Updated: Apr 24
I woke up yesterday morning thinking, “That’s enough. I’m not dealing with any of it today. I am going to watch movies, not go in my office and drink coffee in bed. I do not even care if I eat. I’m done, full, had it and just no.” Yes, I have responsibilities, but no. Yes, there are friends and people I really want to check on and talk too, but maybe. Yes, I am in a certification program but un unh. Yes, there are some videos I am supposed to record today, but I can’t. I have nothing else to say (pulls cover over head). “No.”
Here is the irony. The movie I found -- the one that was going to help me escape -- was called Reign Over Me, starring Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle. The movie is about a man who did not want to deal with his problems, so he played video games and listened to music all day. Nice. “I hear you Lord. I’m up.”
We all have days when we feel like “That’s it! I’m done.” We want to crawl under the covers and stay there until whatever we are avoiding goes away. If you are a parent who is working at home AND making sure your children stick to their assignments for school, it may feel like you do not have the luxury of stopping. After all, there is SO MUCH TO DO. The temptation might be to just give things surface attention while you inwardly stop. We’ve all done automatic pilot, right? We know what it’s like: you pretend to listen when your really aren’t (just nodding at conversational pauses and inflections), or doing the easy stuff at work (a cursory review of what’s in front of you and an evaluation that is ALL SURFACE). The envelopes….the health concerns…the family that needs to be checked on…the unease between you and a spouse….the unhealthy behavior you just learned about in your children...what’s for dinner….what’s for breakfast….do we have toilet paper?
It is too much. “No”, you might be saying. But what would happen if you just stopped for a moment, or an hour, or a day? Have you considered what living in the moment looks like? Is it possible to take a break and enjoy….not tolerate….enjoy being together for a few hours? Or are you too busy “not dealing” with being anxious?
I remember a line from the movie, The Ten Commandments. The last plague, death of the firstborn, was in full swing. The children of Israel were in their houses with blood over their doors, but the idea of being shut down got the better of one woman. “Death is all around us!” she cried. If we listen to the news reports for too long, we may begin to feel the same way as we sit, for the most part, confined to quarters. We can become anxious and obsessive, to the point where we will do anything rather than sit with our own feelings and examine our perspective on where we are right now.
Life is all around us; in the needs of our children, in the beauty of nature, in the fight you need to have with your spouse, and in why you might be pretty hard to live with right now. Stop and consider life – not survival. Life. This gift, given by God, was given for a reason to you. So I’m asking you to stop and consider your life right now – the parts you don’t want to deal with. What is making you afraid? I challenge you to look IT in the face and frame your response from the heart.
A month ago, I had a dream about me. I was a cartoon character and there was this big cloud monster that represented my fear around COVID19. It hovered above my head and roared at me. Cartoon character me, uncharacteristically bold in a dream, looked at it and roared back at it. My roar was not nearly as big as the cloud’s, but it was a roar.
In that dream I believe my spirit was demonstrating my response to something that had the power to frighten me. But my spirit, that part of me where God lives, roared back in my little cartoon voice. I get it. Things may frighten me, but I have the choice to roar back or run and hide. What are you not dealing with? I know you hear the cries of death, it seems everywhere. Life, though, is also everywhere if you care to look. How will you deal with it? Start by throwing off the covers, getting up and washing your face.
You are loved.
Michele Aikens is CEO and Lead Coach of Sepia Prime Communications. You can connect with her here: