Oh, What a Year pt. 1

It’s been a whole year of being locked down and now I finally reflect on what the year has meant.

As the anniversary of the pandemic reached the U.S. and the anniversary of when S.F. was put into lockdown, I thought I would do a mini-series of reflections of what I have learned over the year. Reflections, laments, joys, surprises- All of these themes I’m sure will come up as I sort out this past year.

It has been one whole year since the pandemic interrupted our lives. Now, before I reflect over the course of this year, let me take you back a couple of months prior to COVID-19 rampaging our country.

I had just left a school I was teaching at and while teaching is my passion and joy, it can sometimes be choked by certain systems. And yet, little did I know that I would be walking into, and leaving shortly thereafter, one of the greatest experiences of management, and team cooperation. The contrast between the school, and Equinox was very noticeable.- Under adequate and healthy management, a team can thrive.

I loved every second of my experience at Equinox. From orientation week- meeting a bunch of trainers from all over the bay all focused on becoming the best trainer, to meeting some high-class managers and top tier trainers leading us in sessions, to the actual experience.

My manager was grade-A. She was kick-ass in all that she did. Monique was phenomenal in her work and I appreciate how she took care of all of us trainers on the daily.

The team around me was also kick-ass. Monique, Morgan, Mikey, they were all a guy needed to succeed.

Needless to say, my experience there was nothing short of a dream job in a dream career in a dream field.

Then BOOM. COVID-19 came-a-knockin’.

I remember the last day I stepped out of those Equinox doors for what it seems to be the last time.

Fishermen’s wharf was EMPTY! And if you know anything about the Wharf, it is anything but empty! I have grown up in S.F. my whole life and I never found it empty, it was always buzzing with tourists walking around, shopping, and locals trying to get some IN-N-OUT.

We ate at an Italian restaurant and they had already closed off parts of their indoor dining and unbeknownst to us, that would be the new norm for a year to come.

That’s interruption #1 and the first reflection of the series. Stay tuned!

The Blessing of Interruptions

How different would our lives be if we started to see the interruptions in our lives as a blessing? An opportunity to nose dive into life and there would we find deeper sources of vitality.

Now, I know that might sound like a strange title but hear me out–

We all succumb to the ever frustrating interruptions of our daily lives– kids, traffic, illness, weather, — you name it– and that usually sounds like adults who have grown old, and have become bitter.

But what about a global pandemic that literally shifted the way we do life.

This pandemic might be the biggest life-altering interruption we will ever face. Traffic, and bad weather impeding our travel plans seem minuscule in comparison to being locked down for an entire year.

What if the interruptions are actually blessings, and opportunities?

Allow me to submit this- What if the interruptions are our vocation? Vocation is another word for purpose, or mission. What if the interruptions are our work? What if the interruptions are actually blessings, and opportunities?

Henri Nouwen says it best –

“But what if our interruptions are in fact our opportunities, if they are challenges to an inner response by which growth takes place and through which we come to the fullness of being?”, “What if all the unexpected interruptions are in fact the invitations to give up old fashioned and outmoded styles of living and are opening up new unexplored areas of experience?”

And what, exactly, would we be moving into if we saw these interruptions as blessings?

If we have the courage to see the beauty and blessings of interruptions- our lives would move from fate to opportunities, hurts become warnings and boundaries, and stagnancy an invitation to search for deeper sources of life and vibrancy.

Seeing interruptions not just as fate, but opportunities, I can then experience life with a much deeper vibrancy

Maybe these interruptions- however frustrating they might be- are invitations and opportunities for us to loosen our grip on life, and our illusion that we were ever in control of it in the first place; that they are loosening our ties to the ground so our wings can spread freely wherever the wind carries us.

I, like you, am deeply saddened and frustrated at the vision I had for 2020 and the reality that was the pandemic. I take joy knowing that I have something to do about it- there is liberty in knowing I can respond.

When we start seeing interruptions not just as fate, but opportunities, we can then experience life with a much deeper vibrancy; to develop a new style, a new way of living only if we choose to view the interruptions (however big or small) as a blessing, and as an opportunity.