So sorry for not posting last week. I have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and last Thursday I had to talk about a Shakespeare poem detailing the rape and suicide of a Roman noblewoman. So, yeah, I wasn't exactly in a mood for blogging afterwards. I needed a nap.
Anyway, I made up for not posting by putting three consecutive Facebook Live videos up on our Facebook page. If you don't follow us on Facebook, you really should. You'll get notified about all our events and new blog posts. I'm pretty sure I came up with the username @DontRaidMyMonastery for the official Where the Clouds Catch Fire Facebook page when I was fifteen, so please don't judge me for it.
I did my Facebook Live videos because I was bored. Do you ever get so bored that nothing sounds good to do? I could read a book--but no, that's boring. I could write a story or crochet a bit--but no, that's boring. So you wind up playing on your phone until bedtime. That's about how I felt over the past couple of days. I was exposed to a certain disease and ordered to isolate myself from the rest of human society. And that's what I did. For two and a half days, I got my meals slid to me on a rolling desk chair. I had to sanitize the bathroom every time I used it. I Facetimed my mother, who was only a few rooms away from me.
The first day of quarantine, I went a bit crazy.
I was already pacing like a bear at the zoo when my arms started to move. I couldn't stop them. My insides were scrambled, and I felt panicky. My arms kept moving, as if of their own accord. I was doing something called stimming--short for self-stimulating. You do it when you're overwhelmed or bored. Normally, it's something like tapping your foot or wiggling your fingers or twirling your hair. Sometimes, though, it can get a bit excessive.
Now, I've dealt with anxiety for a good part of my life, so I immediately started deep breathing. It didn't help. So I went deeper, to the very root of the problem, and started singing a worship song.
It took a whole song, but I eventually stopped moving my arms. My feet grew still. My mind calmed down, and my heartbeat resumed its normal speed.
The next day, around five o'clock, I started feeling the same way. This time, I started worshipping before I started stimming, and the crisis was averted.
They say that hell is other people. I beg to differ--hell is the complete absence of other people. But even in isolation, even when I was confined to my bedroom so that a trip to the bathroom felt like an adventure, I wasn't quite alone. God was with me. It took me a while--I'm still not very good at it, but I'm better than I used to be--but I learned how to tap into God's presence. And you don't even have to say anything. You don't have to pray if you don't have anything to say. It's like flipping an inner switch, and you're on a porch swing with your best friend. There's peace on that porch swing, a sense of contentment and love. You feel like you mean something to Someone.
Sometimes, though, it's hard to flip that inner switch. You're too panicky, or angry, or frazzled to think straight. That's when it's handy to have a worship playlist on YouTube, or even a song that you've memorized. It directs your thoughts and your heart to a place where they can flip that switch and sit in divine peace for a moment.
I wish I could teach you how to flip that inner switch. The peace and companionship Jesus gives is the best thing in the world. It's better than sitting in a rocking chair with a baby sleeping on your chest--better than watching the sunset from your upstairs window. But I'm afraid this is something you'll have to figure out on your own. I hope you do!
I've got some good news, though. On September 11--not this Saturday, but the one after it--I'll be signing books at the Frontier Village Fall Festival in Denison, Texas! I can't wait to see you there. And you can't miss me. I'll be dressed like a Viking.
God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to Like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.