• Faith Ellis

The Trepidation for our Nation

The walls all look the same - newly painted in shades of grayish blue or cool green and hung with homey decor. I love our home. It's always bright with natural light from the many wide windows. The entrance has high ceilings, wooden floors, and is open, looking out over our large fenced-in backyard. Leather couches are situated around a large cream-colored area rug leading to the gas fireplace. We haven't used it since we moved in three years ago. Right above the mantel hangs my favorite picture of our wedding- the one framed in a spectacular distressed teal-blue frame where I am leaning down with my arms wrapped around my husband's neck, going in for a kiss. His hands are braced on either side of my hips and I marvel everytime I glance at it at how good he looks in a suit.

That day was one of the best days of my life. I loved everything about the day we got married, right down to my bloody feet literally rubbed raw from the gorgeous shoes I forgot to break in weeks before.

But now these beautiful walls that once brought me comfort and made me feel safe are closing in, pressing too tightly and suffocating me. I sit at the rustic farmhouse dining table, attempting to edit my book on my laptop. I look down at my hands clacking away at the keys, at the nubs where I've anxiously chewed away my pretty, healthy nails down to the flesh. Surprisingly, they aren't bleeding, but they're jagged and raw.

"I can't focus," I admit, staring at the text on my screen.

I've been trying for hours but the pages of my book aren't making any sense. There are too many other issues in the world that need to be resolved. My husband went to play golf I think. Honestly, my skin feels too tight, my mind is racing, it didn't even cross my mind to ask where he was going.

My breathing speeds up. I glance at my Garmin. Nearly 70, my heartrate is usually 40 or 45. I close my eyes and force myself to inhale slowly, hold for two seconds, and exhale slowly. And then the tears burn behind my eyelids. They slip out from beneath my lashes and slide down my cheeks. I bury my face in my hands.

"Why? During this time, we are in the best position we can be, what's wrong with me? As a state, we're better off than most. Our jobs are in fields that aren't over worked during this pandemic but aren't laid off either. We're not sick - our families aren't sick. So God why do I feel so hopeless? Why am I so scared? I'm sorry, forgive me. You told me not to be anxious and I fear I've failed You. Forgive me for I am weak."

My fingers stay busy but my mind can't focus on the things I love. I try to focus on work but my students share the things they're experiencing.

"My husband worked at a restaurant but he was laid off due to the virus. He doesn't know if he'll work this week, or in the coming weeks," she shared with me.

How badly will this damage our economy? How badly will it impair the many lives it's touching?

I stumble from the table to the master bedroom. The king-sized bed full of plush blankets and too many pillows usually makes me feel better. Like a child falling into the arms of her mother. But as I curl up near the edge the tears just come harder.

"No, it's not getting sick that has me on my knees asking for You to hold me and wrap me in Your arms. It's the uncertainty of everything it might leave in its' wake. And I know You asked me to trust in You - I do, I do. I know You've got this. But I admit, I'm concerned for our future and well being. Please keep us safe and secure."

What right do I have - out of the people such as our healthcare professionals working around the clock, our grocery store workers, our restaurant staff being laid off - why do I get to feel low right now? What gives me the excuse to be worried about security and safety and the future?

Because to me, this affects all of us. We are dealing with this, not as a community, not as a state, not even as COUNTRY but as an entire nation. I empathize with you who are losing your jobs, I mourn for those who have lost their lives, and I worry about those who are running on few hours of sleep.

While I lay there for a little longer, staring at the ceiling fan going around in a slow circle, I allow the tears to flow and ignore the shame of my doubt and getting it out makes me feel a little better. It releases some of the pressure that seemed to push down and down and down on my shoulders - threatening to snap them.

Whatever you're going through right now, whatever you're feeling, it's okay to worry, it's okay to doubt and to question and to feel fear. Know that you are not alone.

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