Does anyone else feel like you have been on the longest roller coaster ride ever? It’s almost like I got on this ride back in March and have yet to get off. Sometimes the highs are so high and the lows are so low that I can barely hang on. All of the twists and turns along the way have me spinning in circles. It’s this roller coaster of emotions that we have been on since this whole pandemic started. Oh, and by the way, I don’t even like roller coasters! In fact, they make me sick and dizzy, and I try to avoid them at all costs. I sure am ready to get off!
You know how many roller coasters start out with a slow, steady climb upwards? That is how this whole thing started. We suddenly jumped on this ride and started to slowly make that climb. We were all in a little of bit of disbelief and denial of what was coming ahead. We kept hearing bits and pieces about this new virus on the news, but we didn’t really think it would affect us. Then schools were abruptly canceled, and people had to take off work. Maybe there would be few bumps and twists, but our initial anticipation was that this could be fun. We would enjoy a few unexpected days off of work and school and then things would get back to normal. Little did we know that we were about to reach the top and be hurdled downward.
Unfortunately, we eventually got to the top of that slow, steady climb into the sky and were teetering on the edge looking down. The fear was starting to creep in. We were about to make a huge plunge into the darkness, and the ride looked like it was going to be longer and wilder than we had ever imagined. Schools were canceled for the rest of the year. Stay at home orders were put into place. Thoughts were swarming around in our heads that this couldn’t really be happening in 2020. It couldn’t possibly be real life. We were afraid of all the things they were saying on the news. People were becoming infected at alarming rates, hospitals were filling up, and people were dying. We decided at the top that we didn’t really want to be on this ride because what lay ahead didn’t seem so fun anymore. We wanted to get off as fast as possible.
Usually when you get past that initial plunge in the ride, you get to the fun and exciting parts of the roller coaster. This is the part most people enjoy. It is when the hands come up and you are flying carefree through the sky. This Pandemic Roller Coaster was no different. Once we got over our fear and settled in to this new normal, we started to have fun. We realized that this ride, although unexpected, was one we all needed and we accepted it. It caused us to slow down and appreciate the ride. We got to spend time with our families that we typically never had. We got to take a break from the craziness of our everyday lives. We were truly enjoying the ourselves. Yes, there were some sharp curves initially with people having to figure out childcare for their kids, how to manage teleworking, and the lack of toilet paper and certain foods. However, there was so much good that was happening that was outweighing the bad initally. We were laughing and smiling in ways that we hadn’t in years. We were stepping up to help our fellow neighbors. We were exercising and spending time outside. We were doing the things we normally didn’t have time for like household projects, movie nights, games, puzzles, and more. We were having incredible drive by birthday celebrations and the community really rallied together.
It really was incredibly fun for a while, but then the ride turned upside down and sideways and that made some of us angry, some filled with anxiety, and some maybe even depressed. Balancing it all became really hard and we were overwhelmed. People started losing their jobs. The economy plunged downward. Some were worried about how they were going to put food on the table. Businesses were trying to keep from going under. Distance learning started, and parents were having to figure out how to balance work and homeschooling. Kids were struggling to keep up with their lessons. Teachers were barely keeping their heads out of the water. We were struggling to keep it all together. We started missing our old lives. We were missing things that we used to do and our friends and extended families. We were longing for things to get back to normal, but there didn’t seem to be an end in sight. We were exhausted and just wanted the ride to be over.
Then, the ride eventually slowed down. We got into the grove of it all. There started to be talk of reopening, and we started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have again been filled with a little fear, but we were excited at the same time to start to get back to whatever the new normal is going to be. Some of you are further along in this part of the ride than others. Where I live, we are still under a stay at home order and have not yet started phase 1 of reopening. Others of you are getting ready to head into phase 2 already. I am seeing social media posts of happy and relieved people who have been able to get their hair done and their nails done. I am seeing people heading back to work and businesses reopening the best they can with restrictions. I could be wrong, but it looks like this crazy roller coaster is coming to some sort of end. I’m not sure any of us will ever be the same once we get off or that we really want to be. Sometimes when you get off of a rough roller coaster, it takes you some time to feel steady on your feet. We all may be a little wobbly and dizzy at first, but I really think that we are going to land on our feet again eventually. I truly believe that this Pandemic Roller Coaster was designed by God to give us a wakeup call. No matter how long it lasts, if there are more hills to climb, or we end upside down again, I firmly believe that God has ultimate control and will lead us down the right track. We will come out stronger and better all-around on the other side. We will eventually get off this ride. My hope is that we will look back on the Pandemic Roller Coaster ride and remember all that we overcame and know that we are stronger than we ever imagined. I hope that we have learned whatever it was that God wanted to teach us. I know for me that lesson was to slow down and value the important things. I have learned to let go of the trivial things in my life. I just pray that it is a lesson that sticks! Whatever your lesson may be, I hope you find it and are better for it. I believe the end is near, my friends. Just keep that belt buckled and keep holding on for a little longer. We’ve got this!
Anchored in for the ride,