Life After Lockdown

Dear One,

In 2020, my word of the year was soar. I remember being dumbstruck when Spirit revealed its meaning to me in the form of an acronym:

Sweetheart
Open
And
Rise

The picture I received with this word was that of a grounded eagle, head down, giant wings folded across its chest in self-protection mode.

Sweetheart, open and rise: SOAR.

My current word of the year is embark and, as usual, it’s kicking my butt. This morning I was talking to a friend when two phrases related to my word unexpectedly dropped by for a visit (which they are known to do):

1. You run a tight ship.
2. Batten down the hatches.

Running a tight ship refers to none other than keeping firm control. Yep. Spirit called me out on that one for the thousandth time.

Batten down the hatches means to prepare for trouble. I learned from an online dictionary that it originated with the Navy and signified preparing for a storm by fastening down canvas over doorways and hatches (ie: any & all openings) with strips of wood called battens. Closed up tight for protection.

Anybody detecting a theme here, or is it just me???

When I read the above words, tears welled in my eyes. It seems I’m always anticipating trouble. Always preparing for problems. I’m locked down in self-protection mode both as an eagle or an embarking boat. Closed, due to expecting the worst.

I realize this is a result of having navigated plenty of storms in my life, but friend, what if the skies are blue? What if the waters have calmed and the sun is shining? What if I could both soar and sail instead of hiding out, holed up in fear? Such questions!!

My mind jumps to Noah, to one who knew what it was to batten down the hatches and hunker down in hiding for a season. After all, the storm was no joke! But even for him there came a day when the rains had passed. 

 “Noah opened the hatch of the ship … Then God said to Noah,
‘Come out of the ark, It’s time. Leave the ark now.'”
(Genesis 8:13-16)

What was it like for Noah to hear those words? It’s time, God says. Open up. Come out. Leave. 
 Dear precious one, there comes a time when our safe spaces become too small & suffocating, and we need to open a window or door. Hunkering down and hiding away serves us well for survival, but is not meant for our longterm living.

I wonder if Noah felt ready to leave the place that had kept him safe in the unruliness of life, because I sure don’t. How exactly does one do this (I’m asking you who have lived through the trauma)? If you read Genesis 8, you’ll see that for Noah it was in phases and stages. Wise. A window. A hatch. A door. More time. And then the leaving. Opening need not happen all at once. 

When I began this letter I did not have our pandemic in mind, but perhaps this is a question for our time. How does one reopen after living through the relentless?

If I could talk to Noah right now, I’d ask him: What was it like for you to open the window? Open the hatch? Open the door? What was it like for you to open – period?? To reopen after the relentless?

Noah, how does one enter life after lockdown?
Life after Lockdown: Our Little Life Words of the week.  

———————
DEEPER DIVE
———————

Ponder:

  • When & why have you needed to run a tight ship or batten down the hatches? What relentless have you lived through (or are living in)?
  • What fears do you experience when considering reopening or reemerging?
  • What would help you feel safe?

Practice:

  • Last week, our spiritual practice revolved around picking things up and putting them down (you can read that here). This week, I invite you to go around your house opening and closing things: drawers, windows, doors, etc. Each time you do, say it aloud: “I close things tight and open them wide.”
  • What do you notice as you do this?

Play

  • Our song of the week is: No Longer by Nichole Nordeman

Pray:

  • A borrowed prayer from Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid I will trust in You.”
  • Might I pray for you? Just follow this link to a brief audio prayer related to our words this week.

Friend, as I write this I’m thinking about my dear, dear husband. I jokingly tell him he suffers from ACD: Anti-closure disorder😂. He’s great at opening things, but not so good at closing them. It appears I’m his opposite. Maybe, just maybe, I need to take a page out of his book. You, too?

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