In light of recent events in the world, I feel a strong urge to speak up. It is time for us to use our voices and come together to find solutions. We are currently facing a pandemic that it sweeping across the world, bringing everything to a halt. It is affecting the economy, shutting down schools, stopping social gatherings, causing people to lose their jobs, creating panic and fear, and disrupting our daily routines. You can feel the anxiety and fear in the air.
But in the midst of all of the chaos, there is also a renewed sense of vision. A clarity of mind that comes when life takes a drastic shift and we have to re-adjust and ask ourselves the hard questions. We are waking up to the problems in our society that need addressing. We are waking up to the problems and conflict within our own homes. We are taking an introspective look at our lives and asking ourselves if we are truly living in harmony with our life’s purpose and goals.
Here are some questions I have been asking myself recently:
Am I taking care of my physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional health? Am I focusing on the things that matter most? Are my relationships healthy and strong? Am I simply reacting to external events or am I choosing to be proactive and intentional? How am I spending my time and energy? What is my life’s focus? Am I living life in a selfish manner, or am I helping others? What do I have to offer and how can I make a difference? How can I use my unique gifts to serve and lift those around me? How can we as a nation help build and create stronger communities that are ready to face times of crisis and change?
Several years ago, I decided to ditch the idea of making a long list of New Year’s resolutions. I felt that I needed to simplify my approach. I decided instead to choose ONE focus or theme that I would work on that year. This year, as I contemplated my life and where I wanted to improve, the word that came to my mind was “Vision”. As I wrote my new focus down in my planner, I laughed out loud as I made the connection. “2020 Vision”. It was perfect! I didn’t quite know what that meant at the time. I just knew that I wanted to look ahead and work to create the life that I envisioned. I wanted to have a clearer vision of who I was and be more intentional about the way I spent my time.
On Wednesday, we had quite the wake up call at our house–literally! I woke up at 7:00am. I stayed in bed, not wanting to get up yet. At 7:09am, I heard a loud rumbling sound. My bed started shaking. I realized with sudden clarity that the whole house was shaking and shifting–earthquake!! My heart started racing and I felt a rush of adrenaline. I didn’t care about the crashes I heard as things fell off of shelves. My main concern was my children. I bet they were terrified! I waited until the shaking stopped, then raced up the stairs, calling out to them. “It’s ok, it’s ok! Do you know what that was? Are you guys ok?!” I shouted as I ran. My girls stumbled out of their rooms, looking confused and a little scared. My son confidently stated, “that was an earthquake”. He didn’t seem shaken up at all! I was still trembling! I had expected my kids to freak out more than they did. I was glad everyone was ok. We were safe! But part of me worried–would there be more shaking? Was that it, or was there more to come?
We sat in the hallway outside of their bedrooms while I called my husband, checked the news, and texted my family and friends to check on them. My husband had been at work, on the 4th floor of his building. He hid under his desk as the whole building seemed to sway. As soon as it was over, he quickly exited the building. “I’m on my way home!” he said.
We soon learned that we had experienced a 5.7 magnitude earthquake. We live pretty close to the epicenter in Magna, UT, which is why we felt it so strongly! Throughout the rest of the day, we continued to feel aftershocks. It was unnerving! My fight-or-flight response had me on constant alert. My anxiety levels were at an all-time high. First a pandemic, then this?! What was next?!
But then, with sudden clarity, I started to count my blessings. I was glad it happened at the time it did. The kids and I were home and we were together. Because of the pandemic, ALL of the children in our neighborhood were home instead of at school! What a blessing! Our shelves were well-stocked with food because we were basically in a 2 week quarantine. We didn’t have to go out today–we could just stay home. The day before, my car wouldn’t start. A friend had to come and help me jump it. I was able to drive to the school, pick up chrome books for the kids (so they could do their school work at home), and stop by Auto Zone to buy a new car battery. If we needed to go anywhere today, our van was ready to go! And the kids had something to keep them busy, which was a blessing because I simply couldn’t focus on our regular home routine.
Getting through this time won’t be easy, but I have already seen hidden blessings in the midst of the storm. These times will require us to step up, make changes, and work to create a better future. Yes, it has shaken me to the core. But sometimes, that is a good thing. I am more “awake” and aware. It made me want to reach out to my neighbors. It has encouraged me to connect with family and keep those family bonds strong. It has helped me to notice things at home that I was ignoring–things that need “fixing”. It has brought our family together. Having church and school at home, as a family, is helping us to focus on what is most important. It is pushing us as parents to step up and take responsibility for what we are teaching (and modeling to) our children. I know that you might disagree, but I can’t help but feel that these things will change us, in good ways. I still feel hope for the future. I am seeing humanity come together in a common purpose. We are finding our footing and gathering the courage to move forward in tumultuous times. Take courage! Be strong. Step up and help to create a better future and stronger families and communities. We are all needed. We all have something to contribute. There is hope as long as there is love and goodness in the world. Start looking for the good, and you will find it!