was. The way Forrest knew something was up and would snuggle for hours, afraid. But he also was the happiest he’d ever been because I was with him 24 hours a day.
I’ll probably forget how much I ached for sunshine every day. Just hoping for an hour to walk up West End, no agenda. Just fighting battles. Talking to God.
I’ve been meaning to write for some time now. What the news has said, how the grocery stores were eerily quiet, how the pharmacy had a giant plastic sheet in front of the counter. Protection. A barrier. A reminder that things were not normal, in case we forgot.
“We’re living in a time that will go into history books,” they keep saying.
We’ll all remember the number of people infected, the way unemployment skyrocketed, the number of small businesses that went under. Those things will be blazoned in our brains forever. Dinnertime conversations. The topic that will change the way our world operates forever.
I won’t ever forget feeling afraid that hugging my Mom might be a death sentence for one of us.
Because the virus was spreading in ways we didn’t quite understand.
Six feet apart always.
Wear a mask.
I won’t forget any of that. Even if I tried.
But if that’s all I remember, then I will have missed too much.
So I’m writing. To remember the way it felt when the world went quiet. To remind myself that despite the fear, I kept walking.
To remind myself that I turned 26 and was forced to look at the realest, rawest version of myself. Because she was all I had. We ALL had to lock ourselves into our houses. No distraction, no numbing out, no other humans to save us but ourselves. God said “Stay. Rest. Hear my voice”. And so that’s what we did. Because the world was incredibly quiet and His voice was clear.
I turned 26 at the beginning of COVID. I was so scared of 26. Because life didn’t look like I thought it would. But a week after I turned 26 God slowed the world down immensely. He turned down the volume and held my face extra close to His. Looking me in the eyes and saying “sweet girl, why would you ever doubt me?”
I’ll forget how I cried because I was scared of food again. Scared of not being worthy if I gained an ounce. Idolizing peanut butter m&m’s.
I’ll forget how I watched every Matthew McConaughey movie and created an 8 step skincare routine. And those things will make me laugh when I re-read this post.
But that’s not why I’m writing.
I’m writing so I can remember how God moved in my world when it was quiet. How he gave me the space to become. To heal old wounds. To mourn old dreams. To find new ones, bigger ones.
The world was quiet and His voice was so loud. And I turned 26. And He was so very close.
It was scary. Hard. Incredibly hard. But He never left.
And that is what I’m writing to remember.