Hello from Ohio!!!!!
Yes, the air is crisper, the sky is bluer, the stars more vibrant, (the prices cheaper), and my spirit is absolutely exploding with joy! Maybe that’s because I’m in the Heartland…or maybe that’s because my heart is so full right now.
Yep – right now, it’s Monday afternoon. 3:00 pm. And I’m sitting in precisely the same spot I sat down in at 8:00 am when I began trying to write this post. And my delay is not because of any writers’ block of any sort – no way, no how. It’s because I’ve been having too much fun with my mom, going through the photos from this past weekend!
If you’re following me on Instagram, (then you’ve seen all my fun videos and photos,) and are “in the know” that a particular gentleman joined me for my first trip back to visit my family since Christmas! This morning I took him to the airport, but I will be staying for the rest of the week for a few more days of family time!
So yeah – that is why I’ve been slow to write this post: because I’m having too great a time reliving the memories from the weekend with a gentleman I care a lot about 🙂
We saw my hometown, the downtown, ate at some beautiful restaurants, walked around Findlay Market, but mainly – we just hung out with my family — my brothers, their wives and kids, and of course, my parents. There were bonfires, family dinners, foosball tournaments, and of course, the happiest of happy hours.
And honestly, it was amazing. I wish I had a rewind button so I could turn back the clocks and do it all again!
But there was one episode this weekend that really stood out.
And that was when we went down to church on Sunday morning at the Cathedral in downtown Cincinnati.
It had been the first time I had physically been to Mass since lockdown began in March. My special gentleman and I have been digitally attending Mass with Fr. Mike Schmitz every week, but haven’t actually been inside a church in over seven months. Talk about a shock to the system.
I don’t know if you have been back to physical church services yet, but it was a bit surreal. On the one hand, it felt completely normal…just like putting on an old, worn-in pair of your most comfortable sweat pants. In fact, there were a few times that I would catch myself forgetting that we were even in a pandemic.
But on the other hand, I was completely on edge the entire time. Just the visual of the pews “taped off” for social distancing purposes, and seeing all of the people in masks, was a stark reminder that — a lot has happened since the last time I was in those pews.
And to be honest, I wish I could sit here and say how moving of an experience it was, and share how my knees went weak when I stepped inside and breathed in that “church air.” But truthfully, I was so preoccupied with listening for coughs, or feeling anxious about people singing — even while masked — that I hardly had a “moving worship experience” at all. I mean, for a good chunk, I found myself doing some mental calculations, given the Ohio COVID percentage rate and the number of people in attendance.
However, I will say, that it was really special to be next to my particular gentleman. I found myself being so grateful that he was there, and that we have a shared faith that matters to us. That I will say, really cut through all the mental gymnastics I was caught up in because of COVID.
But there was one thing that the priest said that really stuck with me. He was talking about how we need to be missionaries to each other. He was saying how every single one of us can bring Christ’s light and Christ’s message to everyone we interact with on a daily basis. We don’t have to fly to the far corners of the world to make a difference in the Kingdom of God: we can do it in our own backyards. We can be missionaries right here.
And looking around at all the people in their masks, I thought to myself – this is so needed.
During this time, when human interaction is marred with fear, and distrust, and anxiety and coldness — being Christ’s light to each other is precisely what will get us through this time.
What a difference it would make, where — behind the masks and through the eyes — we could bring His warmth and love? During this time, when we’re all physically unable to be with God in worship at church, and many of us – myself included – are feeling spiritually dry and deserted, offering His love to those we have the privilege of *safely* interacting with is one of the most important works of mission we have right now.
Our spirits are fragile. Especially when we feel isolated, alone, fearful or discouraged.
Together, as one family in Christ, we can strengthen each other up by being His hands and feet, even in a socially distanced way.
So now, if you excuse me, I’ve got a cup of tea to attend to with my mother.
Thank you for all you prayers as I’ve been traveling.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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A big thank you to my foundational sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. I cannot begin to express how beneficial therapy was for my recovery from anorexia. Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.
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