I am angry. I am tired of watching my friends suffer through nine plus months of unemployment. I am sick to my stomach standing by as valued coworkers are furloughed for the second time. I am exhausted by the laundry list and a half of things I have to figure out how to fit into a 24-hour day in order to keep my job. I am dreading the call that tells me, despite all that, I am no longer employed. I am outraged that God has allowed this to go on as long as it has.
Last week, our governor made the announcement I have been dreading. With the latest stay at home order, my industry is effectively shut down state-wide for the second time this year. No one is allowed to stay in a hotel, unless it’s for essential business. All restaurants have to close both indoor and outdoor dining. I have built a career around events, which have been banned since March. An already slim staff will be shaved down to the barest of bones in the next few days with another round of furloughs. How is this fair? Why, in this already difficult industry, have things become infinitely more challenging?
I feel so bad for my friends, and the difficult and unexpected turn their lives have taken. I am overwhelmed by the prospect of what will be asked of me to make up the difference amidst an infinitely exhausting year. And as I drove home along the coast last week, with the ocean a seemingly never-ending pit of darkness on my right, life seemed bleak, and the tears began to fall. They fell harder as I pointed my finger at God and demanded an explanation. They fell even harder still as I insisted that he bring this plague to an end. And they continue to fall as I recall how powerless I am to effect any change whatsoever.
In the moments when I gain control of my emotions, I reflect on how fitting it is that Advent has begun. This is probably the first time that I have truly appreciated this season. This year, the longing for a light amidst the darkness, the cries for someone to save us now, are all too real for me. I finally understand the need to confront the darkness of the Advent season before jumping into the celebration of Christmas. In that sea of darkness, a single beacon of light surrounds a baby in a manger…God incarnate, born in the most humble of origins. He came into this world for the sole purpose of pulling us out of our anger and darkness, and cloaking us in his righteousness and light. I am still powerless to stop this pandemic or the collateral damage it is causing, but I have something better, for the promised savior is coming. I will continue to cry for the state of this world, and for those who suffer, but I will also cling to the assured light ahead of me in the darkness, shouting “O come, Emmanuel!”