Jen Hatmaker concludes every podcast with this exact question to each of her guests. “What’s saving your life right now?” She accepts any answer, whether deep or surface, silly or serious. And the answers range that gamut as well.
We’ve been embroiled in this COVID pandemic for 9 months. In early spring, we all shut down. I don’t have to remind any of you what that was like–we all stayed home, stayed safe, and worked to lower the curve. In the words of Dr. Adam London, director of the Kent County Health Department, we were heroic.
And man, I managed the heck out of that first lock down (once the franticness of it calmed down). I had a schedule and system to help my youngest thrive, the olders finished the school year with decent grades, largely unaffected by pandemic learning. I was working out 2-3 times a week, my family was getting fed (or at least I remember some menus.) I think I even managed a few small organizational projects. It was also the time when I felt the nudge to embark on this writing career in a more serious manner. I was carrying the world on my shoulders. Yes, I was tired and often overwhelmed, but really, it was going fairly well. The weather was improving and spring was in full bloom with the promise of summer.
This time around, I feel like I am barely managing. I feel like I am simply one minor crisis away from complete collapse. These shoulders are tired (maybe I’m carrying things that aren’t mine to carry..). In our home, we’ve faced a pretty serious mental health emergency which woke me up to how emotionally devastating this entire thing has been for so many of us. Also, it revealed to me how little of this is mine to fix or manage. I feel utterly powerless in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, a shifting culture, and the pain and needs of the people whom I love.
So first, before anything else, a PSA from my heart to you. If you are suffering in the midst of this, you are not alone. If you feel that you are in danger of harm to yourself, please know there are resources for you. You can call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 to have a person to talk to at any time. Tell someone of the pain you’re in–let others around you help. You are valuable, precious, and deeply loved. We weren’t created to live solitary lives, but in times like these, it sometimes feels like the work of a lifetime to build community.
So what’s saving my life this time around? Well, it isn’t cute little “self-care” things. A bubble bath has never been my cure. Even a nighttime glass of wine really isn’t it for me. Also, my house feels like a disaster every moment of the day and I want to dish out lots of dollars to the Home Edit ladies to come fix it all. New containers will fix everything, won’t they?
The things saving my life right now is the work of finding beauty of the world around me, even when it’s gray and cold outside (and I really don’t want to take my dog for another walk, but I do anyway). It’s texting or talking with my friends. It’s being mindful about the food I eat, the media I absorb, and the ways I move my body. It’s making time to work on my writing in the midst of all the other things I’m responsible for. It’s leaning hard into my faith which declares that all of this broken world belongs to God. It’s purposely finding quiet in a noisy home. And sleep, lots of good sleep.
We’re in it for the long haul. So, how are you? What’s saving your life right now?