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During the pandemic, Lisa Simmons forgot to look for the very encouragement she told others to seek: the Wonder and Awe moments.

Just recently, my daughter who owns her own fitness coaching/consulting/encouragement business (OhMyFitness.com; yay you girl!) asked me along with several other of her business associates and friends, to write encouragement notes that she calls "Everything Counts Cards." 

They are beautiful little encouraging words from business ideas to personal affirmations that she posts every week to help her clients, friends, business associates and family. The note I sent her was about one of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit because it is my favorite gift: Wonder and Awe.

2020 0612 LSimmons 1"Take a Wonder and Awe moment every day. Thrill at the pink of a sunrise, a freshly budding flower or the shape of a cloud and let it give you peace."

It was by taking Wonder and Awe moments during each day that fueled my determination to help people get through these months of quarantine, even though I have not been in quarantine. I work for my local parish office and so have gone to work every day to livestream the daily Mass and post daily meditations, make videos for novenas and Holy Week, and update all of our social media and website information. So while I felt very lucky that I have been able to leave the house every day and go to work … the effects of the ongoing pandemic eventually began to crack my facade.

I began to get tired and, worse yet, forgot to look for the very encouragement I told others to seek: the Wonder and Awe moments. My determination had begun to falter. It was dangerous to let myself get overworked and stressed out because that leads to forgetting that God is in charge. And that is exactly what happened. I forgot God was in charge. I suddenly didn't feel like going to work. I wanted to stay home and I didn't feel like helping anyone anymore. Just in time came a holiday weekend, and as a diversion to my worries and stress, I picked up a book I am writing.

It is a historical fiction novel about my mom's family who emigrated from Germany in the 1840s. Wow, talk about rough life. My great-great-grandparents left all their family behind and took their seven children on board a small sailing vessel for an 8-week journey to a new land. Then they traveled up the Mississippi River to the Missouri River, bought land sight unseen, then literally began carving out a farm and building a log home. What kind of courage does it take to do that? It takes courage and trust in God.

It was these ancestors who gave my family our faith. They brought over their Catholic faith from Germany and passed it down through all these generations to me and my family. It is a beautiful faith of trust in God. It was also a faith of Wonder and Awe, as I can remember Grandpa telling me about the stars and how he couldn't wait to get to heaven to see them from the other side. He died when I was 7 years old, but I still remember him telling me his wish. And it is that very Wonder and Awe I have tried to pass to my own children.

2020 0612 LSimmons 2We think we can make this pandemic go away ourselves or that we can control everybody's movements and behavior. Yet for centuries people have endured disease, poverty, and bad storms. Yet they continued to live life because, well, what else are you supposed to do? You don't stop being born, you don't stop getting married, finding a job, or building your life because of an epidemic. You get up and go with trust in God that one way or another life will go on. Our ancestors found the Wonder and Awe in life.

So even during these times of worry and being scared, we MUST remember to trust God and open our eyes to the Wonder and Awe moments we are given every day! I look for one every day again and am getting more rest and letting go. God has so much to show us if we just let go and let Him take care of us.

Copyright 2020 Lisa Simmons

Images (top to bottom):

Ylanite Koppens (2019), Pexels.com, CC0/PD
Copyright 2020 Laura Voss. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Ylanite Koppens (2019), Pexels.com, CC0/PD