Chosen, Not Rejected, Strengthened and Upheld

This morning I had a meltdown.  I keep telling myself that I am getting through the pandemic just fine.  I’m an introvert, and having all this time to myself is a good thing.  This is true, but this morning I suddenly started crying for all we have lost in the last nine months.

The catalyst of my meltdown was postponing a remodeling project.  In August we hired a person to remodel our master bath.  Just before Thanksgiving he let us know that he was ready to start on our job.  His demolition person would be at our house on December 1.

As Tom and I moved everything out of the bathroom on the evening of November 30, we realized (for the first time) that we were inviting people we didn’t know into our house.  They would be in and out for at least a week, probably two.  And we realized that having these folks working in our house went against everything we have been doing to keep ourselves and others safe during the pandemic.  I don’t know why we hadn’t connected the dots before, but we immediately, albeit last minute, sent a text to the remodeler telling him we needed to postpone the project.  Fortunately he was very understanding and said to let him know when we felt ready to proceed.

But postponing the remodeling project was like the straw that broke the camel’s back.  A relatively little thing that made the weight of the whole pandemic come crashing down around me.  And I spent some time grieving what we have lost.

I cried for the friends who have lost parents to the coronavirus.  Lost them without being able to say goodbye, without sitting at their bedside holding their hands and speaking words of love.  Burying them with a small ceremony instead of the full-blown celebration of life the parent deserved.

I grieved for the friends who haven’t been able to see their grandchildren.  One friend is a new, first-time grandmother who is making do with Facetime instead of holding that precious baby in her arms.  For grandmas and grandpas and grandchildren who can’t touch and hold each other right now.  Who can’t travel across borders to visit.

I cried because I miss being with my friends and family.  I would like nothing better than to have a big group of friends gathered around my dining room table.  Or hearing the laughter and tall tales from the extended family.  I miss hugging and holding people, comforting them as I am comforted by their physical presence.

I had a good old-fashioned pity party for not being able to attend church, especially during December.  For not eating in restaurants or going to stores.  There are so many museums in the Columbus area, so many interesting things to see.  We aren’t doing any of them that are indoors.  No going to Clifton Mill to see the lights (outdoors but too many people).  No WildLights at the Columbus Zoo.  No living history at Fort Frederica.  So many no’s, so many things we can’t or shouldn’t do.

And, in the midst of my meltdown, in the middle of my crying and grieving, I heard God’s voice.  The quiet, gentle reminder of God’s love and care.  The voice came to me through the words of Isaiah 41:9-10.

I took you from the ends of the earth,
    from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
    I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous hand.”

Chosen, strengthened, upheld.  My mantra for the day.

Thank you, God, for reminding me of your love in the midst of loneliness.  You strengthen me and hold me when I feel like giving up.  You remind me that you made me and chose me and all my times, the good and bad, are held by you.  Make my heart tender, like yours, for those who have lost so much.  Help me to reach out instead of drawing into myself in fear and selfishness.  I am your servant.  Amen.