COVID killed my life

COVID has killed a lot of things.

Hear me out. There is a light at the end of this tunnel.

COVID has killed a lot of things.

Hear me out. I promise there is a light at the end of this tunnel.

Of course, COVID has killed almost 200,000 Americans. The level of life that has been lost is unparalleled to anything I’ve experienced. This virus has also killed jobs and industries. I drove by our movie theater last night to see it totally shuttered. I’m not sure how many restaurants will not make it out of this pandemic, but I’m guessing it’s a lot. COVID killed off relationships and school ties. It’s hard to calculate the greater risk. Do I see an old relative and risk spreading an illness? Or do I wait and wonder if it’s my last chance to see them?

COVID kills. But what if COVID also helped kill things in a good way?

Before COVID I let my stress levels get high from taking on too much responsibility. I was so busy, and it kind of sucked. I would come home and dread seeing my family because my emotional energy was depleted from meaningless tasks.

Before COVID I didn’t love the mother I was. I wanted to look at Carly and feel joy, but I didn’t feel anything. I hated how much I didn’t feel anything.

Thankfully, COVID killed the excess things I did not know I did not need.

You can’t be stressed out from volunteering when you can’t volunteer. You can’t be stressed out from too many meetings, when there are no meetings to attend.

After COVID hit, I spent less time on tasks that were not fulfilling my soul or helping my family. I spent more time surrounded by my daughters and my husband. For the first few weeks I felt utterly trapped. But as time went on and the quarantine continued to stretch, a new light flickered inside me.

Thanks to COVID (and 25 mg of Zoloft) I started feeling rested again. Renewed joy sparked inside of me. Instead of feeling stressed out all the time I felt relaxed. I hadn’t felt relaxed – honestly – ever in my entire life. My husband told me he has never seen me like this, and I’m certain he hasn’t.

When I had no choice but to stop taking on excess responsibility I was finally free from the things that I let weigh me down.

Of course I realize my privilege here. I’m privileged to be able to work remotely and have childcare available. I’m privileged to have a spouse who splits our household division flavor. Our family stress has waned while I’m certain there are many who are under much greater duress.

And don’t get me wrong. My anxiety over being pregnant and potentially getting COVID was remarkably high. But what pregnant woman/new mom wouldn’t be a little more stressed out right now?

My maternity leave ended, and I went back to work this week. I’m working with my husband and my therapist to make sure I keep my stress levels down. For the first time in my career I’ve started taking breaks. I work for a while, actually take lunches, and stop to pick up the girls and cuddle them for a few minutes. Then I go back to remote work.

Life has forever changed for us. I don’t know what a new normal will be, and I don’t think our old ways will ever return. How do you live through a pandemic and come out unchanged?

For all of the negatives this virus has brought us, it is not without many positives. I can see many lights shining in this darkness. Like Noah’s raven I can see the water starting to recede.

COVID killed my life, and there isn’t a day that goes by I’m not thankful for it. I have emerged from this renewed, refreshed, and reborn. The drowning waters have subsided, and my life is beginning anew.

On what I’ve learned from my friends…

Last week I was talking to someone about the election. Yeah – my mistake.

Half way through the conversation the person said, “I don’t know how anyone could vote for candidate _____.” The person then went on to say, “Any people I know that support _____, I am no longer friends with. I got rid of those people.

We are all entitled to form with relationships with any people we please. But the idea of quickly throwing someone away over a political disagreement makes me feel sad.

So I wanted to shift the conversation away from differences, and focus on something positive: what the amazing people in my life have taught me. I thought of all of the incredible people I’ve had the privilege of meeting, and then I thought about what I learned from our friendship. To the people in my life – I love you. Thanks for helping me become a better person.

Without further ado, here are the lessons I’ve learned from my friends.

Alex Cash – Think about everything. Question everything. Remain open-minded.

Alexa Zimmerman – By the time she is age five, your niece can easily become a better person than you may be.

Amy Gafjken – While it’s tempting to correct people when they’re wrong, sometimes it’s better to remain silent.

Ashley Woods – Life is full of so much joy, so grab all of that each moment you can.

Barry Schmidt – Read the news, watch the news, and listen to the news. Just be informed.

Ben Klomsten – Don’t break the rules, find ways to make them bend.

Ben Vance – When the chips are down for a friend, be the person that calls to pick that person up.

Brian Goins – The most talented people need not brag, because their confidence comes from what they can do.

Brandy DeLeo – Be kind as long as you can. If being kind doesn’t work – just shrug it off.

Bri Campo – Great friends are sacrificial.

Bri Fox – Advocate for yourself. Speak up for your needs. And never be scared to ask a good friend for help.

Cassi Hodgson – Any moment can become a silly moment.

Chris Cooper – You don’t have to put up with a shitty spouse. A good person will treat you well.

Courtney Kruse – Don’t rush through life. Take moments to do fun and silly things.

 Danielle Dobies – Share your challenges with people – it helps them understand that life can be difficult.

Dan Kruse – Some people were born to give clear, concise directions.

Darrin Matthew Voris – Be the person that brings people together.

Del Belcher IV – Be kind to people. Try new things. Spend money on things you love.

Drew VanTongeren – Find ways to turn negative conversation into something productive.

Frances Gibbs – Don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never done before.

Gary Miles – Energetic children are a thing of joy, and their adventures should be shared on Facebook.

Gloria Klomsten – It doesn’t take anything away from yourself to compliment a stranger.

Guy McHendry – You really can have amazing discourse on Facebook, if the person leading knows what they’re doing.

Haley Mulroney – The first person you love more than yourself will likely be your niece.

Heidi Rhodes – The greatest joy in life comes from being with your friends.

Jack Campo – When you’re at work, give people your best. Help them. Serve them.

Jason Zimmerman – When giving people gifts, go all out.

Jessica Pierce – Children are amazing, and we need to do everything we can to understand them.

Jill Shaffer (I could probably devote a few blogs to how much I learned from Jill) – Before you speak, take a deep breath and think about what you’re going to say.

John Voelz – Be yourself. Always.

Jolene Schatzinger – You really can be kind to everyone.

Julia Belcher – Speak with everyone. Listen to them.

Justen Rhodes – Don’t just talk about helping people. Actually help people.

Karysa Trombley – Be boldly confident in the person that God made you to be.

Kelly Heath – You can be a busy and active mother, and raise outstanding children.

Mary Sterrett – Arrogance doesn’t look good on people. You can simply exist as an amazing person.

Mandy Stutenberg – Women can do anything and everything. And they can do it with unparalleled strength and grace.

Megin Worsham – Just because someone is quiet, doesn’t mean they aren’t the wisest person in the room.

Melissa Rickert – People are attracted to the person that gives them a kind smile.

Nancy Belcher – Diplomacy is learned over time, through interactions with people different than yourself.

Nicholas Quade – You don’t have to agree about everything (or even anything) in order to be friends with someone.

Paul Health – Be kind to your children, and make sure they always help the Sunday school teacher pick up a mess.

Renee Guerrero – Be passionate about what you believe in.

Robert Huschka – A good leader is willing to listen to anyone in the room.

Ryan Rammelt – The average person has more depth than you’ll ever know.

Shane Ebel – There is no problem too great than cannot be improved with one solid hug.

Stephanie Klomsten – A well planned party is a thing of beauty.

Stephanie Wright – Advocate for people that need help.

Steve Klomsten – Try to understand people. Seriously try.

Steve Trosin – Love your community, and try to make it better.

Terri McGarry – When people are talking to you – stop what you’re doing and listen.

Theresa Sieg – When cancer gets you down, tell cancer to go fuck itself.

Tim Maynard – Never doubt the power of well-placed sarcasm.

How about you? Who are the people you’ve learned from in your life? How have they helped you become a better person?

Image result for friendship lesson