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Is There Any Good 2020? If You Say “Yes,” Don’t Feel Guilty

When my son died by suicide back in 2015, I was halfway through a four-year term as a municipally elected official. For the two years remaining in my term, I felt overwhelmed and stressed. Life was not a good place for me. My son’s death had left me questioning my faith and I felt like I had no solid place to plant my feet.

The next couple of years were spent hustling for work, dealing with a husband who had just undergone his second brain surgery and, well, trying to survive. I remember wanting the world to stop and let me off. There were days I didn’t want to be alive. Not that I wanted to die, but I was just so tired, I didn’t want to face life.

I remember calling out to God and asking him for some relief. We couldn’t afford for me to take any time off; we had no money for a holiday or to allow downtime from work. Then, in December of 2018, I had a stroke. The doctors couldn’t tell me why it had happened as I didn’t have high blood pressure or any family history. The conclusion was it had to be stress.

I went home from the hospital on December 24 and felt even more helpless. My life and the pressure I was under was killing me and I had no idea what to do about it. I started listening to Scripture as I went to sleep at night, letting the affirmations bathe my being as I slept. I tried to practice mindfulness and taking deep breaths throughout the day.

The year 2019 was spent this way; hanging on by a thread, aware something had to give but feeling unable to find a way to cope. Everything seemed like such a Band-Aid solution, even though I was doing everything I could think of to do. I prayed for peace, my parents prayed over me and so did my husband. And through it all, I cried out for peace and for the world to just stop and let me off.

I was on a carnival ride, flying through space, with no control over my surroundings or what was happening to me.

I Finally Got Off the Carnival Ride

Then, in early 2020, the coronavirus disease 2019 hit North America. Within weeks, everything was on lock-down and we were stuck at home. The world ground to a stop. My prayers were answered, and I had the opportunity to get off the merry-go-round.

In Canada, the federal government created a program that gave $2,000 per person to those whose employment or business was impacted by the virus. Both my husband and I qualified. Then, the banks began to offer a 6-month deferral for all qualifying mortgages. Suddenly, for the first time, we had enough money coming in regularly (we are both self-employed) to pay our bills.

Like many people, we began ordering our groceries and using curbside pick-up. All our appointments and meetings were canceled. Time was abundant. And there was no point stressing about money or what the future held. My life was completely out of my hands and I wasn’t competing with the world anymore—because we were all in the same position.

I slept in, spent time with my husband, and went for walks with my daughter. We suddenly, abruptly had plenty of time. I took online courses on topics I had been interested in but didn’t want to “waste” the time on because it didn’t make any money.
I also began online sessions with a psychologist to deal with some of the residual trauma from finding my son. I read novels and I even wrote a novel.
The stress and anxiety I had felt seemed to roll off me in waves. I no longer had a low-level current of anxiety running through my body.
A sense of peace and contentment reigned in our house.

I Felt Like I Had to Keep It Secret

But the downside was I felt bad because so many people were suffering. People were dying, losing loved ones, shutting down their businesses, and getting behind in their bills.
I kept quiet when others expressed their pain and frustration. I felt it would be insensitive to talk about the positive things that were happening in our house and our lives.
Then, one day it hit me like a ton of bricks. God had done something amazing. The global pandemic didn’t happen just so I could deal with my life, but incredible things came about as a result.

I was keeping quiet about how God’s hand was working in my life for fear of offending someone.

When something life-changing like this happens, I should be shouting it from the rooftop. Why was I so afraid of letting people know about something so major? I was feeling good and my stress level was as low as it had been in years; I felt as though life had meaning. Because I could breathe, I was experiencing God’s presence and hearing his voice.
The fact that so many people were struggling did not negate my experience. And guess what? When I started telling people about my positive experiences, a strange thing happened. People were happy for me. Not only were they happy for me, but they were also inspired. Hearing about the things God was doing in the lives of other people gave them hope. Knowing that God was bringing good out of this negative, dark time was a spark of light in the dead of night for the people who heard my story.
So, if you are one of the smaller segments of the world who has had positive things come out of this pandemic, don’t keep quiet about it. Speak up and speak your truth, who knows, maybe someone out there needs to hear it.

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Carla Howatt is the mother of three adult children, two cats, and a husband. As a former politician, a 20-year communications professional, and a serial entrepreneur. She now runs a blog called Once a Parent, which focuses on being the parent of an adult child.

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