I have really laboured over trying to write this latest blog. Initially for the fact that I have been so preoccupied juggling three jobs which had all landed on my doorstep at the same time. And then, in the space between starting the first draft and now – three weeks later – the world has changed so dramatically that it is really staggering to look back and note how planet earth, and everyone upon it, has been impacted by a viral outbreak that has already claimed so many lives and has the world economy on the brink of collapse.
Part of me wishes we could all go back to Christmastime and start again. I’m sure I’m not the only one but, of course, reality is a very different thing. It’s how we each move through all this, individually and as a community, which will reveal many things and, I believe, establish the foundations for a very different society – both now and in the months and years to come.
Personally I’m approaching the whole thing with a degree of fatigue which I’m trying very hard to overcome, harnessing all that I can within me to understand what is happening in the world and to navigate the most sensible, embracing and spiritual way forward possible. And so too I am standing and observing the actions and reactions of many around me … some who are demonstrating grace and consideration, some panic and others sheer self-preservation to their own detriment and the dismissal of others.
These are indeed sobering times and all I can pray is that universally each individual stops and comes to that point of understanding that this is much more than just a viral outbreak. It’s a dramatic shift in the existence of man, as foretold centuries ago and reaffirmed time and again throughout the ages. It is how we travel this journey here and now that will decide for each of us where we go from here – ‘on earth as it is in heaven’.
The other day I put aside all that otherwise demands my time and committed myself to putting more effort into my regular Instagram postings. Many times I have talked about the ‘anointing’ that comes when I am called to write and obediently respond. When that small still voice says “it’s time to write again” I find it only becomes a very large shout the more I avoid doing so!
And thus I sat to pen new ‘musings’ and the words came. One of the first things I wrote was loaded to Instagram earlier this week. The words, I can assure you, are not only mine as my head and heart were guided by a much higher power. They were:
“When fear rises, faith sounds the battle cry! When distress gathers like clouds before a storm, belief is the only true refuge of safety and hope.”
These are indeed the hours and days where we each need the faith to walk through all that is happening; the courage to face each blow and onslaught (especially in the context of the constant and continual stream of negative information we are endlessly barraged with from every communication source); the drive to search, reason and understand; and the belief and hope that we will individually and corporately come through this … better, wiser, stronger. I do believe so vehemently that this is a time we have been given in human history to re-focus – to go back and examine the very basics of our existence, to determine who and what is important to us, and to make decisions about what we believe and where we are going.
Whatever is ahead I don’t know exactly. What is here and now, and what has been before provides foundation stones for the steps to go forward. And in the midst of it all we each need to live day to day, as well and as normally as we can. It’s biblical … read it!
Thus it’s important to keep pressing onward. For me personally this means juggling time between professional appointments and not letting the despair and confusion that comes in the context of this viral onslaught creep in and take hold. My ongoing position as Media Coordinator of a local publishing company is busy and fulfilling. My current contract with a southern University to produce a massive research report on State-Government statutory boards is time sensitive and presently all consuming because of tight timelines. And to top it off I have just finished a stint at the national Gift and Homewares Trade Fairs in Sydney where I worked for one of the nation’s biggest Christmas wholesalers, doing both merchandising work and selling during the course of a week living in the big smoke and riding the wave of wholesale/retail frenzy.
Although I was already heavily committed to the first two aforementioned professional pursuits, how could I refuse being part of the Trade Fair world, especially when the marvellous wholesaler who asked me to ‘come help’ deals exclusively in the magical world of all things Christmas? Anyone who knows me understands that there was no way I could refuse. It was a wonderful experience that now, some three weeks later and a changed world, seems like a lifetime ago!
Indeed it’s ‘back to reality’ as the pressure of meeting publishing and research deadlines has me working around the clock. Thus a major contributing factor to my ‘temporary hiatus’ from sharing here and updating the blog. Plus there has been the battle to make sense of a changed world as I search for answers and diligently deal with family and friends who have not hesitated to dive headlong into the ‘pool of despair’ without turning minds and hearts heavenward to find comfort and context, reason and refuge.
Indeed, now it’s time to process, to rationalise and make sense. It’s one of those times when the Good Lord pounds on my heart and brain and says “do it now”. It’s time to once again write, and so here I am!!!
The other morning my dearest cousin sent me a passage of inspiration to start the day. She doesn’t do it all the time, but often she will get out her Daily Devotional and discover something so pertinent to us both that she can’t help but send it on as a means of sharing, encouraging and affirming. It is also a demonstration to me that there are dear hearts ‘out there’ who really get me and understand the journey, in exactly the same measure that I hear and understand them and their journey from the past into the here and now as we each support, inspire and embolden one another along the way.
The words ‘Cuz’ shared certainly hit the spot as they spoke of a divine reassurance that when, in the midst of fatigue and weakness, we always have somewhere to turn … a heavenly power to draw on to keep going on our way. Whenever we feel inadequate for the task at hand and think that our resources are limited – or we focus on how depleted we might feel – there is a greater source of support that we can draw on … if only we choose to do so. If we trust, we don’t have to be shackled by limitations and can always have the energy to move forward.
Sure, we may not reach our goal as we would wish or perceive. There may be delays and a detour or two. But these are the things that really cause us to draw on our faith and trust in a higher power. And then, when we do reach our goals and can look back with the wisdom of hindsight, we should always do that one thing that we communally tend not to do enough of … remember!
I’ve really been fixated with the word ‘remember’ of late. It’s as if it has been written on the tablet of my heart since the start of this new year and every day there are moments I am pulled up to recount, to be confronted by things of the past, to forgive again, to smile, to feel the melancholy of a loss or the joy of an encounter … and to keep going!
There is such power in remembering – for our good and, dangerously, for our detriment as well. If we focus on all the good and all the positive that we have been through, we reaffirm that fact deep within ourselves that we have been loved, we have learnt and survived, and we have the experience and wisdom to keep moving forward … stronger for all we have been through and courageous for all there is to come.
But if we focus on the same happenings with a negative mindset and see them as destructive then there is no positive thing to be achieved from looking back … only more of an adverse, damaging position in the here and now.
So in this season, more than ever, it’s time to look back with fondness, processing all the things that have happened and all that we have each been through, determined to see them in a positive light, acknowledging how they have moulded and shaped us for good. There is no point living again the old hurts and focusing on the old scars. There is only good to be had if we reflect on our past journey as a wonderful adventure of learning that has brought us to where we are now and has shaped us to be who we are.
There is such power in accepting the things that have happened – and cannot be changed – and embracing the courage to change the things that we can for the future, and to see the world in this way and no other!
Maybe because it’s a new year, and indeed a whole new century, that I have been brought to this point of ‘refocusing’ … and consciously determining to be grateful for all the joys and pitfalls of the journey thus far and all those who have walked with me for a moment, a mile, a lifetime. And with steely determination it’s a new year to make decisions about how to walk forward and with whom! I’ve come to the realisation – finally – that it’s OK to make choices about what I do and with whom for the journey ahead. And most importantly, especially in the midst of these dynamic days, I have been brought to that place where I understand that it is the past positive experiences and knowledge of surviving ‘storm and tempest’ that have shaped how I will cope with right here and now, and the days ahead.
And this is certainly not a unique experience. It’s something for all to embrace. Everyone can remember what they have overcome; be grateful for the experiences and those who have shared them; recount again those acts of love and kindness that have touched the heart and re-enact them again in this present time; be kind and considerate; be vigilant in the pursuit of understanding, the embracing of wisdom and seeing ‘now’ in the context of the past and the future; and most importantly … to listen to that small still voice as it gets louder and louder as it calls each of us to remember as we go forward from here.