I’m sitting here at my shallow window sill, trying to keep my laptop from falling off my lap. A cold cup of coffee and a glass of water are squished between the right side of my laptop and the one notebook that holds all of the notes for my online classes. My phone is sitting face up on the notebook, and I’m ready to pounce at the slightest inclination of a “change of plans” email—or really any reason to procrastinate my fifteen page final paper. I have cleaned and organized my entire “work space” (slightly larger than usual window sill and my moms old workout bench) and finally put away the suitcases that were awaiting a trip back to Hope. That is what I need right now—a trip to hope. You read that right, little h. I need hope.
You too may be struggling to grasp any sense of normalcy or certainty in a time that feels so unresolved. For people like myself, we find comfort in certainty. We make lists, we highlight deadlines and we double check that the door is locked. We are certain that everything has a beginning and end, and will scout as much as possible to find those times. Here’s the thing: that luxury is not available to us now. For some, this could be accompanying an already rocky road of college-imposed anxiety, but for me this is completely new. Rarely do I feel anxious—unless, of course, something is out of my control—like so many things seem to be right now.
Those first few words were not meant to scare you, but in fact, quite the opposite. I am hoping that we can all find some comfort in the fact that nearly everyone in the world is feeling the same way. Yesterday I told one of my close friends that I feel like God can’t hear me over the noise of the world. Yes, I know I was thinking completely irrationally. It could be a little cabin fever or the fact that the coffee at home is WEAK. Whatever the issue, I can now think back and realize that was such a silly assumption to make. Let me assure you: GOD HEARS YOU. Are you mad at him? Tell him. Are you thankful? Let him know. You don’t have to socially distance yourself from your Creator.
During this time of solitude I have been talking to God a lot, but I have also been doing some other fun things. I hope (did you hear that? I HOPE) that you too are able to find something other than homework to fill your time. The first thing that I have been doing is crocheting. About an hour each day I sit down, turn on my favorite podcast, and crochet like a mad granny in a nursing home. Not only does it give me a sense of accomplishment, it gives me something to control. I can control my stitches; I can control how much or how little I crochet; I can control which colors I use and when I use them. There are so many variables that I can control. If you’re anything like me, you may find comfort in doing something that you can control in every possible way.
The other thing that I have been doing is making time to get outside. I live in the heart of the White Mountains. Two towns away from me lies the Appalachian Trail, and hundreds, if not thousands, of other hiking and walking trails surround my house. Here’s the issue — they’re busy. You too may be in this predicament as people from densely populated areas flock to your town attempting to outrun the virus. My best advice is to find a spot that only you or a few people know about. Maybe it’s not the prettiest trail or the longest hike, but it is yours—yours to do anything you want, even if it is just getting away from the ‘rents for a few hours.
My spot is a cabin in the woods that is owned by my friend’s family. This weekend we went there to get away but also to enjoy our God’s beautiful creation. It feels really good to interact with and rely on nature. We had to keep the woodstove stoked, cook over a fire and even manage a full night without electricity as the generator was not working. If you have the resources, I would highly recommend trying to interact with nature. Going on a walk is good, but if at all possible, make the most beautiful garden you have seen. Watching the snow is good, but if at all possible use that snow to build a snowman. Climb trees, build fires and maybe even fix up the tree house that has been out of commission for ten years.
I pray that during this time of solitude you would be able to see the beautiful things that bloom when they get the chance. Nothing lasts forever except for love. Be kind and have grace. You will come out of this better than before, and maybe the best version of yourself yet.
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