D.G., 60, a business owner in Olympia, WA

My response to how the Pandemic has affected me is varied. Initially, my anxiety level peaked About 2 days after we were told to shelter in place. The uncertainty of the future for mine & my family’s health was weighing extremely heavy on my thoughts. Shortly thereafter, I began to stress over the impact economically with my business and the welfare of my employees. I also recognized my need to pray, re-visit Biblical truths and place more trust in God to strengthen me and give me peace rather than depending on myself and how I might change outcomes. I continued to stay connected with my church & friends via Zoom and phone.

I also recognized the importance of reaching out to friends and neighbors – especially those who were elderly, lonely and more vulnerable. I began to be less consumed with the “me” aspect as I focused on others. So much was beyond my control and ability to alter the outcomes. This was unlike anything I had ever faced in my life – an unseen, insidious enemy that threatened to undo all that I had worked diligently to protect throughout my entire life and career.

During times of great challenge, it is easy to let fear, anxiety and worry rattle and derail. I knew that it was time to put feet to my faith, standing strong on the truths that I had known for many years – a faith defining time. I began to look for ways to give hope to others who perhaps did not recognize these assurances. I had several significant opportunities to speak truth and encouragement to strangers, particularly while waiting in line for groceries.

I read recently that during this Pandemic we have all been in the same storm but not necessarily in the same boat. For this reason I quickly realized that I needed to give space to each person in whatever place they found themselves in. The Bible says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

As has been true throughout my lifetime, the greatest growth comes through times of adversity so in this trying time, I can say I am thankful for what I am learning and becoming.

[submitted on 5/19/2020]

Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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