Trust Us: It’s For Your Own Good

WIN_20200722_21_38_06_Pro (2)

Yep! I’m obviously not Van Gogh. (Maybe a bit Dali or Picasso, perhaps?)

It’s been a few months now since the mask mandate and the majority of folks are donning their masks.

After I got home from grocery shopping today, I sat down on my comfy sofa and drank my homemade cafe latte and thought about all the faces I half-way saw at the store.

They all appeared (from what I could see) in various stages of emotional alarm anytime anyone neared them.  All I have to go on is the memory of eyebrows arched upward, eyebrows knitted together, eyes round like saucers. Everybody six or more feet apart, and cringing anytime another person even appeared to be 5.75 feet near their space.

Occasionally eyes would meet mine and they would quickly step away as if I myself were a contagion ready to unleash my toxins upon them.

I don a mask when I am in public. I obey the law whether I want to or not. I’m not a donkey’s bottom so I do as the law mandates (within legal and moral reason, of course).

I have learned a lot in the past few months. The coronavirus lockdown has taught me that I can make my cafe lattes at home for a fraction of the price I used to spend in coffee shops. I have also learned that I don’t really need to go to clothing stores or libraries or bookstores because I can order on Amazon. I have also learned that I can bake my own bread and pastries and I don’t have to even go to the bakeries anymore. I have learned that I can work from home and don’t even have to go out to work. I have learned that I no longer have to waste my money buying flavorless vegetables from the supermarket because now I have my own beautiful vegetable garden. I have learned that I don’t even have to go to church. I can attend church online.I have learned that I can go days without even speaking to another human being other than family members or close friends on the phone. Yes, the coronavirus lockdown has taught me a lot. Mainly that I don’t need to interact with merchants as much as I did in the past. It has taught me that I don’t need to interact with others outside my immediate circle of family and friends.

I think back to the fear I see in the eyes positioned directly above  masks and I can’t help but wonder what the long-term impact this social distancing (aka social isolation) will have on our abilities to interact with others face-to-face when all this is over.

We are seeing that people are confronting each other over masks use. Usually this confrontation is fueled by fear. Some people have a fear of suffocating behind the mask. This could be psychological, physiological, or emotional. Who knows? But, isn’t that that person’s own business? I think so. Agree with me or disagree. It’s just my opinion and I have my right to it. Or the person could just be a donkey’s bottom. Who knows? Social courtesy dictates that we should mind our own business. It is the role of the authorities to intervene, not us. I fear that social courtesy has been damaged by this lockdown, this social distancing mandate. People are forgetting how to respectfully interact with each other in person. Fear of getting sick is a legitimate fear, that I do not doubt.  Nobody wants to get sick. This is where our own personal choices and behaviors come into play. I hate wearing the mask, as I do believe most people hate it, too.. I wear it because there is some evidence that it can protect me and others from this virus.  It is a reasonable mandate, however, the mandates do have exceptions for people with certain psychological or physiological issues.

In the grocery store, I have seen some people not wearing the mask. It is not my business whether the person wears it or not. I do keep my distance, as I have actually always done in a public setting.

So, I sit here on my comfy sofa, finish my cafe latte, type out my opinion on what I think could potentially be the long-term consequences of this coronavirus lockdown. It has felt like de facto house arrest, actually. I wonder what the psychological damage this entire experience will have upon those who suffer from anxiety and depression. Isolation is damning to the mind and spirit and has devastating repercussions for physical health.

Stay home, stay safe might not be really safe at all. In fact, it might be downright out dangerous. Only time will tell.

For me, I plan to go shopping this weekend (on line) because I just don’t feel like standing in line while ten other shoppers are counted out before entry into the stores.

Yep, the coronavirus lockdown has taught me a lot.

It’s yet to be seen whether what I have learned from it has  actually been  beneficial to my spirit in the long run.

Jenny W. Andrews, Copyright, 2020

 

Comfort in the Storm: Psalms

view of white clouds and blue sky
Photo by Sindre Strøm on Pexels.com

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Truly my soul waiteth  upon God; from him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved. Psalm 62: 1-2

I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. Psalm 18: 1-2

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 

He maketh me lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though, I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou annointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  Psalm 23

 

Source: Holy Bible, King James Version, Book of Psalms

 

Today, I got notice at the community college where I teach English that today is my final day of work until sometime in mid-April. That is a long stretch of time not to work. My community is completely shutting down. What hurts most is seeing church services canceled. I understand the reason for social distancing, of course, but this is the time that we really need to be a faith community and support each other. We need to offer our prayers up to our God who hears us, comforts us, and holds us in His arms.

Even if you cannot physically attend church, please remember to pray without ceasing. Please do not lose your faith in our God who promises peace and healing. Please lift your hands toward our God and plead for His mercy. It is without limits. His love and His compassion knows no boundaries. This world is hurting; God is the answer to this suffering. He offers healing. Please reach for Him. Trust Him. He is our strength and our rock and our light in this darkness.

May God keep you, bless you, and surround you with His love and His compassion.

Amen

 

Jenny W. Andrews, Copyright 2020

Living Fearlessly

hot air balloons over snow covered mountain
Photo by Kursat Akkoyunlu on Pexels.com

Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears-” Les Brown (Brainyquote.com)

I saw this quote in a 2020 journal I purchased a few weeks ago. It got me to thinking about all the opportunities that I have personally not taken because of fear of failure, fear of rejection, undefined fear, fear that I was not capable enough to actually succeed if I attempted to take action on something I truly wanted to accomplish; fearful living is not living at all.

2020 is a fresh start and I have challenged myself to dedicate at least two hours daily to my writing.  So far, so good. I refuse to listen to that negative voice that tells me all the reasons I shouldn’t even try; I refuse to give into fear of failure and fear of rejection.

Truth is that in this life we are all limited editions with limited time in this space. Think about it-no one will ever in the history of this universe ever be exactly like we are as individuals. There will never be an exact replica of you or me. We are each unique with our own passions and dreams; we are incredibly precious souls who are here for such a short time when we consider the millennium that has come and gone, and is yet to come.

Lately, I have been looking back over old family photos. Some of the photos date back nearly a hundred years. I look at my grandmother’s face from so long ago and wonder what her joys were, as well as what her fears were. I have a photo of my father when he was in his early twenties. His face was tense and there was a haunting sadness in his large dark eyes; I wonder what was the source of that palpable sorrow. What did he fear at that moment? The year was during the early days of the The Great Depression. Had he been afraid of hunger? What fears had dogged him? How had those fears impacted his future?

Fear robs us of our future; it robs us of our potential. Fear paralyzes us with its worst case scenarios and catastrophic imaginings. Nothing is ever as bad as we imagine. We do not realize just how much power we do possess within our own spirits to accomplish great things for ourselves, as well as for others.

II Timothy 1:7 says: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Psalm 27:1 says: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

The Lord is with us in our sorrows; He is with us when we are afraid, as well.

A strategy I have implemented in 2020 is to fight back against those fears by reminding myself that God has given me a spirit of power, not a spirit of fear. When I am not strong enough (which is often), I remind myself that the Lord is my strength.

It is my total reliance on the Lord’s strength that gives me the courage to live fearlessly even when negative thoughts try to tell me otherwise.

 

Copyright 2020 Jenny W. Andrews

 

 

Perspective

selective focus photography of vehicle side mirror
Photo by Adriaan Greyling on Pexels.com

This is the first time in about a month that I have sat down and wrote anything.

About five years ago I moved into my new house and left boxes of my old diaries in the garage. Fear of revisiting the past kept me from looking into those pages written so long ago. Almost forty years of my life is documented in those small diaries.

After I celebrated a milestone birthday, I decided to clear out the clutter and organize my diaries by year and put them in pretty photo boxes I bought at a craft store. I labeled the boxes by years. From being a young adult intoxicated by the promise of love to a middle aged woman disappointed by dreams that disintegrated in mid-air, I feel shocked by the power of love, the profound depth of despair, the soul-crushing weight of  betrayal, the mind-numbing repetition of mistakes, and the power of God’s redemption and grace, that have encompassed my existence on this earth.

Why was I so afraid to revisit that long ago world that I had once inhabited?

Fear that I would be reminded of all those dreams that never came true? Fear that I would be reminded of that one love I walked away from and while doing so I knew I would regret it for the rest of my life? Fear that I would be able to connect the dots in that web of deception that my youth had blinded me to? Fear that in retrospect I would hear the whisper of my own voice and get swallowed up by the sorrow over my own voicelessness?

I have spent the past four weeks reading through my diaries. At times, I have cried; at times, I have laughed. I honestly cannot believe that I was that young once. I honestly cannot  believe that I had been so very trusting. I cannot believe the courage that God granted me in the face of the sorrow; I cannot believe the strength that He fortified me with. In retrospect, this life that God has blessed me with is a miracle; it is a miracle that I am still standing after all the sorrow, hurt, loss, and darkness.

Yes, I have taken my diaries and put them in photo boxes and organized them by year. I plan to work on my memoir this coming week. I plan to get back to my writing. I feel in my heart that God has given me the gift of words. He has shown me that I need to extend compassion to myself. He has shown me that the passage of time is a learning experience. He has shown me that His hand is always upon me no matter how dark the night.

Copyright 2019 Jenny W. Andrews

 

 

 

I Stepped Away

sunray through trees
Photo by Todd Trapani on Pexels.com

I Stepped Away

Dream, haunting, hunted me down, dark of night.

No longer afraid of that place, it moves faraway on a fast fall down a tunnel, black hole, slippery hand lets go.

I turn away from the dark; life lights up like the break of day.

I can never be who I used to be. 

Climbed, crawled out of the tunnel-sealed it with a kick. My foot print emblazoned in that dark place at the edge of the abyss.

I stepped away.

Jenny W. Andrews, Copyright 2019. All Rights reserved.

Sanctuary

monochrome photo of dark hallway
Photo by Adrien Olichon on Pexels.com

Sanctuary

That moment, the moment you seeped into my soul like poison,

an injection of you.

You shone like a multifaceted jewel, smooth like velvet spilling into velvety darkness.

I, I needed an anchor in the darkness, and you were what reached for me.

And I knowing better reached back.

Now,

when it feels too late,

I recoil from the sting.

Poisoned,

I am.

Your shadow hovers like impending death.

Trapped,

I am and I don’t know how to free myself.

Copyright 2019 (original copyright 2009). Jenny W. Andrews. All rights reserved.

 

Anniversary

silhouette of person in front of fence
Photo by Takeshi Charly on Pexels.com

Anniversary

On a summer day in a different year,

that other world where I wasted my precious time, has ceased to exist.

But, but,

in my mind’s eye your image is rooted deep, each image a cut to my soul, slicing irreparable scars onto the canvas of my mind.

A world lost, crumbled and decayed.

Remnants of what had been.

A dream imploded; A moment mired in time.

I couldn’t save myself from you no matter how hard I tried.

Copyright 2019 Jenny W. Andrews

 

Thank you for reading.

-Jenny