I remember how I felt mid-March, at the beginning of the stay-at home-order. After the mad dash at work of helping students pack up the contents of their desks and copy countless worksheets for them to take home, I came home, watched my own kids unload the contents of their lockers into their bedrooms, and then — I watched the dust settle.
The frantic, merry-go-round pace that my life had been operating at for years had come to a screeching halt and somehow, amidst the chaos and panic, I felt a bit of tightness in my chest subside. Was e-learning complicated? Yes. Was working from home a challenge? Yes. Was I still worried and cautious and a strapped into an emotional rollercoaster? Yes, yes, and 100% yes. But again, I felt a stillness that was very unfamiliar, and I welcomed it with open arms.
Despite the lack of our usual outings, ventures, and events, summer flew by in a blur of quiet mornings, afternoon naps, movie nights, and countless bowls of ice cream.
Last week, school resumed in our district, and although my own kids are home, learning virtually, I’m back at work, weaving my way in and out of classrooms again.
Countless times a day, I remind little ones to socially distance in the hallway, showing them how to walk “zombie arms” length apart. I adjust their little masks to stay snuggly over their mouths and noses during class. I wipe down their iPads with disinfectant before I plugging them in to charge.
At the end of each school day, my eyes smile at them as I say, “see you tomorrow!” Their little eyes smile back at me as they say, “see you tomorrow, Mrs. Daubek!”
I’m sure it’s all of the added stress of this “new normal,” along with getting back into the rhythm of my job, but the physical and mental exhaustion is real. As I pack up my bag to leave work each afternoon, I mentally make grand plans to get a long list of items checked off of my to-do list. But most days, I find my body feeling heavy and tired as soon as I walk through the front door.
I often find myself zoning out while scrolling on my phone, my mind racing with the same frantic thoughts on a loop — “Am I doing enough?” “Am I being as safe as possible?” “Are we going to be okay?” “Are we going to stay healthy and well?”
To quiet my mind, I put in my bluetooth headphones, shuffle my favorite worship music playlist on Spotify and slip the phone in my pocket.
I tackle a sink full of dirty dishes as the melodies fill my ears. I hum along as I pack lunches. I keep listening as I pack the leftovers from dinner into Tupperware.
While the dishwasher runs, I sit down at my desk, make a card and write a note of encouragement to a friend. I put together a quick scrapbook page in a mini album. When my mind is racing, I put my mind and hands to work and make something.
It doesn’t make things easier. It doesn’t make the hard pieces of life go away. But it makes my brain slow down and my breath become steady. It helps me remember to have gratitude and perspective.
A few weeks ago, I found myself rushing through my morning routine and got super behind in my devotionals. To catch up, I started listening to scriptures throughout the day — while brushing my teeth, while driving, while loading the dishwasher. Sometimes I’ll listen to a chapter multiple times, letting each and every word sink in. I’ve written verses down — taping them up around the house, their sweet words giving me hope.
And in reading His word throughout each day, I was reminded that when scriptures are in my ears and in front of my eyes, my Spirit can feel true rest. Even when life is still busy and chaotic — through His word, I can feel peace. Because if there’s ever been a time we need to feel the Spirit only He can bring, the time is now.
This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in this series “Rest — A Photo Essay”.