One Year Ago

SavannahUncategorized 3 Comments

One year ago today, our world shut down never to be the same again. One year ago today, we were hopeful that it would be a short time before we were back to normal. One year today, we might have been excited to get a few days off work – I know I sure was. One year ago today, COVID-19 struck and took away so much from all of us.

I wasn’t going to write anything to document the day. I have a lot going on this weekend and honestly, who wants to relieve it all anyway? Then I realized that I needed to share. I need to share where I was then, where I am now, and the personal effect this has had on me. Future generations are going to be looking for real, life stories. Why not make mine heard?

March thirteenth started out like many other Fridays last school year, with substituting. I was filling in for one of the twos teachers that day. My grandfather had just passed away the week before and there was still a lot to process. (I had gotten to work in my class on Wednesday and Thursday, but it was a challenge.) The kids did great that day for it to be rainy and gross outside. My grandparents came into town for an appointment that weekend. When I came home from work, I finished filling out my college and FAFSA applications and sent them in. I knew it was a big day for that reason, but I never imagined how quickly it all would change. 

That night, we were all sitting around the dining room table after dinner playing card games. I got an email from my boss and immediately checked it. It said that we were going to take our spring break a couple weeks early and be off that next week. I was so excited. You could even say I was thrilled. 

As mentioned earlier, I was going through a lot during this time. I was beginning to have some frustration at work. I think a lot of it stemmed from the fact that I was hurt by a particular comment from someone outside of school who said that I would never be a good teacher. Then, facing the normal disrespect from students and comments from other coworkers (who were probably just having bad days or I misinterpreted what they meant), I started to feel that person was right. I’m not proud of it. I know my worth as a Christian, a teacher, or a person is not defined by someone else’s perception of me, but it was hard. I love my students every year with all my heart. I would do anything for them and want them to understand the intricate way that God loves them and wants their heart.

I was also dealing with the somewhat sudden death of my grandfather at the end of a battle with dementia and kidney failure. Our relationship was strained and had been for years. At the funeral and visitation, there were so many people coming up to my brother and I saying how much they loved him and how great of a man he was. We didn’t know the man that everyone else did. He was different around us. Then this downward spiral began of me wondering if I had it all wrong, if he really wasn’t the person I knew, if he did certain things because he felt trapped in a body that had essentially betrayed him. I had always thought that when his time really did come that I would be the strong one helping others cope. I was that person for Nathan, but my mom was that person for me. As someone who had known him longer than I had and didn’t see him through rose-colored glasses, she could help me process. Grief, like anything, is a journey and I’m still processing it today. 

So, these two big struggles in my life compounded to make it difficult to go to work and put a smile on my face around the kids. I didn’t feel like smiling. I felt like laying in bed or walking around the neighborhood thinking, praying, and working things out. It makes sense why I was on cloud nine when I received that email. I had no clue about the implications and I honestly thought it would give me a week to figure it out and then be back to my loving-life self. I was happy that I got time to do some self-care – something that had not happened in months at that point. I got up the next morning with a smile on my face and went to Starbucks and bought cupcakes for the whole family.

Fast forward three weeks and reality hit. I was back to crying myself to sleep because I couldn’t see my kids, my semester at Central Piedmont was going to be spent online, and most likely my first semester at UNCC was going to be online as well. I had applied for a ministry intern position over the summer and was excited that I had gotten the job, but terror had set it because how in the world was I going to be of any use during a pandemic. I couldn’t go to church and missed that interaction with others like I have never missed anything before. I felt disconnected from everyone and everything. That was when I made the choice to get down on my knees. I started praying and doing a Bible study every morning. It was so helpful and replenishing to my spirit. I prayed for my kids, I prayed for my coworkers, I prayed for my fellow students, I prayed for my church, I prayed for my family, and I prayed for a growth in my own strength.

One year later, I’m no longer coping. I’ve reached the point that I prayed for during those days. I am a good teacher who loves her students, loves God and is passionate about seeing their personal growth and success academically, socially, and cognitively. I’m a good granddaughter. I care for my family and pick up every time they call. I love them immensely and want to make sure they know that. I am Christian (I feel like I can’t determine whether I’m a “good” one or a “bad” one – that’s God’s choice, not mine). I am daily making the choice to follow Christ and do as He commands. It’s not easy and I often fall short, but I know that His love covers me in my weakness. I’ve learned so much more about prayer than I could ever imagine. It’s truly been restorative to my relationship with Christ and a daily reminder as to why He is all I need to make it through the day.

One year later, I’m happier, I’m healthier, and I’m *much* wiser. I’m thrilled to be back in-person with my students and hopeful that maybe next semester I’ll be in-person on campus too. I’m feeling fulfilled as a teacher and education major and I no longer daily doubt my abilities to do the job well. There’s still some doubts on occasion, though. I’ve made new friends that fill my mind with truth as the sweet Christian ladies they are. We smile, laugh, and share the joy of Christ together. To feel surrounded by an amazing Christian community everywhere I look, is all I’ve ever wanted. If that was all the good that came out of this pandemic season, I would be perfectly fine.

I don’t make this post to brag about my progress or how great my life is. I created this post to help myself process the struggles I’ve faced and to see my prayers come to fruition. I’m the kind of person who has to sit down and write it out to fully understand the beauty of what God has done. I hope that wherever you are in your processing journey you look to Christ for fulfillment, joy, and comfort. He is there waiting for you. One of my favorite verses during this time has been Isaiah 41:10 and I think it is the perfect way to wrap up. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10 ESV

Comments 3

  1. Savannah, You are growing into a beautiful Christian Girl and am very proud of your commitment and faith in God. When you mentioned your granddad, I wanted to tell you thinking of the really happy times you had with him – that will make you feel better. I know he was proud of you and loved you very much! Love you girl,
    Mama Shirley

  2. Savannah you are such a precious and beautiful spirit. We all face things every day that somehow causes us to see with different eyes of ourselves and others. But God only sees us as His children. He loves us and He will always make everything work to show His glory and presence with us!!! I love you girly. Keep it up

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