This week was one of new realities, realities I could never have imagined were even possible. These new realities came as a shock, not just for me or the nation, but for the entire world. The spread of the coronavirus has become a steady source of news—everyone is affected and there is no way to escape it. I tried really hard to avoid it but this past week I had to give in and accept the harsh truth. My birthday was this past Thursday and I had great plans for it. To be honest, they did not seem like such great plans before they were taken away from me. My parents were going to visit me and then over the weekend, we were going to explore Providence, Rhode Island, a place I had never been before. A few days before they were due to arrive, my parents had to cancel their trip due to the escalating threat of this worldwide virus. My disappointment when they told me of their decision went far deeper than I expected. I was not surprised by it and would be lying if I claimed I didn’t see it coming. Every event and all “unnecessary” travel is being cancelled or postponed; this virus has effectively put life as we know it on hold.

Never in my life have I been in similar circumstances. It is this great state of unknown that causes the most struggle. The closest experience in my past is when I was first diagnosed with Type I diabetes. I knew nothing about the condition–all I knew is that it could lead to death if untreated. In this way, the coronavirus resembles diabetes. Most people do not know much about it, only the negative outcomes it can have, especially when hearing the increasing death toll. When my parents cancelled their trip to visit me, all the fearful feelings I had before I was diagnosed with diabetes came flooding back. During the months I was dealing with diabetes and unaware of what was going on, my body was shutting down. Even though I was not consciously thinking I was dying, my body was headed for ketoacidosis, which results in death. I truly believe my body was preparing to die. My parents visited me at college during that period and I would cry for days after they left. It may be normal to miss your parents, but not to cry for so long and with such wrenching sobs as I did. On some level, it was as if I believed it would be the last time I would see my parents. When my parents cancelled their trip to visit me on my birthday this year, the inner fear of never seeing them again emerged in me, not because I was dying but because of all the great unknowns this world is facing. Within one week, the coronavirus has turned the world upside down.

This was definitely the worst birthday I ever had. There were difficult ones in the past, but I’ve always been able to hug someone or have someone who could celebrate with me. This was the first birthday of my life where no one hugged me. This may sound trivial, and to some extent it may be, but it proves a key truth that we cannot forget amid all the craziness of the current situation. Humans were not made to be alone. God created us to be in community with each other; we are meant to be members of His family. At first I was angry with the government for taking away my ability to go to church, my ability to see friends and family, or just to be around other people in a store or coffee shop, but I realized the government is not the enemy. It is doing its best to protect us from an unfamiliar enemy. Although it may seem that the virus is the enemy, it is not–the enemy is and has always been Satan. In less than a month, he has inflicted terror, fear and horror on our world. Based on this past week, I would have probably conceded and admit he had succeeded in bringing us to our knees. But he has not! Through the power of Jesus Christ, Satan can never win. I praise God for allowing some true blessings through all this tribulation. I have been able to take Zumba classes with friends back in Colorado because the instructors are holding virtual classes. I have been walking outside more because all retail establishments are closed. My walks have brought me closer to the Lord; I can appreciate his beautiful creation walking with Him, side by side. Most important of all, I have reached out to friends I haven’t spoken to for a long time. We are all feeling alone in different and yet similar ways, all craving connection. We may be unable to be together the way we used to be, but we can adapt. In God and through God, we will survive this current state of unknowing and will be stronger for it. It is crucial to remember that we are never ever alone. In times of true isolation, we can hear the Lord’s voice most clearly and without worldly interference.

One Less Day From Dying Young

One of my favorite music groups back when I was in middle school was Match Box Twenty. The lead singer was Rob Thomas who eventually broke off from the group and went solo. He recently released a new song which played on the radio while I was enduring a rather long drive on the highways of New Jersey. It was one of those great divine intervention moments. God had me right where He wanted me, in the perfect place and the perfect state of mind to hear what He wanted me to hear. I heard this-

“I’m not afraid of getting older
I’m one less day from dying young” ~ Rob Thomas

This came about a week before my birthday. As I have gotten older birthdays have gotten more and more difficult to go through for the simple reason I have not been in the place that I thought I would be at that certain age. I really don’t like that birthdays place so much emphasis on this need to evaluate your life up to that point in time. I always seem to come up short in regards to my expectations. This always resulted in me getting angry and blaming the Lord. “Why haven’t you given me this!” I would exclaim, like a ungrateful child throwing a temper tantrum when her parent wouldn’t give her an ice cream cone before diner. I was throwing a tantrum because I didn’t understand the workings of the Lord. I only saw my needs but like a good Father the Lord knew that I needed to have a good healthy diner before I could have ice cream.

Back to my time in my car with Rob Thomas. While I was so focused on the things that I don’t have I lost sight of all the incredible blessings that I have received and essentially the truly miraculous life that the Lord has gifted me with. The truth is I could have died several times through out my life. The main one being when I was diagnosed with type one diabetes but also numerous other times of just basic human stupidity. Each day I am one less day from dying young and that is something to be very thankful for.

In addition, the Lord has also resurrected life many times. The most recent time was when He delivered me out of New York and into New Jersey. It was a surprising revelation especially to me when I actually realized that I was almost exactly where I wanted to be at this age. I am living on my own, I have a good sustainable job and I have time to devote to My Lord and Savior. Why was I still complaining? There is still a missing piece, a husband and a family. I would like to share this life with someone. This still stings a little but I am reminded of that father who denied the child the ice cream. I needed to have a healthy diner first. I needed to rediscover myself and more importantly I needed to rediscover myself in Him! The Lord has a plan and because He has shown me the miracles He can perform in my life once I actually start listening to Him. I have faith and trust that He will lead me to that husband and family my heart desires. When it does happen though it will be the cherry on top of the ice cream. My timeline does not matter because the Lord’s plan is perfect and I want to follow His plan.

This year instead of asking for a gift from the Lord I gave a gift of myself to Him.

“Take, Lord,

and receive all my liberty, my memory,

my understanding

and my entire will,

all that I have and possess.

You have given all to me to you, Lord, I return it.” ~Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Keeping the Faith

Sometimes the odds are just stacked against you! Yes, I must confess I gave into a bad mood over the past few days. Thanks to the time change I did not have the energy to fight it. I really am not a fan of this time change thing it is not healthy and throws your life out of wack; physically, mentally and emotionally. I was opening at my work Sunday morning so naturally I did not get any of sleep the night before. I kept waking up freaking out that I would sleep through my alarm and be late. On the bright side I was not alone in my struggle to get some rest before work, all my coworkers were walking around like zombies the entire day. In addition to the severe lack of sleep my acid reflux also came back. I am not sure if it was the result of the time change or in light of my birthday being a week away it was my body sending me a reminder that I am getting older. I am choosing to believe it was a combination of the two. My dad has struggled with acid reflux as well and he has warned me that there is a depression that comes with it. At first I didn’t believe him mainly because I could not see the relationship between the two. Whether I see it or not the depression set in today. I went into work with a negative attitude. With my birthday coming up my thoughts dwelled on evaluating what I was doing doing with my life and I came to the unwanted realization that all I am doing right now is going to work, running errands, and doing laundry. Obviously my life consists of much more than that but in my depressive state I found it difficult appropriately rationalize the situation.

God has wonderful ways of sending you little miracles when you need them though even when you don’t deserve them. After work on Sunday I went to mass and in receiving the holy Eucharist Jesus Christ took away the pain of the acid reflux and revitalize me so that I was able to make home. The immense lack of sleep paired with the acid reflux really took all my energy out of me and without the strength of the Holy Spirit I probably wouldn’t have made it. In the Gospel Jesus said, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” (Luke 4: 43-54) Even though I may not see the work the Lord is doing in my life right now that doesn’t mean He is not there. In fact He is even more present asking me to walk by faith and not by sight. “Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see.” (Hebrews 11) I have hope in my future, the Lord continues to give me great blessings in my life and the more faith I place in Him the greater the blessings.