We’re coming up on a year. One year since the pandemic started, one year since stay-at-home orders were issued, one year since the beginning of the craziness. I think we can all agree that the past twelve months were anything but “typical.”
If I’m going to be honest with you, I am not excited for the month of March. It’s just countless emotional reminders of what happened last year. I’d be willing to bet that many of you are feeling the same way.
But, as much as I want to, I have had to learn that I cannot pause, turn back, or change time. I wish I could do it for my life, and I would love to do it for yours. But I can’t.
I’m sure we all have certain dates that are now engraved into our minds. 2020 has left me with quite a few of them: February 15, June 1, and September 17, to name a few.
But, of all of those painful dates, Monday, March 16, is by far the most difficult one for me personally. In my journal, I have described it as being “my personal day of infamy.”
So much happened to me on that day, but one thing stands apart from the others. March 16 was my last day at school for the rest of that year. Of course, I didn’t know it at the time, and I actually remember saying “see you tomorrow” to one or two of my friends and teachers.
I clearly remember that evening as though it were yesterday. It was about 6:30, and I was sitting on the couch, checking my email on my phone and about to start reading a novel. As I turned off my phone and put it down, I looked over at my dad, who was also on his phone. Two minutes later, he said my name, rather casually, and said, “Anna, you’re not going back to school tomorrow.”
He explained that the school had decided that, in light of the government’s recent guidelines, all learning would be done online until further notice. We all knew that COVID-19 was probably going to cause us to have to switch to online learning. But no one expected it to happen like that.
I’m sure you have a memory like that as well. Yours may have been when your county issued a mask mandate. Or it may have been watching President Trump come on TV and announce that COVID-19 has officially become an international pandemic. Whatever your “date of infamy” is, I know it’s not easy.
But even if it isn’t easy, have you considered that maybe it is still worth it? I have struggled so much with this concept. Only through time and hours and hours of prayer has God shown me his hand through it all.
Has God Ever Left?
He’s been here through it all, hasn’t he? Yes, at times, he feels distant. But, for me at least, in those times, he seems to send me little reminders of his love. A friend texting me a Bible verse at the most obscure hour, or the exact song I needed to hear coming on the radio, or even just my sister buying me Chick-fil-A. My mom likes to call them “love notes from God.”
What if there is something bigger than ourselves?
I have found that many times, the people who have encouraged and helped me most through my struggles are those who can relate to what those struggles are like. To understand and relate, they have had to experience something similar. Similar trials, similar pain, similar emotions.
So, with that in mind, what if part of the reason God lets us go through these things is so we can then help others later on (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)? My desire is that all of the pain I have experienced would one day be used to help others through the trials they may experience in their lives.
Life is filled with good times and memories, but it is also guaranteed to throw some curveballs at you, as well. I’ve seen my fair share of them, and I’m sure you have, too. It’s not always easy, I know. And sometimes, it’s all I can do to just “grit my teeth and bear it.” But, as I have been reminded time and again, my burden is not meant to be carried alone. Christ is familiar with our pain. Even on those “days of infamy,” he is still with us.
Hold on, dear friend. Know that the struggles are not worthless. And remember that “all things will work together for good” (Romans 8:28).