The Day The Carousel Stopped

Where were you when coronavirus stopped the world in its tracks?

Not physically … but where were you mentally?

I was depleted. The day before the virus came to our city, I crashed. It was the beginning of our spring break, and I had hit a wall. As an extroverted introvert, people would rarely ever guess that simply being around other people empties me, but it does. I had spent this year overcommitting, just barely able to give any of my commitments even a decent version of myself, let alone the version I desired to give them. I felt as if I had failed everyone and everything; I was numb to my core, and I cried, begging God to give me rest. Can you guess what happened next?

It. All. Stopped.

We were ordered within the week to shelter-in-place, and everything that had left my brain spinning and my soul aching just vanished. That’s when I realized that none of it was real. I had no real stress in my life, no real problems. I had orchestrated my own perfect storm, created my own misery, and there was absolutely no reason for it other than looking for value in the wrong places.

When the frantic carousel of my fabricated busyness, unnecessary responsibilities and insecurities came to a crashing halt due to coronavirus, I was left with what is real and true: my God, my family, my intuition. I rediscovered writing. I cuddled with my children more. I painted things and cooked and worked with my hands. I noticed spring in all its glory for the first time in years. I woke up.

I realize that not everyone has had the privilege of getting to spend time with their families during this, and I know that our journey through this pandemic is far from over. But my personal experience the past few months has opened my eyes and reminded me to be grateful and joyful for this life.

I pray that my family remains safe and well and that we have a vaccine soon. But in that same prayer, I ask God to never let me forget. I don’t want things to return to “normal” or the way they were before. Instead, I want the world to be better for having gone through something like this. I want these times to remind us all of just how delicate our lives are and to live them accordingly.

The greatest sadness would be to have learned nothing from this, from all of this death and sacrifice … to return to mind-numbing routines and the aimless spinning of the carousel. There is no destination for that life’s journey, just the marking of days off of the calendar. I want more from this life … and I hope you do, too.