Written by Camille Winton
I’ve always held onto the line “this is only temporary” for most unpleasant situations in my life. When I would fight with a friend or a family member, or when a boy broke my heart, I’ve always told myself “what you’re feeling is only temporary, you’ll be okay. Whatever that looks like, you’ll be okay.” But honestly, with the state of our world right now, that has been the hardest thing for me to believe during this time.
COVID-19, like for all of us, really flipped my life around. We were given forty-five minutes to grab what we needed from our office to work from home until further notice and couldn’t come back if we forgot something. New cases and the death toll of COVID-19 started climbing by thousands every day. People began to disregard the pandemic, protesting how they were told to help keep the public safe. I was, and still kind of am, terrified to go grocery shopping, and the ability to visit my parents (being fear stricken over them catching it because of Dad having cancer) was completely off the table. Needless to say, my anxiety was at an all-time high.
And then Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd were killed. I was beyond enraged and beyond heartbroken at more people of color being senselessly killed, but this time was so much more painful than anything I’d ever read or watched. We watched and listened to a man beg for his life and call out for his mother while being suffocated for no justifiable reason. We saw the stories of a man being shot and killed on a jog and a woman being murdered while she was asleep in her bed. Mr. Floyd’s last words echoed in my head every single day, and I honestly wanted to just break things. All my own experiences with police and with having racism thrown at me came flooding back. I started to watch people I love show their own racism in their responses to everything exploding. Violence absolutely erupted. Every emotion other than happiness was all I felt, from sun-up to sun-down. How can anyone possibly feel that things are going to be okay?
My best friend called me one day, and in the middle of my ranting and telling her what all I’d been feeling, she said something that really stuck with me. “Remember to try and find joy where you can.” What does that even mean, though? Where is joy when the world around you seems to be on fire, and your heart is completely shattered?
I found it in taking walks and playing new music and learning new songs to sing. Seeing people of all races and backgrounds and ages come out to support the cause against racial injustice and police brutality filled me with profound hope. Seeing my parents laughing and optimistic over video chat washed relief over my heart. I’d open my window and listen to the wind, or the rain, to feel peace. Having conversations with people and educating them on the issues and seeing them understand and want to learn….that brought me so much joy. Realizing I can lead by example by speaking with love, even to someone who disagrees with me about race and politics, albeit it tough, brought me a feeling of encouragement. Praying and talking to Jesus and casting my anxiety on Him…. man, talk about comfort. And who could forget the joy of ONLINE RETAIL THERAPY? My favorite little joy!
All this is to say, when things are really, really tough, do what you can to notice the joys around you and within. That can help you navigate through any adverse feeling and carry you through to the end of anything you face. I promise there is plenty around you to find, because things really will be okay, no matter what that looks like.
“…..weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning”