Covid has stolen my joy in so many ways this past year, but I miss traveling the most. I miss going on adventures, walking the streets of cities where I've never been, or visiting old, familiar haunts that bring me joy.
I mean, I've gone to a few places over the past several months, but nothing like before this damn pandemic. That's right. I cussed.
I got to thinking about the cost of a year's worth of stifling my restless spirit, shoving down the desire to roam, and doing everything I can to put out of my mind all the places I miss.
It did something to my soul to deny all of those feelings. I lost some of my edge, my creativity, and a whole lot of peace.
First-world problems, right? I get it. But there's a deeper lesson there that can't be overlooked--even if it is couched in bourgeois-angst.
Lots of us shoved our feelings down over and over again throughout this past year.
We shoved down our fear. We shoved down grief. We shoved down sadness, sorrow, and grief. We shoved down anger. We shoved it all down and put on our happy faces for the Zoom calls, and the Facetime video chats.
And when people asked us how we were doing, we said, "Doing good," "Just fine," "We're all okay," and other assorted platitudes. But we weren't... fine.
And when we saw our friends post all of their happy Facebook posts, and share their ski trip, camping, and hiking photos on Instagram, we felt even worse.
We wondered if there was something wrong with us, without ever thinking that maybe---all of those posts were just their way of shoving stuff down, too.
If I just described your experience, I want you to know that the reason I was able to do so is that I've felt that same way. The truth is, most of us have felt that way at some point during the past seventeen months of 2020, and more than once.
Here's to being done with that, though. Here's to picking ourselves up a bit, and then doing something novel---like letting ourselves feel all of those feelings that we've been shoving down. Here's to feeling free from being controlled by that junk.
Listen, we have to stop shoving all that stuff down, people. You see, you and I were meant to live fuller lives than the kind we've been living with all of that shoved-down stuff. That shoved-down stuff has kept us frozen in place, afraid to move, stuck...
That's not how we've been created. We have been created to feel. We have been created with the urge to grow and create, to move and live, to experience the abundance that a life lived following Jesus has to offer.
Diana Bulter Bass recently wrote in her great new book Freeing Jesus:
We live in a time of disruptions, deconstructions, and dislocations, of political chaos, climate crisis, and global pandemic. Yet we are still called to go on journeys to unexpected places, get lost, get found and continue farther down the road.
It's time to move forward again. Jesus is beckoning us to follow him. It's time to feel again. It's time to pack our gear and travel.
May it be so for you today and every day forward. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.
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