It is my birthday (????)
🎵 And no one told you it was gonna be the most COVID birthday yet 🎵
As an April baby, I had the great pleasure of having two quarantine birthdays (24 and 25).
If you had told me last year that I would round out my 25th year in quarantine and actually positive with Miss ‘Rona... we weren’t going to test those odds.
What’s funnier is that we had a practice run of this. A few days after my 25th birthday, I had symptoms. I tested negative but out of an abundance of caution, I quarantined for nearly a week.
When I think about how my year has been bookended—quarantine, limited contact with the outside world, meals over FaceTime and soul crushing silence—I can’t help but find it amusing, breathtaking, and curious.
It’s not until you spend time with literally no one else that you start to really pause and think about life. It’s not until you don’t have anyone to talk to that you turn inward and reflect. And truly — this time around, my throat was so sore that my Wednesday was completely silent. I didn’t say anything for about 36 hours.
It felt like jail at some points. But at other times, it was almost monastic.
This past year has been a difficult one.
It’s been one of continual digging and self-discovery. I think turning a mid-[insert decade] here can do that to someone.
I think that my sisters put the “Happy Quarter Life Crisis” cookie on my 25th birthday cake as a joke. But I think there is some truth to it. Three calendar years into this pandemic, with its continual pendulum swinging of getting a handle on it to having it explode out of control can do that to people. What can we possibly put our energy into now that won’t be destroyed in a few days? What hope is there to even continue on?
Admittedly, it felt like that sometimes. I haven’t felt this level of desolate and hopelessness since late high school/early university. There was a lot of adjusting: to the outside world, to being around people again, to work in person after 19-ish months of virtual. I remember taking the bus for the first time since the pandemic started and I nearly had a panic attack because someone sat too close to me.
I don’t need to harp on about other pandemic-related things, never mind what seemed to be the world being set on fire every day (figuratively and literally). This past year has been hard for everyone, and it’s compounded over the past three.
But, this past year had it’s blessings, too.
There were a number of beautiful blessings that came about throughout the course of this past year. To name a few:
I had a spiritual director again — literally again. My previous director is now my director (again) after about a year and a half away (#yaycharacterdevelopment)
I had the incredible chance to speak to so many women online about Jesus — from Toronto, to around the United States, and as far as the United Kingdom…
…And also started speaking IN PERSON (!!!) here at home and in Whistler.
I suddenly found myself back in school thanks to the generosity of the Archdiocese of Vancouver and St. Mark’s College
The Feminine Genius Podcast celebrated 100 episodes (and counting)
Travel and seeing friends through big life milestones
A greater fervour for daily mass and the opportunity to go
The grace of the Lord abounding in ways I cannot even begin to recount, and a level of peace that I have never felt before
Admittedly, when I took some time to think about what the year brought, it was almost easy to lump the bad in with the really bad. It almost obscured—no, covered entirely—what was good, true and beautiful of this year.
And yet, the Lord is merciful. He has given me everything, a million times over, to help me get to this point. When we say ‘the gift that keeps on giving’, that indeed is the Lord. How apt is it that my word for last year was ‘gift’, and this year is ‘intimacy’… He keeps giving me more of Himself.
I have resigned to the fact that the start of another year will be unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
I’m grateful to be alive and grateful for everything I have experienced so far.
And despite how unusual it is to be in my room, unable to even go to mass or spend time with family and friends in a typical fashion, it is a gift to exist for the one who has given me so much.
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to make music to your name, O Most High,
to proclaim your love in the morning
and your truth in the watches of the night…”
— Psalm 8, from Morning Prayer for April 30
In the meantime… to better health in this next year, and for continuing to celebrate life’s joys in spite of the ways in which life might go awry.
United in the Eucharist,
PPS. I really do suck at this consistency thing.