I hate needing things.
Like the rest of the world - three weeks ago, overnight, my job went fully remote. Just like that, all the motion of my “every day” came to shuddering halt. It was jarring, disorienting. Life in DC moves on a racetrack – and whether you feel like an Olympic athlete or 14 minute miler at the back, you are still moving. Most days, I like that race. The wind is on my face, the roar of the crowd drowns out other sounds, I pass those slow people on the right, I feel fast and strong. And then WHAM! Everything stopped. It’s just me standing on the track – no audience, no fellow racers. Just the sound of my own heartbeat and gasping breath. And everything hurts. Turns out, I have a lot of needs.
I need people – as an extrovert, small moments matter. When someone who loves you, sees you and turns towards you in a poster of recognition and joy - your soul receives a drink. I feel a lot thirstier these days.
I need movement – my mid-30s lower lumbar aches after hours of online meetings. My cobbled-together, remote work desk is not awesome.
I need structure and boundaries – as the lines of work and home blur, I find my focus diminished, my energy flagging, my priority list unclear.
Perhaps most, I need stillness – before the stop, the comparative quiet of my home seemed like stillness. But now that I’m here all the time, I recognize how noisy my soul still is. The roar around me may be gone, but that just amplified the inner noise.
In truth, all of these pains are minor. As new rhythms are found, and a new (albeit slower) pace is set, I will adjust. No doubt, the aches will diminish and once again I will feel self-sufficient. But I don’t want to forget what this sudden stop exposed for just a moment. I need. I need so many things. And when I’m blind and ignorant to my needs, I can’t fully receive the abundant graces that flow down to meet me every day. I have missed so much goodness and beauty.
Suddenly a text or a silly voicemail that I might have neglected, is a gift - a sign that I am well loved by many people.
Those 1 million online yoga videos – an oft-ignored grace for my anxious, uptight body that needs to survive that standup desk for several more weeks (or months, who knows?!)
Sunshine and flowers are a wonderful sensory overload and a heavenly break from endless Zoom calls.
As for that much sought after inner quiet – well, I can only say the grace for now is the oppressive monotony. When I can’t endlessly distract myself (Tiger King was only 7 episodes after all), the inner noise increases. But so does the quiet presence of the loving Spirit who insists on inhabiting every moment with me.
In this time of vulnerability and deprivation, I pray we can all drink deeply from the river of ordinary grace that is pouring over us each day.