Yesterday marked my 4th straight week of being off coffee. This is from someone who loves the taste of coffee and has drunk it almost every day since I was 15 or 16.
I went off it because of my infection, coffee is bad for a sore mouth, too acidic, but I realized in the onset of headaches, energy drops, and cravings that followed that I am a little too dependent on coffee. I’m no addict, but still, I don’t love the side effects.
My mood changed too. I wake up and feel a little down most mornings, low energy, empty stomach, etc. Coffee can help jolt me into productivity, I usually work on creative stuff in the morning, and do actual work in the afternoon. Of course, needing caffiene is part of what makes that feeling, so I’ve created the problem I’m trying to solve. Who can relate?
Today, I felt better than I have in days waking up, but it’s funny how when my obdy does better, my mood tends to swing back to fighting off the blues.
I’ve noticed illness can be a distraction from other problems. Some people are forever worrying about their body, who are probably actually perfectly fine, because that’s easier than facing the fact that they are lonely, unhappy, or angry about something in their life.
Of course crippling anxiety comes with illness, for me, a lot, though I’m getting over that, but to me anxiety is an old feeling, and Im used to it. The feeling that my life has stopped, will never change, will always be this gray, drab indoor existance, that is what I prefer not to focus on, when I don’t feel well, that’s easier.
Not that I prefer feeling ill. It’s a vicious cycle.
This morning I was going to watch a movie (I bet some of you wish your mornings were so free you could watch movies on a Friday, but sometimes it just makes me feel like loser) and I was going to watch G. I. Jane (good film), but it was unavailable all of the sudden, so I selected a movie my mom recommended and I was planning on watching: “Julie and Julia.”
If you like cooking or human interest stories, I think you’ll like this film, but this post is not a review.
It’s just that the film brought some things to mind.
I dont know about you, but since quarantine really started dragging out–you know, after the first 2 weeks– I’ve had issues watching anything that reflects any of the emotions we’re all feeling. Fear, depression, a sense of purposelessness.
But converseley, watching anything about freedom, happiness, and the perfect ending also grinds my gears, it’s like its taunting me with a “You can’t have this. Your life is on a loop.”
I know I’m talking to someone here.
Basically, I’m tired of living through a screen, one way or another. But reading has had rather the same effect, it’s almost worse in a book, I get more into it emotionally. I just read “The Diary of Anne Frank” and that was a rollercoaster, but hey, being in hiding, being in lockdown, there’s a lot of similarities. Anne describes the living for the little things, the brief glimps of the outside worl through a window, or through friends coming over. The frustratation of being stuck with other people, the joy of finding solace in other people…etc.
The fear of something going horribly worng. Even if at times she felt her life wasnt worth living, she was terrified at the idea of losing it.
Yeah, it hits home, doesn’t it. At least I know Im not crazy.
I figure everyone feels the same as I do, so there’s no reason I should hide it.
I was walking down a street yesterday, and I heard some women talking very loudly, the hwole block could have practically heard it, about having troulbes in their relationships. One was, anyway, and she felt seh had no reason to have a meltdown, no reason to feel this way, she was supposed to be happy. The other woman loudly told her that the whole world has never gonet hrough anything like this, we’re all in it.
I felt both sympathetic, and like laughing at this.
On the one hand, I feel you, ladies. I really do.
On the other, its pretty narcissistic or else just ignorant, to say the whole world has never gone through something like this. Oh yes it has. This is still small compared to WWII, the Great Depression, the Communist Threat in the East and Russia. I’ve read the books, it was just like this, but worse, because we can still go out, still face-time our friends, and still lead relatively normal lives, just differently. Some of those people couldn’t trust their own family not to turn them in. Couldn’t trust they wouldn’t be shot if they left their house.
I know, there’s been rioting here in the USA, so some people don’t feel safe, but it’s not every single place in the country.
Things could be a whole lot worse. And as a Christian, I have it on authority, one day they will be. But this is not the end yet. It can’t last forever.
You know what’s strange, not a single person I know at my church has contracted the virus. I’ve not heard of one. Even their families for the most part. Fortunately, no one in my own family has got it either.
Even with the knowledge that we are relativley blessed compared to past crisis, I understand many people have lost someone, or are simply depressed because of the constant gloom.
You have my condolences if you have lost someone, but there’s not much I can say about something I haven’t gone through, so I will focus on what I can perhaps help a little with.
I honestly feel like, part of the problem is that we all have toom uch time to think, about all the things, not just that we wanted to do in the future, but that we have failed to accomplish in the past.
We’re not where we want to be, and now it feels like were not even getting there, because we’re stuck in the same place, with the same people, every single day. Week after week. Month after months, has it really been 8 months? At least for some countries, I think it’s 6 months here, soon.
Before, I could do things that distracted me from feeling like I wasn’t where I wanted to be, I thought, I’m at least working on getting there, but now it feels like that ground to a halt, not by my own choice, and I feel out of control. Hence the depression many people are feeling.
My sister says that it’s human nature, not know what will happen makes us wonder if anything is worth it, but if we knew what was coming, we’d be afraid of it because of our mortality. I guess that’s why so many myths portray finding out the future to be a fearsome thing that causes people to make really stupid decisions, which end up leading to the bad things they knew would happen, or else, ruining the good things they were told would happen.
Yet, Jesus told us the future, and said “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
Well, I’m still figurien that out.
I’m at the stage where one little dissappointment feels huge, because I have so few things to anticipate happening. I wanted to cry when I heard the next season of my favorite show would be delayed till next year.
And one good thing happening feels tenous. Like “but if this goes worng, then what?”
And, it has gone wrong. I can’t say a whole lot of good things have happened to me this year. Though my problems started before the lockdown did.
We’ve all heard that the little things are important. Like you should make your bed every day, you should brush your hair, take a walk. Cook.
And we’re like “why? Who cares?” I see it all over where anyone talks about quarantine, people aren’t showering, doing laundry, or cooking or anything. PEople thought they’d be productive, but now they are finding that if human approval was all you were ever after trying to work, and play, and such, then once it’s removed, you have no motivation.
Pays to be home-schooled your whole life and taught to love learning for its own sake, and to do work because it mattered to your God and your family, and not to earn browning points at school. My mom didn’t do grades. Now I make A’s and B’s. Guess not knowing all those years didn’t hurt me at all.
but I struggle with feeling like it’s all meaningless too.
But I had a thought today. When we do these menial tasks, as repetitive as they are, it’s kind of like an act of faith, an act of hope. We’re sort of saying, to our family, ourselves, and our God, that “I still care. This still matters. Because I believe that doing the small things leave me open to do the big things.”
I cook a meal today because I believe cooking will be important in the future. Even if it doesn’t feel like it matters now.
Even if cooking dosn’t matter, my family eating does.
Making the bed doesn’t matter that much in of itself, but doing your daily duty, it matters becaues it’s the daily things that remind us of the long term things.
C. S. Lewis got at the idea that th Present is the closest thing any of us experience to Eternity. And Eccleistates says that God has put Eternity into the hearts of man.
Christian think that heaven will be an eternal Now. All things will be happening at once, yet nothing will overlap. Something we can probably only even imagine though dreams, because time is odd in dreams.
And the every day things are important because, when you think about it, Heaven doesn’t really touch our lives at any time except in the present. We can’t live in the future, we shouldn’t live in the past.
If I try to live into even 6 days ago, I end up in a world of hurt, because I’m borrowing troulbe I already went through and going through it again.
I think this quarantine is kind of liek that. If we think about how long it’s gone on, we’re exhausted, and it feels like we’re serving out a sentance.
When Corrie Ten Boom was in soliatary confinement, she learned to make every little thing she did count. If she had a chore, she did that, if she had ants to watch, she would stop the chore and do that. She would read scripture “until the pain stopped” and it became more alive.
Funny, reading the Bible doesn’t make me feel worse. It truly is the book for the suffering person. It never minimizes suffering, but it promises a renewel of strength for those who suffer. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall laugh” (Luke 6).
The Bible also tells us to do everything we do as to Christ. I think this means what people are trying to say when they say “live in the moment.” Be fuly present.
You know what robs me of joy the most in my life is not sorrow itself, but being distracted by thinking about my problems. When I do things I ejoy, my mind will wander onto it all.
Take a second, ask yourself, how many times doing anything I liked lately hve I quantified it by a reference to the lockdown or virus?
Ive heard it from everyone “Right now we can’t do anything else but…”
“Everything’s crazy right now so I didn’t…”
“Because of quarantine I binged…”
If we were brutally honest, we’d admit we would have done or not done all those things even if quarantine hadn’t happened. It’s just a really convientednt exuse.
But here’s something I wouldn’t have done without this:
I wouldn’t have made a new friend in my ASL class probably, or not as fast.
I wouldn’t have tried as many new recipes and found out I liked being creative in cooking.
I wouldn’t have gotten to know the people at my church better from hearing their stories and seeing who was consistant enough to keep coming and trying to connect.
I maybe even will get a job because of it, fingers crossed.
And yes, I’ve spent too much time watching stuff, but I did find some new shows I liked that maybe wouldn’t have sounded as interesting without this.
I’ve read more books too.
And I’ve gotten closer to God, and my family.
Is it all good, no.
And do I still need to learn how to live in the moment. Yes.
But here’s the thing, what if we all stopped focusing on what we lost because of this, and started looking at what we gained? Or what we still have. What we can still do. And instead of measuring it by quarentine, look at it as outside of it. Something that isn’t really touched by this trial.
The Word says everything that can be shaken will be shaken until all that remains is what cannot be shaken.
So, maybe we should look at what hasn’t been shaken.
If nothing else, people will always be arguing about politics as long as free speech exists, which I hope is still for a long time. I get annoyed with it, but I’d rather have constant arguing than lose the ability to argue in public at all. Think about that.
I still get restless, and I’m sure I will again, even today. But if I’m growing closer to be able to just be present to everything here, then I am growing stronger.
In the end that’s what Anne Frank learned, and what Corrie Ten Boom learned, and what everyone who survives and thrives in these times learns. not to never be depressed, that’s impossible, but to live for the Now. Whatever the Now happens to be.
Looking ahead is good, too, that’s how we hope. But it’s good to appreciate what we already have.
Even if it’s just one or two things, that’s something. There’s some who don’t even have that.
I guess I’ll end this with a challenge, if anyone has read this far down (thank you) then how about you comment something that you gained or still have even after all that’s happened. Anything’ll do. We all need to talk more to each other about it.
Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.