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Coming back

One of my guilty pleasures is survival shows. I love them all! I’d like to think that if I was ever in a survival situation that I would do fairly well. Nevermind that I get cold super easily, or that I have to have a Dr. Pepper every single day. I’m so used to my creature comforts that I forget what it is like to be without them. I remember one Lent I went without Dr. Pepper and it was awful at first. Eventually, I got used to ordering iced tea, trying hot teas, and learning more about tea. It was wonderful to open myself up to something new. What surprised me the most was when I finally had a Dr. Pepper, it was too much. It’s so sweet! I couldn’t believe that I would put that much sugar in my body. 

I love people. I know I love to be in a crowd of people and feel the energy. It’s not nervous or anxious, but it’s the anticipation for an outdoor music festival, the theater, or the freedom of dancing with strangers to a beat you’re all feeling. We haven’t had that in a long time. We’ve been without people for a long time so it’s okay if our first attempts at being with people feels overwhelming. It’s okay if you feel like it’s too much. 

One of the things I really love about survival shows is the emphasis they put on mental strength because being alone can often be what turns a bad situation into an awful one. I love to go camping alone. I’ve never really camped with anyone other than my partner and my best friend so they understand my need to retreat and have some alone time in nature. I like being in some of the most remote places because it gives me that sense of freedom and solitude where I start talking to myself about all of the things I need to do and want to do. It is at first frenetic energy and thought processes and then it becomes more relaxed and I can sit for hours just listening to the sounds, recognizing tree branches and rocks, and letting my brain stop thinking so hard about things for a bit. It’s nice to slow down. 

The first thing I do when I get back to “service range” is check my phone. Texts, emails, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Discord, and then NPR. I get overwhelmed by this easily. When I’ve been away and come back it’s like taking a sip of Dr. Pepper after not having had one in a while. It’s a shock to the senses. We are bombarded by messages constantly and while we were in the pandemic, we were expected to answer all of those messages because it was our outlet to the world. That has and hasn’t changed now that we’re opening up. That frenetic energy of change is happening among us now. Suddenly people have an interest in camping. I’m in California camping now and people keep talking about how they are busier than they have ever been. Suddenly people want to get away from the messages and sit. Yes, the Dr. Pepper is good but it’s best if we start with just a couple of sips. Yes, social media and the news can all be a bit much when we’ve been away, but we can leave NPR for later. 

As we start to come back from our time in the Zoom wilderness, I’ve been setting aside some time for myself doing the things I love. I decided not to take classes this summer so I could recharge and focus on rebuilding the ministries I so dearly love. I’ve set aside time for reflection and personal healing. One thing I’ve been reflecting on is, “what is something I will continue to do for myself that I learned to do in the pandemic?” For me, it’s having a project to work on with my hands. I like to refinish furniture and I’m currently working on creating a camper van so I can go out beyond cell phone range, but still have a Dr. Pepper. What kind of time would you set aside for yourself so that it’s easier to cleanse your palate when the Dr. Pepper is too sweet and the NPR is too loud?