March 17, 2020, was the day our lives changed. That’s the day our school shut down, our church closed its physical doors, and I realized COVID-19 was something serious.
I found comfort through writing, instantly publishing daily blog accounts of how my daughter and I spent our days in isolation. I shared my early childhood expertise through links, activity downloads and personal reflection. Putting my words out into the world was my way of trying to do good, an attempt to help parents and caregivers navigate our “new normal.”
Nothing was normal this year. If we give the past year a grade, most would agree that it earned a big red F! An F for failure! In fact, there are several choice “f” words that come to mind when one thinks of living an entire year in a global pandemic! It certainly isn’t a year any of us would have chosen for ourselves…we didn’t see it coming.
The last 365 days have been a roller coaster of emotions. I was fearful, especially during the beginning, when there were so many unknowns. Countless nights were spent lying awake in fear; worrying about my family, mourning my pre-pandemic life, and contemplating the future. But the year wasn’t a total failure. There were bright spots amidst the darkness. As I browse my blog posts other “f” words emerge from the screen like faith, family, fun and friends. These words are proof that goodness shone through the fear.
COVID-19 took so much away (my consulting job, my music, live performances, travel, time with extended family and friends, the list goes on… But when all of those things were taken away, what was left was a true blessing and something I took for granted…quality time with my family of three. When I look back at my pandemic posts my heart fills with joy when I see the sweet memories my little family made, remember how we relished in life’s simplicities and found creative ways to do the familiar. (car parades, drive through celebrations and Zoom play dates) And with more time at home, I began studying God’s word and strengthening my faith.
The pandemic has taught me that when you have faith, family and friends, you can face uncertainty, loss and disparity and emerge resilient. You can tackle fear head on, learn from your mistakes, and strive to make the most from your circumstances. When you have faith, family and friends, you have hope. And that hope gets you through the unthinkable. It helps you survive anything, even a national pandemic. It changes you, makes you see beyond yourself and makes you better as a result.
In a year that received a failing grade, lessons were learned, lives were changed. To quote a song from one of my favorite musicals. “I have been changed, for good.” I’m not dismissing the fact that the pandemic brought great loss and incredible struggle. As you read this you may be one of the many individuals who continue to physically and mentally struggle from this unprecedented year. Please find hope and encouragement in my words and know that I’m with you. God is with you and you don’t have to walk alone.