In the previous post “Emerging from the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Process Part 1“, I walked through some questions posed to a group of us in a Zoom conducted by Dr. Lissa Rankin. She sent a follow up email with more questions to consider as we emerge from the Pandemic.
What is below is hardly original. Every religion, every social group, everyone is asking these questions or variations of them. It is important to understand that the pandemic year has changed all of us. Introverted, extroverted, self-employed or laid off, you will have been touched in some way. But do you have the resources to process all of this – to feel it, digest it, and make the most of this moment in time?
Here are some follow-up questions I will consider from the last journal guidance – I encourage you ask, consider, feel, ponder, and journal:
Is there anything I would have regretted if I did not survive this year?
I would have regretted not seeing my daughter grow. I would have regretted not seeing my cats grow and change in behavior.
If I knew I only had a month left to live, would I do anything differently?
Probably not. Because of chronic illness and my life experiences having enough close calls as it is, I tend to live each day as if I only had a month to live. The actor / director / producer Michael Landon once challenged people to consider that they are born dying and challenged people to consider how they would live if they approached life that way. I’ve had enough close calls in life that I tend not to hold back on things.
What are my priorities now? How have they changed?
My priorities are to pay off my home , take care of my rescue cats, and find what the future holds. They really haven’t changed but I would argue I am a bit more focused than I was 2 ½ years ago. I am also focusing more on proper self care, making sure I take proper breaks each week, and do not go back to being a workaholic as I was a decade go. I focus on making sure I have a sabbath each weekend. Pastor Robert Morris defines the sabbath as a day when you don’t do anything related to your vocation or your calling. (Pastor Robert Morris – Take the Day Off at Sermons.Love)
During moments of lucidity, I see that I have not ‘found my people’ yet. There have been times I thought I did but it went sideways. I have not found where I belong yet, where what I offer fits. One thing I’ve realized is that I am not cut out for the work I do. I never was. I just happened to have the capacity for it.
I’ve come to understand that in many jobs there are times you can’t do what you want and what you do is you take your marching order. The nature of that kind of work is not like you can go “my artistic integrity won’t allow me to do this because…”. I’m come to a place where I do realize some assignments are like that and I accept that as well. This is something I heard from the late David Wise, the television writer that adapted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book into a cartoon for children. Sometimes he had jobs that were just that – writing jobs. I understand that sometimes I have web jobs that are just that – web jobs.
Shark Tank Entrepreneur Mark Cuban said, “”Whatever you’re doing be the best at it, because once you’re the best at something, every door opens up, and then you learn where you can be a great entrepreneur.” (Shark Tank, Cuban, 2021). I think I am good at what I do but I am not the best at it. There is something I am the best at but I have not discovered what that is yet. Discovering it is a priority I have when my home is completely paid off and can take work without the obligation of it making the mortgage.
Am I living my life in alignment with God?
I like to believe I am but there is always a need for greater connection with the divine.
Am I contributing to making the world a world I wish to leave for our children?
If not, why not?
I like to believe that I am. I like to believe that by helping people and animals, that I am helping make the world a better place.
It’s important to start with grief or loss so you don’t bump ahead to emerging without processing and feeling the losses – whether it was people, faith in humanity, politics, friendships, graduations, jobs, financial security, or even the grief that comes from the realization of the injustices and hatred we’ve seen in the world this past year.
Taking the time to process through with the previous set of questions and then this new set allows us to consider what we want to be as the world settles and life goes on. Do we want to take a more active role in reaching the world with the Gospel? Do we want to take a more active role with our families? Do we want to take a more active role in racial injustice? How will you be changed by all of this? How will your way of engaging the world be different?
It’s important to have a safe place to process that. It’s important not just to jump into life as usual, cast away all fear, and just have faith and put on or take off your mask. You have changed. Exploring how you have changed and seeking God on the path forward are the first steps to actually stepping out and walking in this brave new world.
Dedicate that path forward to God and when you are ready, take that step.