I woke up with my alarm and felt grumpy. It didn't feel like Easter.
I walked into the kitchen and saw my younger girls in the sunroom under their blanket fort they created last night. The smallest was excited to check out her Easter basket and found bubbles, markers, candy, and hand soap.
I don't know if you've heard, but we're in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic situation, y'all. Pickings are slim and even when bunnies order things two weeks in advance to avoid an actual visit to the store, basket fillers are delayed.
I pulled out a bowl and whisked the muffin mix and dropped measured spoonfuls on the tin. I felt something a lot like grief gnawing at my insides. A mixture of pain and sadness and wistful thinking and feeling a little sorry for myself.
It felt like someone had died and I was taken by surprise how strong my feelings were. I put the muffins in the oven and set the timer. I fixed a cup of coffee and scrolled social media and saw a lot of posts about Easter and the happy sentiments weren't helping my mood.
Once the muffins were done, I went to take a shower and tried to get myself together. It occurred to me that I was more sad about missing things other than our risen Savior. I'm such a brat. I brushed my teeth and finally the big sobs came out. I was finally able to identify my feelings:
Loss of familiar. Loss of routine. Loss of connections with family and friends. Loss of expectations. Loss of certainty. Loss of projects. Loss of some hopes and dreams and plans. Loss of connections and making memories. Loss of motivation. Loss of direction. Loss of an anticipated trip. Possible loss of of a camp season. Loss of things I wanted to do.
We "went" to church and I was so sad to not be in the building with our church family. We were asked to dress up for church this morning for our online service, but I just couldn't do it today. I wanted a family photo in front of the photo drop in the church lobby. I wanted the routine of sitting on our friends' couch and discussing all the big and small and hard and regular things with them. I wanted to hear the cackling laughter of our girls with their friends. I wanted to pack my bags so I could drive to my parents' house like we do each Easter. I wanted to visit with my family and not in parked cars six feet away from each other in the Kohl's parking lot like we had to do yesterday.
Up until this pandemic, I recognize that I've been pretty fortunate to have never really endured an unexpected trial that lasted more than a short while. I've attended funerals. I've dealt with the loss of relationships. I've moved, changed jobs, and worried about paying bills. But I never expected to give up my freedom to go into stores or travel, to avoid getting together with family and friends, nor worry about being able to find toilet paper and bread. I'm a middle-class American who has a steady job, goes to church, votes in elections, doesn't litter, follows the rules, exercises, and tries to be the best person I can be each day. This is not what I signed up for!
Everything I once held dear, I count it all as loss.
My life is not the same right now--but isn't that the message of Easter? Dying to our old selves and finding new purpose in Christ? Recognizing the things that we chase and spend our time on are nothing compared to our freedom in His forgiveness and mercy? The things we work to provide ourselves with comfort and security can be taken away in an instant? We have created this wonderfully meaningless life and have been forced by this pandemic to examine what brings us happiness and contentment. It should always be Jesus, but maybe this time is His way of reminding me of how distracted I've become in certain areas of my life? Perhaps this time is painful because we're stripping away a lot of stuff that we thought made our lives sparkly and it's reminding us that joy starts with Him? It's hard to lose tangible objects and ideas and plans, but it's even harder to peel the layers of junk we've accumulated in our souls all these years. It is especially difficult when some areas have been covered up so many times we don't actually remember what was there to begin with--and we might not like it when we finally uncover the truth.
Lead me, lead me to the cross.
Now, before someone begins to attack, please know that I'm well aware how blessed we are--we are healthy, fine, and able to support ourselves. We have food, we have toilet paper, and we are safe. We are doing our part to flatten the curve, and I want to protect our most vulnerable as much as you do. But there's always a cost, and there are big feelings involved in a national crisis.
Let's give everyone (including ourselves) a little extra grace and love these days, ok?