I was describing the royal funeral procession to my husband, “Charles and Anne first, then Edward and… you know, the other brother, what’s his name? Was married to Fergie. In a sex scandal. What was his name? … Oh yeah, Andrew.”
Of course I know the names of Queen Elizabeth’s children. But my mind is very slow on the uptake these days. Feels like I’m slogging through mud sometimes. And please don’t ask me what time it is. Or what I accomplished yesterday. For the past 15 months all the days have looked very much like each other. So much so, that each morning I set my phone alarm to go off all day just before each zoom meeting, appointment, or as a reminder that it is a day I work outside the home and I need to run to the car.
Tensions are running high everywhere – at home, at work, all over the country. People are snapping, and then doing radical things that make no sense at all. Things we would never do if it weren’t for the fact that we have been living through a pandemic.
One writer recently confessed, “I feel like I’m in quicksand. I’m just so exhausted all the time. I’m doing so much less than I normally do – I’m not traveling. I’m not entertaining. I’m just sitting in front of my computer – but I’m accomplishing way less. It’s like a whole new math. I have more time and fewer obligations, yet I’m getting so much less done.”
Collectively, our world has hit a wall – all at the same time.
“Hitting a wall” is running terminology. In a marathon it usually happens about the 20th mile when the runner feels she cannot go any further. Experts say this is part physiological and part psychological. And though she only has six miles to the finish, the temptation to give up is strong. But the reward in finishing is usually greater.
Do you sometimes feel like you cannot keep putting one foot in front of the other? Perhaps part of the problem is that we don’t know how far ahead the “finish line” is. No one can tell us when or if “normal” will ever return again.
Uncertainty and stress are usually managed in small doses, but over time they begin to affect our resilience. No wonder we feel the impact in our bodies, minds, and souls.
One psychiatrist who specializes in the brain says, “The longevity of the pandemic – endless monotony laced with acute anxiety – have contributed to a sense that time was moving differently, as if this past year were a long, hazy, exhausting experience lasting forever and no time at all. The stress and tedium have dulled our ability to form meaningful new memories.” (NewYorkTimes2021/04/03)
I’m an extrovert who loves people. In fact, every time someone asks me what I’m most looking forward to as the world begins to open up, I reply that being with people will be a great joy. And yet, after being isolated for so long, I’m finding that re-entry has its own set of challenges. Recently I was thrilled to speak at an event in person and interact with people eager to embrace encouragement from God’s Word. My heart was so full and grateful. But afterwards I was physically and emotionally exhausted from being in a crowd. Such mixed emotions struggle inside us and fight to win the day.
I know that God’s strength will continue to fill me as He opens more and more doors for me to walk through face-to-face with extended family (soon!), my community, and audiences that I am privileged to embrace. In my prayer journal is a postcard someone gave me (was it you? I don’t remember) and I pasted it in. “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.” 2 Timothy 4.17
Right about now you may be wondering, What is the point of this blog? Good question. See, even my writing can ramble these days…
I guess my point is to affirm you if you have hit a wall lately.
A recent health survey found that 41% of Americans showed some symptom of an anxiety disorder or a depressive disorder in this new-year-that-was-supposed-to-be-better. (WashingtonPost2021/02/09)
If you lost your keys or cellphone (for the zillionth time), lost your temper, lost your desire to get out of pajamas and into pants with a waistband, lost your creativity in your work, lost your interest in looking forward to the incredible gift of life each day…. then, dear friend, keep calm. And carry on. You are not alone. And neither am I.
When you hit a wall, call out and God will give you soul strength. Take a deep breath. Take a walk. Take a nap.
“I give thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise… On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.” Psalm 138.1,3
May the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the friendship of the Holy Spirit bring you comfort and strength, Lucinda
“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity and Strength”
©2021 Lucinda Secrest McDowell www.LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com
Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” She has authored 15 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” and “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most.” She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouraging words at LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com