I recently received a moving email from someone who reflected on the one year anniversary of the acknowledged start of the Covid-19 pandemic, at least as it began to most dramatically affect the United States. As I read her various revelations from the smallest (no make-up!) to the deepest insights in her spiritual journey, I was prompted to reflect back on this challenging time period as well.
Clearly these past 12 months have been inordinately difficult societally, and for many of us personally as well. As we struggle to comprehend the reality of the loss of over 530,000 individual lives, these past twelve months have also spurred more inward reflections. As the simple tasks became inexplicably difficult, not just for me but so often for others, I saw patterns that made me think bigger, outside myself, as I searched for the deeper meanings. My personal life seemed to be a reflection of life during these times causing me to deepen my relationship with HaShem. I found myself talking with Him more often, praying more, reading Scripture more, recognizing even more clearly than before how much I need Him. I began to sense His Presence more acutely, more often.
What does that mean to sense His Presence?
As life would throw another unforeseeable curve ball, whereas in the past I may have felt I could manage it, during this time frame the curve balls caught me more blind sighted, or were more difficult to solve, or had no good resolution that involved my seeming ability to participate in a solution. I would often feel helpless. The situations more often were ones that required me to do what I could do and then really, really let go, let God. My adult daughter is still missing. I have taken countless steps to find her, and yet, at this point, to no avail.
So how did I feel His Presence?
I’m well along the path of acceptance that HaShem has my daughter safely in His arms, that He is guiding her path, as He is guiding mine. At some point I realized this situation was overwhelmingly impossible for me to survive in a healthy way without Him, let alone be able to solve with my or others’ human efforts alone. I needed my Abba. I need Him. I need the intimate love of Yeshua. As I released control to Him more, He showed up in the sense that somehow I could feel peace without any of the facts being changed. She’s still gone, but I am okay. I matured spiritually from this experience, not by obtaining the result I wanted, but in ways that perhaps are much more meaningful to my journey with Him, my path toward being the parent, and person, I am created to be, not to mention the opening of a different path between my daughter and HaShem directly.
Each of us have suffered challenges that may not be as traumatic as the loss of a child, but clearly have been difficult – job setbacks, short temperedness, inability to socialize, stores closed, schools closed, restaurants closed, inability to hug family, the list is endless, really. We are so thankful that these darker days are hopefully behind us as we move toward better days ahead for all of us.
These past twelve months have given us countless opportunities to be a blessing to others, to put our needs and ideas second as we prioritize our brothers and sisters. Our eyes have been opened to the societal needs for food, shelter, and clothing as life’s events have taken away the basics from so many. As we are able to share our blessings with others, we share His love. As we make health decisions that are uncomfortable and unnatural, masks and social distancing, vaccinations if appropriate, we are being stretched to love others more deeply.
It’s been a hard year since Covid hit us. We’ve had to fight for the joy, a fight all the more important. For to balance the challenges, we need to stay reminded of the countless blessings, the glimmers of beauty and hope, the funny stories, the new babies being born, the glories of nature, the beauty of music and art, the magical rhythm of the sea, the certainty of glorious sunrises and magnificent sunsets, the steadfast love of our Abba, the unending sacrifice of our Messiah Yeshua, His sacrificial love of us.
I share with you all of these experiences through this beautiful rendition of B’Shaim HaShem as we are reminded of the many angels: