Monday, April 13, 2020

I Don’t Want to Be Left in the Hallway

Hi everyone!
I first started writing this piece on Monday, March 16th – the day that our “New Normal” began. Never in my life had I been so happy to have a Monday show up!! We started teaching online that day to finish out the semester, and though I would miss interacting with my students and colleagues, I so welcomed this time. But life got busy, so my thoughts never made it to my site, or maybe this level of vulnerability was a much bigger step for me, so I wanted to pray about it a bit longer.

This morning I broke out another new coffee cup. I chose this one not only for the beautiful verse, but also because the words speak to all that is within me. 

Psalm 139:14 says, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” 

Notice the present tense. It doesn’t tell us we will be fearfully and wonderfully made when we reach our ideal weight. It tells us, it tells me, right now, at this very moment, I am fearfully and wonderfully made! I think it is a beautiful reminder that we need to be gentle with ourselves. I need to be gentle with myself.

The title of this piece has been weighing on my mind for several weeks, especially when we started seeing reports from Italy. When COVID-19 started having such a tremendous impact on New Orleans, which is literally just 3 ½ hours away for me, the reality of it all made me feel like I was standing at the end of a tunnel, watching a train barreling toward me, with its headlight blinding me. I know I’m not the only one in this position, so I thought I would send these thoughts out into the world. If I can help just one person, then it is worth putting myself in this vulnerable position.

The terrifying reality is that I am in my mid-50s. I have diabetes. I use a C-PAP. I am considered morbidly obese. If I get COVID-19, I would be one of the ones they leave in the hallway to save a vent for someone else. Someone who does not have the health issues that I have. For me this wakeup call could be equated to having ice water, a bucket of ice water, thrown at my face. 
How did I get here? Why did I let myself get here?

BUT. BUT. I am a “glass is half full” kind of lady. I have been calling this time my “New Normal”, and it is time that I lean into my fear and face it head on. Ironically, just 3 weeks before life turned upside down I joined Noom. I decided to try this system because of the psychology that they put within each step of the process. I am sure the creators of this program never entertained the idea that its members would have to face the stress and psychological toll of a pandemic. Isn’t it amazing how the creators of Noom may have never envisioned a time like this, but our creator saw it all along??!!

Over the years, as I leaned into my research and writing, I have discovered the why behind a lot of things in my life.

Why I made some of the relationship choices that I did.
Why I put everyone else’s needs ahead of my own.
Why I use food to deal with the stresses of life.
Why and how I got to the place that I am today.

Here I am, in the middle of a pandemic, and the thought that is a steady undercurrent in my mind,
“I don’t want to be left in the hallway”. I cannot magically correct my health concerns over night, but I don’t have to wait until this storm passes to begin working on changing my health. I don’t want my fears to become and undertow as I use this time to take my life into uncharted waters. The world may not know the girl that use to exist underneath the physical and emotional weight that I carry, but I know that she is still there. 

What is even more important is that my God knows she is still there. I feel like a caterpillar who is in her cocoon, but she knows it is time to start making her way out into the world. I have always felt that the right person would love me for me, despite the size of the clothes I wore. I still believe that person exists out there somewhere, but I now know that I don’t need to use weight and clutter to shield me from the rest of the world.
I now know that I have valuable life lessons that I need to share through my words to the rest of the world.  

I now know that red flags are great as party decorations, but should never be part of a relationship.

I now know that I don’t want to be left in the hallway because I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” and He has a lot of work for me to do.

As I keep sailing along on my journey, I will keep you posted on my progress!

Sending you a virtual hug…


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