Today, it feels like there is a cloud over my head. It’s not so much a rain cloud, but it’s overcast for sure. This may be partly because it is gray and cold outside, but I think there’s more to it. I woke up and decided that today would be a day to soak in all the different things that have come to me this week and just be still. My inner experience this week is for sure characterized by contemplating what others are experiencing and struggling through. BUT… today…I think it’s important to recognize my own gray cloud. It is through owning the truth of where I am that I will be better equipped to contemplate the reality of others. Solely doing one or the other divides us.
If my mind is just on me, my struggle is magnified. If my mind is just on you, my struggle is avoided.
Together, we ask questions and together we struggle.
Here is a compilation of questions and expressions I’ve heard:
- How much and how do we talk about what’s going on?
- Problem solving and forcing normalcy vs. surrendering and finding purpose and opportunity.
- This is so weird.
- Everything is different. Everything is changing.
- I have so many questions and no answers.
- I’m feeling restless and anxious.
- I have my moments, but it is what it is.
Through all of this contemplation, and on this very cloudy day, I have realized that I spend most of my time in the same spot: above the clouds. I’m generally grounded and down-to-earth, but when I’m contemplating these ideas and questions I’m somehow lifted to another place. It’s hard to put to words what this means, so I’m going to use a Friends reference haha. Most of the time, I feel like the “floating Rachel.” For the non-Friends fans, I’ll explain. There is an episode of Friends where Rachel feels compelled to tell Ross, who is currently married, that she’s still in love with him. She says the words, “I’m still in love with you,” pauses for a minute while Ross is processing a reaction, and then she just starts laughing hysterically. Ross says, “If that was a joke, it’s not funny.” Rachel then confirms that she was dead serious…but after she said the words, she realized how ridiculous it was to share her feelings because he is married.
While still laughing, she explains to Ross that, after she said it, she floated outside of her body and saw what was happening from above. “The floating Rachel…” she said, saw something she couldn’t from her limited view. I typically feel similar to the floating Rachel. For whatever reason, my go-to vantage point is beyond what I can see in my limited space. This is healthy most of the time, because it allows me to put energy into understanding the bigger picture and compassion for others. But it can be unhealthy if I don’t give my own experience and feelings some time. Through our current experience, I am taking the opportunity to find a balance.
In finding a balance, I’ve embraced the importance of recognizing that there is purpose where each of us find ourselves. You might be called to your home. Others are called out to the margins. Wherever you are, what you are experiencing matters. What your particular difficulty is this day, this moment, matters. And you have been given something to do. You aren’t purpose-less or direction-less because things are “weird” or different. It maybe just requires being the “floating Rachel” in order to see your calling in this moment. If work or school has changed, it’s still there. Changing your vantage point may help you adjust.
Part of being the “floating Rachel” and changing your vantage point is accepting God’s invitation to get a view, a little peek, at the things only He can see. If you’ve had any of the questions or ideas I listed above, ask God to broaden your view. It may take time and patience, but bringing your truth to God in prayer and others for counsel has the potential to open the door to calm the confusion and welcome in clarity. It was only when Rachel saw beyond herself and her need to express her feelings, that she saw the difficult position she was putting Ross in. She had a view that went beyond her wants and her world, which allowed her to see beyond herself.
In being honest with myself and acknowledging where I am, I want to do my best to remind myself where others are. In our current situation, we are in various places.
Since most of us are at home, it’s important to keep “the quarantine” in perspective.
I am in Oklahoma City, looking out my window and acknowledging my own “cloudy” day. As I seek this balance of giving my own needs some time, I simultaneously remind myself to practice awareness of what’s happening outside my window, outside my city. Most people have been called into their homes…but not all at home are physically and mentally healthy. In sharing and adapting to your quarantine experience, be mindful that many are not able to come home or stay home. Allow yourself to broaden your view and adjust your vantage point. Seek to maintain clarity of purpose as you adapt to change. Seek God and a greater understanding of what’s happening. If you are home, discover the opportunities presented to you. Remember the purpose of being home multiple times a day and actively stay aware of those that don’t know “the quarantine.”
Picture the front lines. Reach out to the lonely. Practice awareness of God, yourself, and others.
Be the “floating Rachel.”