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REENTRY

In an effort to try and put these thoughts in writing, I have turned my laptop off and back on, grabbed more coffee just to let it get cold, and gotten fresh water and blueberries for mental acuity more times than I can count.


I think it’s difficult because I’m sharing more vulnerability this time; and I’m not sure that I even understand all of it. So, if you’re afraid to keep going, I understand, and will not feel hurt (well, maybe just a little).


I’ll start out by being blunt...I have reentry anxiety. What I’ve been longing for, what we’ve all been longing for, for such a very long time is right over the horizon - we can actually begin to see a light at the end of this dark tunnel. So, why does my stomach hurt more than it did this time a year ago?


I am very much an introvert, though I don’t fit into everyone’s definition or understanding of that term. So, the thought of being forced to “stay in and hunker down” for a while didn’t seem too alarming at this time almost exactly one year ago. But, of course, none of us thought this would go on this long, did we?


Now, the thought of gathering again in large groups, or even semi-large ones, gives me feelings of panic. Don’t get me wrong, I have greatly missed being with people and doing things together. I am a hugger. It has been a tremendous wasteland for hugging since March of 2020.


So, putting on my psychologist’s hat - always a dangerous move - I’m trying to determine what all of these feelings mean or represent. First, and this should’ve been listed right after or right before introvert, I’m also a germaphobe. Let’s review...I’m being asked to stay inside in my warm, cozy home; read, write, cook, and be all introspective without having to come up with small talk and chit-chat while at the same time avoiding germs. Especially these new, very frightening germs that we know absolutely nothing about, except that people are dying! This seems easy enough. But, of course, I didn’t stop to think about how this also meant separation from family, and (once again) hugs, and the warm feeling of gathering in church together on Sunday mornings or around the “supper tables” on Wednesday evening - this is family, too. Even more than we ever imagined.


Fortunately or unfortunately, for better or worse, many of us are forever changed from this pandemic. I’m sure you’re uttering a pretty loud “duh” at this point. The reason I use the terms fortunately or better, is because there have been many amazing moments and an awful lot of sweetness throughout this past year.


I like to “blend in” and become part of the background a lot of the time; I enjoy doing the work even when there is no pay or recognition. However, as “disappearing” became a prerequisite for continuing to live in 2020, I found it to be less a part of who I truly was as a person. Some of those feelings came from a sense of inadequacy and negative self-talk. So, with more time to just BE with myself and God, I started to find out a lot of things about me that I didn't know existed.


I absolutely love to write - whether or not I’m that good at it doesn’t really matter. So, I started writing, a lot. I discovered there’s a lot more to church and my faith than just physically attending a service once or twice a week. And I have truly felt God’s presence and that he has been speaking to me during this time. Not in a burning bush or awakening to a loud voice in the middle of the night kind of way - well, maybe some of the middle-of-the-night stuff did happen, just not loudly. I’ve heard others say they knew God had been speaking to them, and my reactions have typically been: Wow, why not me, God? Or, that’s a little strange and hard to believe. I think even my family and some of my closest friends have been a little worried about me at times, though they don’t always express it that way. But the funny thing is, I feel like I’m becoming who Janice is meant to be and it really shouldn’t be alarming to me or anyone else. It’s a shame that I had to be in my 60’s before discovering some of these things, but hey, age is just a number, right?


I’m thinking that along with a little bit of the germaphobia returning and having to be “on” again and busy again in so many ways, accomplishing big things, my fear is that some of this wonderful self-discovery and acceptance of myself as I am will disappear. I’m not speaking of putting myself before others, or thinking more highly of myself than I should. But I would enjoy never again hearing those messages in my head that I’m not good, intelligent, or strong enough; and by golly, people really like me. (I think I borrowed some of that.)


So, I ask my friends and family, be patient with me during this reentry phase. Know that I really am excited about the thought of being with you and I want and long to do so many things. I just need some time. I will get there. But I may not be exactly the same, and you may not be either. And that is okay! We will love and hug each other anyway.


Thanks be to God for all that is, has been, and will be!



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nascatpat
nascatpat
Feb 27, 2021

I look forward to hugging you!! As a sister, you're completely and totally "good enough"!🌹

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Laura Paquette
Laura Paquette
Feb 27, 2021

Love you mom. You've always been good enough for me! <3

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