Our 2020 Theme Book for our members is Emotional Agility by Susan David. Little did we know that it would be so appropriate for the challenges we are now facing with COVID-19. During this time, we have invited our team members to reflect on their own experiences and how the book has been a helpful resource by asking them these two questions: What are you being invited to let go of right now? What are you being invited to hold on to?
I have to admit, it’s hard for me to share what I am being invited to let go of. It feels intimate and vulnerable letting others see what may appear selfish. Here are some of the things I feel invited to let go of:
- Expectation that anyone I am near has the same level of dedication to precaution that I have.
- Judgement toward others
- Fear of the long-term outcomes of COVID-19.
- My need to go out for something on a whim; I’m asked to take a second look at the “necessity” and perhaps put up with a minor inconvenience for the sake of many others.
- My belief that I am alone in this
- My impatience/frustration at the new normal in bank drive-through lanes and grocery stores.
On the flip side of the question, I am being invited to hold onto some exciting things:
- The evidence that my adult children, though far from my protective wings, are making grounded decisions and finding their feet in their own faith development and showing responsible action.
- Joy in gathering times with them, extended family and friends via online meetings.
- Purposefully growing gratitude for God’s care for all of us. Taking the time to write down the list of things I am grateful for each morning is a wonderful diversion for me from the grim statistics and reminders of loss that are available through text or news flash.
- Any opportunity to encourage or show love that comes across my path, reminding others that they are not alone either. Often, I am blessed in return and strengthened to keep at it.
- Faith that God will use this for good and asks for my willing participation in life, even through COVID-19 struggles, as I trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding.
With those invitations, I found a resounding chord with Susan David’s words on “Choosing Willingness.” She says, “We want life to be as dazzling and painless as possible. Life, on the other hand, has a way of humbling us, and heartbreak is built into its agreement with the world. We’re young, until we’re not. We’re healthy, until we’re not. Life’s beauty is inseparable from its fragility. One of the greatest human triumphs is to choose to make room in our hearts for both the joy and pain, and to get comfortable with being uncomfortable…What we really need to do, though, is also what is most simple and obvious: nothing. That is, to just welcome these inner experiences, breathe into them and learn their contours without racing for the exits.”
Perhaps even the words uttered by Winnie the Pooh, “Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something,” are tidbits of wisdom that fall into line with the mandates to Stay Home. Being home, slowing down, the nothing things, allow a space to think and possibly redirect me toward the very best of something.