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A deep, comfortable silence had settled over the world after the passing of the late spring storm, and I pushed the windows open to let the cool, damp breeze wash into the house. Just past the edge of the clouds, a spray of stars glittered in the deep black sky. There was no hint of frost in the air for the first time that year and I drank in the fresh warmth of approaching summer.

 

My world, like so many others', had become very, very small in the weeks of quarantine. No longer the energetic, confident Ranger who crossed land and sea without fear, I had shrunk too, pummeled and bruised in spirit from weeks of grief, loneliness and loss. I wanted to give love and light, but found myself receiving it more often than giving it. I wanted to adapt and thrive in the quiet of isolation, but found myself just past the boundary of survival, dreading the start of each day and avoiding the sleep that brought it sooner. Tears were never far from the surface and regularly burst out at the most inconvenient of times. 

 

But all was not hopeless. I climbed up to sit in the windowsill and lean out, looking down across the valley to where the lights of the village twinkled faintly through the trees. My physical strength was beginning to return; I no longer felt pinched and frail. A shipment of fresh fruit and vegetables had boosted my spirits the previous week and another would be coming the following week. I was in regular contact with family and friends, and their spirits were lifting as they adjusted to isolation, finding space for joy and expansion within the separation. 

 

And more than these things, I had discovered a strength within myself I wasn't sure I had. Each time I had lost something or someone, fallen to the ground again with weeping, I had lifted my eyes heavenward and gotten to my feet again. When given the choice to give in to despair or keep trusting that the King's plans were good, I had turned toward Him and leaned on His strength through even the darkest nights. I always said I would follow Him even through the shadowed valleys of death, danger and grief - and I had. When I didn't understand, when I had to say goodbye, when my heart longed for the fields of my home and the embrace of my family, I had clung to faith and not given up. And with His help, I planned to continue doing just that.

 

I slid down from the windowsill and padded into the kitchen to measure the coffee and water for the next morning. Courage in this season might not look like climbing mountains or crossing rivers - it might look like measuring the coffee and going to bed instead of staying up to wait for dawn, trusting that there would be goodness in the following day.

 

A hint of a smile crossed my face as I blew out the candle and picked up my journal to head for bed. There was goodness coming in the morning. Even if I couldn't always feel it, I knew it was there. It would find me before long.

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Today is the start of the EIGHTH WEEK of quarantine for me and I am feeling it.  :P  Part of it is definitely the isolation, of course. I miss going to work and doing my normal things; I miss being around people without feeling scared; I want to go home and see my family, go downtown and enjoy the day, go anywhere but my stale, silent living room.  :)  Part of it is also that these last eight weeks have just been really freaking hard. From losing my grandmother and not getting to go to her funeral, to setting my virus fear on hold to power through an intense period at work, to suffering through intense food poisoning and crippling physical anxiety, to ending a relationship that was very important to me, to starting with a new counselor - it's felt like every week has brought something new to grapple with, on top of the normal concerns of, you know, not dying. Maybe the photogenic Instagram people have found a beautiful rhythm and new appreciation for the slowness of life indoors during these unprecedented times, but I feel like I've been trapped in a building that keeps catching fire in a new place each week, requiring me to constantly run back and forth and keep them all from burning the house down.  :P   

 

I titled this challenge "Dawn" because I am waiting expectantly for light, energy, hope, and vitality to return - and as long as I stay alive, I know they will return, just like I know the sun will rise after the night. For now, I don't have any significant goals besides eat enough, sleep enough, check in regularly and don't give up. Of course there are other things I want to do besides that; I want to continue Adriene's 30-day "Home" series, I want to finally get my container garden started, I want to finish some afghans for my expecting friends, and I want to keep working on memorizing some Scripture passages with my Scripture memory app. But I don't want to make those such rigid goals that I feel like a failure if I don't work on them. My mood and thoughts have been tipping downward toward depression lately and the last thing I need is a reason for my inner critic to keep beating me up. If I ate well, got some sleep, did my best at work and posted here, then that's a successful day. 

 

I'm also going to do my best to look for positive, hopeful news and activities wherever I can. Yes, things are terribly serious and every so often, I get smacked in the face with the realization that I could quite literally die in this pandemic. Like ... die die. But also, I could very much survive. And since I'm doing my best to work toward that outcome, I'm going to keep looking for reasons to be excited about the rest of my life after this is over. For example, three of my dearest friends are either pregnant or recently had babies; and I am excited to order yarn and make afghans for them, as a symbol of hopeful expectation that I'm going to hold them in my arms one day. I want to plant a garden, as a symbol of hopeful expectation that I'm going to harvest the vegetables and eat them in a few months' time - and maybe even share them with others. My brother recently convinced me to join a dating site along with him, and while my heart is still in pain and I'm taking things very slow and lightly, I have the hopeful expectation that I may meet some of them in person someday. 

 

Nights can be very, very long. They can be full of pain, full of weeping, full of waiting. They can feel like they stretch on forever. I've had a lot of those, and not just recently. But there was never yet a night that was too long for dawn to come at the end. Dawn is coming, and I want the new day that comes to be full of beautiful, hopeful things I slowly planted in the midst of pain and watered with my inconvenient, frequent tears.  ❤️  If I don't plant every day, that's okay. But every time I do, I'm looking forward to the harvest down the road. 

 

 

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Hello Sky, here for this. You can do it, you are strong and kind and thoughtful. I cant wait to see your little garden you create xx

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6 hours ago, SkyGirl said:

am excited to order yarn and make afghans for them, as a symbol of hopeful expectation that I'm going to hold them in my arms one day. I want to plant a garden, as a symbol of hopeful expectation that I'm going to harvest the vegetables and eat them in a few months' time - and maybe even share them with others. My brother recently convinced me to join a dating site along with him, and while my heart is still in pain and I'm taking things very slow and lightly, I have the hopeful expectation that I may meet some of them in person someday. 

“Doing SOMETHING with he expectation that you will eventually see the results of that action even though right now you may not be able to see or comprehend how that could even be possible” is my definition of Faith. 

 

Go forth with faith :)

 

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Following to keep reminding you that you are so much stronger than you feel.

Also, I saw it buried in there, but you actually ended THAT relationship? The last I remember you were contemplating doing so, but when did you finally end it? And forgive me if you already wrote about it but I missed it/forgot.

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Hi Sky - you are doing GREAT okay, I'm so proud of you for being so mindful and kind to yourself in these crazy times!! Nothing is like it used to be and I think, grappling with that fact combined with the isolation is just, overwhelming on the daily.

 

But you are a Ranger.  And you WILL prevail!! ❤️ ❤️

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Love this. Love how you look at gardening, making afghans as  hopeful tasks believing that things will be better. It's a  gorgeous sunny day, so I'm going to plant veggies and flowers, and think how I'm going to enjoy them with my friends this summer

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8 hours ago, Quirky Quinn said:

Good luck Sky,

 

I hope you find the Dawn!

 

 

Thank you Quinn!! I'm glad you're here to wait out the night with me!  :) 

 

7 hours ago, Salinger said:

Hello Sky, here for this. You can do it, you are strong and kind and thoughtful. I cant wait to see your little garden you create xx

 

Thank you Sal!! I wouldn't want to do it without you!  ❤️  You are strong and kind and thoughtful yourself, and don't ever forget that!

 

4 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

“Doing SOMETHING with he expectation that you will eventually see the results of that action even though right now you may not be able to see or comprehend how that could even be possible” is my definition of Faith. 

 

Go forth with faith :)

 

 

Thank you Ghost!! And thank you for coming along with me!  ❤️ 

 

1 hour ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Following to keep reminding you that you are so much stronger than you feel.

Also, I saw it buried in there, but you actually ended THAT relationship? The last I remember you were contemplating doing so, but when did you finally end it? And forgive me if you already wrote about it but I missed it/forgot.

 

Thank you, Tank, that really does mean the world to me.  ❤️ 

 

No, this was a different relationship that I didn't really talk much about on here. I met someone for a short time, we fell for each other very hard but there were differences we couldn't reconcile, and we decided to end it right away without making it official, rather than waiting until it was much harder later. It was a mature choice and a beautiful experience, and I will be thinking about it and learning from it for a very, very long time to come.

 

And regarding THAT relationship, its end is imminent. Maybe even this week. He wants to call me and catch up and it's probably wise to just get it over with and stop prolonging it. 

 

1 hour ago, loire said:

Hi Sky - you are doing GREAT okay, I'm so proud of you for being so mindful and kind to yourself in these crazy times!! Nothing is like it used to be and I think, grappling with that fact combined with the isolation is just, overwhelming on the daily.

 

But you are a Ranger.  And you WILL prevail!! ❤️ ❤️

 

Thank you Loire!!! And thank you for coming to get through this with me! What would I ever do without you!!  ❤️  You are a Ranger too, okay, and you are continuing to power through even when it's hard and I'm SO proud of you!!

 

26 minutes ago, Elastigirl said:

Love this. Love how you look at gardening, making afghans as  hopeful tasks believing that things will be better. It's a  gorgeous sunny day, so I'm going to plant veggies and flowers, and think how I'm going to enjoy them with my friends this summer

 

That's wonderful, EG, and thank you so much for coming to support and share!! I will update you when I plant mine and we can compare notes!!  ❤️ 

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I felt so... seen whenever I read your thread ❤️ Thank you so much for sharing so much of your heart with us! I find it encouraging to see that I'm not alone in many of my thoughts and feelings. And I feel so much more hopeful for the future. 

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On 5/4/2020 at 4:21 PM, jonfirestar said:

Hey :) For all your awesomeness and maybe Batgirl Yoga :lol: 

 

Jon!!! I am so glad to see you! And I can absolutely make that happen.  ❤️  Thank you for being here!!

 

7 hours ago, TheGreyJedi-Ranger said:

I felt so... seen whenever I read your thread ❤️ Thank you so much for sharing so much of your heart with us! I find it encouraging to see that I'm not alone in many of my thoughts and feelings. And I feel so much more hopeful for the future. 

 

I'm so glad, Jedi, that makes me so happy!! And I'm so glad you're here!!  ❤️❤️❤️  The future feels far off and dark but it is brighter and closer than we think!!

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14 minutes ago, Maggie-Miau said:

Following along and bringing the pom poms ❤️ Many cheers for you Sky!

 

Aah thank you Miau!! I'm so glad you're here!  ❤️ 

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Hey hey! Sorry I'm late! I'm here to offer my support, Sky! I've always liked the Dawn. It symbolizes so many things. But one thing that stands out above all things is that it means "The night will end." Oftentimes, we find ourselves in the dark, alone, and depressed, but the dawn tells us that even though we're going through this, what we're experiencing is only temporary. The sun will rise and it will shine upon us once more, and that belief is more than enough to keep us inspired through those dark nights (especially these days, lately). I can't wait to see you stand against the night and shine with the Dawn!

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52 minutes ago, Red1263 said:

Hey hey! Sorry I'm late! I'm here to offer my support, Sky! I've always liked the Dawn. It symbolizes so many things. But one thing that stands out above all things is that it means "The night will end." Oftentimes, we find ourselves in the dark, alone, and depressed, but the dawn tells us that even though we're going through this, what we're experiencing is only temporary. The sun will rise and it will shine upon us once more, and that belief is more than enough to keep us inspired through those dark nights (especially these days, lately). I can't wait to see you stand against the night and shine with the Dawn!

 

a-wizard-is-never-late-gif-8.gif

 

You're not late, Red, and I'm so glad you're here! You're right, even the longest nights have an end, and the darkness never once won against the light.  ❤️  Thank you for coming to wait for dawn with me!

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11 hours ago, Quirky Quinn said:

Every time I see your thread Sky I am reminded of this song.  It is no bad thing..

 

I love Florence and the Machine, so this is a huge compliment!!  :) 

 

Also, I had posted a thread last night, but it was rather on the morose / emotional side and I got embarrassed and deleted it right before bed, not realizing I should have left up all the regular life updates and just edited out the drama parts ...  :D  So I'll update again tonight and try to reconstruct my week thus far. Today has been much better because I got almost 8 hours of sleep last night and I feel considerably more human.  ❤️ 

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Oof, LONG DAY. The tough days keep coming (ahem, like this), but one of these days I will climb into bed and go "... wow, today was ... not horrible?? Today was a good day?".  ❤️  Maybe it will be tomorrow.

 

This morning my alarm went off and my body just would not. get up. I slept for another hour and woke up after 8 hours of sleep still a bit tired, but actually feeling like a human being for the first time in several days. I had to work late as a result but it was worth it. Sleep is magic and darn you, brain for not letting me get more of it.

 

Work was LONG. I needed to finish a story and still didn't quite wrap it up, even though I worked for 11 hours - the last few days I've worked slowly through my 8 hours, freaked out around 5 and realized I'm not as far along as I need to be, taken a break and eaten dinner or taken a nap or whatever, then come back and worked for 3 or 4 more hours until I'm satisfied with my progress.  :(  I don't like it and it's wearing me out. Tomorrow I'm finishing that story first thing in the morning and getting it out the door so I can hopefully have my evening back tomorrow. 

 

Tonight Guy called, and I thought it was going to be the night I told him off once and for all, but I just didn't have it in me.  :(  However, when he did give me the line about my not being "dependent" on him or "trusting" or "letting him take care of me," I very clearly and confidently told him that I am not going to open the vulnerable places in my heart and lean on someone who disappears and doesn't show up for me. He was startled and genuinely surprised that I saw him that way. I told him that the part of me he keeps asking to see, my soft / emotional side (as opposed to my assertive / controlled side), is not something I'm going to share with someone who is only a sporadic and unreliable part of my life - it doesn't matter that we've known each other for 16 years, he still hasn't earned the right to see that side of me, and I will not open up just because someone asks me to. That level of trust must be earned.  🤨  The rest of the conversation was good, cordial, and I was reminded of why I do like him as a friend. And it felt good to say those things out loud after so long. Maybe I won't have to say out loud that I'm not going to date him if he heard me say I don't trust him to be there for me.

 

I have a date tomorrow night with someone from the dating website, but I don't feel an especially strong connection to him, so I'm hoping I'll have the guts to say so if it doesn't go well ... this is all very new to me and very uncomfortable, and I really shouldn't be attempting it at all in my current turbulent emotional state (I definitely wouldn't have if my brother hadn't asked me to join now), and I've never told anyone before that I wasn't interested in them; it's always been the other way around. So ... chance to practice sticking up for myself, I guess.  :P  Maybe he'll be great, I don't know, we'll see. I'm also talking with another guy who writes very long, interesting messages and grew up not far from where I did, so hopefully he'll want to talk soon too. I'm mostly approaching this right now as just meeting interesting new people and expanding my friend circle, since I'm stuck in my house anyway. 

 

No yoga again tonight, and dinner was leftover pizza, which left me feeling garlicky and gross.  :P  I did cook the last two nights and have leftovers for tomorrow, which is nice. I'm super stiff and creaky-feeling from not stretching or doing any exercise this week, so that really must be remedied tomorrow. 

 

... and it's 1:30AM again and I need sleep too.  :P  GOODNIGHT FRIENDOS

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I hope the date goes well and he doesn't turn out to be a complete creep.  Even if it doesn't blossom into anything it is a good opportunity to socialize and at least talk to another adult in person :) 

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Today was a good day! Speak it into existence and it shall be!

 

25 minutes ago, SkyGirl said:

Maybe I won't have to say out loud that I'm not going to date him if he heard me say I don't trust him to be there for me.

Hopefully you won't have to say it out loud, but always be prepared to. 

 

25 minutes ago, SkyGirl said:

I have a date tomorrow night with someone from the dating website

Have fun on your date! Stay open, but also be prepared to shut the guy down if he crosses any boundaries!

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On 5/4/2020 at 5:51 AM, SkyGirl said:

But there was never yet a night that was too long for dawn to come at the end. Dawn is coming, and I want the new day that comes to be full of beautiful, hopeful things I slowly planted in the midst of pain and watered with my inconvenient, frequent tears.  ❤️  If I don't plant every day, that's okay. But every time I do, I'm looking forward to the harvest down the road. 

 

This is a beautiful sentiment, with a beautiful intention behind it ❤️

 

I love the concept of the approaching certainly of dawn too; your mental approach to this challenge is amazing.

 

I hope the date goes well, I think it'll be good for you to have the socialisation and to practice being assertive when you need to (though hopefully you won't need to too much).

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10 hours ago, SkyGirl said:

I have a date tomorrow night with someone from the dating website, but I don't feel an especially strong connection to him, so I'm hoping I'll have the guts to say so if it doesn't go well

As a guy who has been ghosted before after a meet-on-the-internet date, don't be afraid to ghost if you don't feel a connection but aren't able to say it's not going to work. Even if you do say it's not going to work, you may have to ghost anyway, if the guy wants to keep trying. He may respect your statement and not keep trying. A good middle ground is a quick, "it won't work" message, then block the guy. All those are acceptable options. Trust me, ghosting him is better than letting him hang on and keep trying. It hurts more at first, but he'll get over it quicker.

 

Far more importantly, I'm very proud of you for what you said to Guy.

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