It’s just over 1 year into the COVID-19 Pandemic and since I haven’t written anything in a while I thought I’d reflect on the last year. Where to begin?
Year of great learning? Yes. Year from hell? Yes. Year full of good things? Also yes.
For me, living through a pandemic has involved many of the same emotions (to a lesser degree) as grieving. That feeling of helplessness. The loss of a part of your relational identity – as a social being. The constant reminders of the dire situation. Hopelessness. The constant urge to retreat into technology as a psychological sedative. Debilitating worry and sadness.
Health anxiety very much affected me a couple years ago in a particularly stressful time. Every pain or lump was a terminal illness in my mind. And the terminal illness reminded me of Julia’s experience, and off my mind went into the abyss of anxiety.
The start of the pandemic was similar. Every cough or tickle in my throat was COVID to my brain. I’m sure many of us have experienced this to some extent. I was able to conquer this through meditation/prayer, Writing my thoughts, and paying less attention to the news and social media. Those three actions seem to be strongly negatively correlated with my anxiety, so I’m trying to do them more.
Every year one of my goals is to write more, and it went well for the first half of 2020. But ever since I’ve been sidetracked by work, pandemic and self-doubt. I think I have too many places where my writing lives and I need to just start writing in one place – likely on this blog.
I also over-think what I should write about. I need to just start writing about whatever the heck I want. Sorry if these topics won’t interest some of you, but if I don’t make writing fun I’ll never consistently write. I’m not a professional writer who needs to earn an income by growing a huge audience. I need to focus on what my writing has always been about: working through my thoughts and having fun.
Writing is many things to me. A filter for my thoughts. A therapy session with myself. A way to stay in contact with all of you. But writing is one of the activities I feel most alive doing. Extracting thoughts from my max security prison of a mind and getting them on the page is wonderfully liberating.
The grief this past year was not as hard. As I wrote last year, the good memories of Julia are winning out over the painful ones. Praise God and thank you to my community of friends and family for getting me through the worst years of my life.
Another amazing development in my life in the past year was that I started seeing someone! Her name is Michelle and we met through her sister-in-law, who was a friend of Julia’s and mine. We had a great connection from the start. We’ve helped each other through the ups and downs of this year.
Michelle has also gone through her fair share of suffering in life and she really came alongside me as I worked through my pain and questions about how God works in tragedy. I think I did the same for her. She is incredibly kind, humble, beautiful, smart, funny, thoughtful, gracious and encouraging.
In fact, our connection has been so great that we decided to get married! We sealed the deal outdoors on a snowy February day by Lake Ontario. The snowy scenery was beautiful but still couldn’t come close to the pristine beauty of my bride.
The lockdown restrictions prevented us from having all of our family members present, but we were able to have most there, including Julia’s family. My parents drove 2 hours in a snowstorm to stand outside in the cold for the half-hour ceremony – that’s love! My father-in-law came early with me to shovel the 2 feet of snow. My brother-in-law officiated. Our pastor friend Mike came on 3 days’ notice because we needed someone with a license to marry. Julia’s parents, my mother-in-law and the rest of my in-laws helped immensely with planning/decorating/photography.
There’s a surprising amount to do for a half hour lockdown wedding. We couldn’t have done it without all the support and love from our amazing community.
Michelle is a true blessing to me and I’m so thankful that God put her in my life. Thank you to all who prayed that I would find someone. I know Julia was praying for this even as she was passing. And I know she would be more excited than anybody that I found Michelle.
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The post Reflecting on a A Year of Pandemic Life appeared first on The Anchor Blog.