Back in February, just a few short months ago, my sister and I laughed about the number of masks I owned, and the number of rolls of toilet paper we transported from one place to another. I moved just 12 miles north of the home I’d lived in for 22 years. We laughed and said something about how years from now, the generations behind us will know we lived through the pandemic by the things we collected, just like we could tell our grandparents had lived through the depression.
A work friend recently said to me that she’d love to get a room full of healthcare workers just to share our stories of what we’ve seen, because we all just “get” each other like no one else. I know that everyone experienced COVID, whether you were in the healthcare field or not, and I know we will tell the stories of what we’ve lived through for years to come. It seems that, for me, the more time that goes by, the more I learn, and continue to learn from the past 1+ years. At least – I hope I’ve learned something!
Proverbs 16:9 says that we can make all the plans we want – but it’s God who determines whether or not those plans pan out!
Last year, I thought that I had another 5 years or so working in ICU. MY plan was to retire at that time, and find another less physically demanding job. Then, COVID.
I also thought that in the fall, I might take a trip with a friend to Italy. Then, COVID.
I thought I was going to live in my condo until I died. Then, COVID.
You get the point.
I know that I’m told to hold onto my plans loosely, but I know that a lot better now than I did a year ago because in the 12 months, nothing has gone like I HAD PLANNED. But God…
Despite literally swimming in COVID, I never got sick – because God…
I was injured, but I was spared the extra months of COVID nursing for awhile – because God…. And, I got the summer off to recover from an injury that required surgery, got to know several new friends who came to my rescue while God humbled me and showed me how to accept help. (I can be sinfully independent).
I didn’t get to keep my home of 22 years, but I now own a cute little new condo with an enormous porch that overlooks grass and trees, and I have bunnies that visit me every evening – because God… It’s private and quiet and relaxing – what a gift!
I didn’t get to work another 5 years at the hospital, but I have a new job as a home hospice nurse which is not only much, much less physical – I meet the neatest people who teach me every day how to live. I go to work when the sun is up, and I’m home before it goes down – even in the winter months! – Because God…
I experienced a tremendous amount of sadness over the past year, but I get to tell people stories of the goodness and generosity and kindness I not only witnessed, but was the recipient of for many months – because God…
I had to find a new job, but I’ve been given the opportunities to see COVID and the effects on people, and families, and relationships from all different perspectives instead of just inside the four walls of the hospital setting – because God…
I spent a few months on the couch unable to walk, with not much to do but think, but I’ve forgiven some people, and asked forgiveness from some others – because God… I don’t know if I would have ever gotten around to that, had it not been for COVID, and a few of my closest relationships have grown even closer.
I could go on and on…. God definitely has had my attention.
It’s difficult for me to respond when people claim nothing good has come from COVID. Don’t get me wrong – I would not want to experience another pandemic, and I’m as tired of wearing masks as everyone else, but I miss the days when the community was united, and people were selfless, generous, thoughtful, loving, and kind. For me – it made it all worthwhile, (as odd as that may sound).
We choose our perspectives.
My move into a new home was hard. I miss my neighbors, I miss my closet space, my finished basement, my kitchen, the constant coming and going of friends, and being geographically close to those I’m closest to.
… continues to keep my kitchen table once scored from the garbage a decade ago as the centerpiece of my new home. I’ve already got too many stories involving that table to list right here – a weekly Wednesday breakfast with my close friends that I always look forward to, and most recently sharing the table with my new friend William and his grandchildren, where we shared pretty yellow cupcakes and read a story about God’s grace.
I just know my friend Jerry is up in heaven laughing, telling me, “I told you to buckle that seatbelt!” I wouldn’t wish COVID on my worse enemy, but I’ve seen God more clearly than I ever have before, and it’s for that reason that I wouldn’t trade this past year and a half for anything – not even a trip to Italy.
His plans are always, always better than mine…
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9