If you need some good news in your life, this post is for you! Today, I am sharing about a blessing that came to my family amid this coronavirus chaos. I intend to give you hope and to help you reexamine the gifts of your life.
Two weekends ago, the government of Antigua and Barbuda issued a nationwide curfew to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The mandate required that we remain indoors between the hours of 8:00 PM and 6:00 AM. As someone who likes exercising outdoors at 5:00 AM, the curfew made me adjust my schedule.
While at the playground, it hit me. The Saturday after the announcement, I went to the park and trained capoeira at 9:00 AM. In the center court at the local park is where I heard God’s voice.
When I train capoeira, I listen to playlists with capoeira music, hip-hop, and motivational speeches laced with instrumental tracks. At one point during my exercise session, J Cole’s 2014 song, “Apparently,” played. The lyrics of the chorus include, “I don’t know why you call on me. Apparently, you believe in me, and I thank you for it."
Earlier that morning, before going outside to exercise, I moved some of my family’s things into a new home. Our latest home rental is a bold faith decision and a dream come true. The house has three bedrooms, an office space, and a massive yard with a private pool. It is a more expensive rental than our previous place, but this beautiful home meets my family's needs with bonuses.
When my family chose to leave the US in 2016 to live in Mexico, we had no idea of the financial consequences following that lifestyle decision. We lost our US home to foreclosure and mismanaged our business income, emergency savings, and inheritance resources. One week before we planned to return to the US and live with my parents, I received an email for the job offer in Antigua.
We had a ROUGH transition to Antigua. When we first arrived, the five of us shared a king-size bed in a one-bedroom temporary housing arrangement. Then we moved into a spacious three-bedroom apartment that had rats! In addition to the housing challenges associated with moving to the Caribbean islands with limited income, my wife and I went to bed hungry on multiple nights, because we couldn’t afford groceries.
Other setbacks occurred, but this message is supposed to be positive, right?!
Moving into our latest home despite the pandemic is a blessing and a courageous testament to our faith in God. The property’s landlord accepted our offer at less than the asking price. Between my job that is not laying me off, my wife’s growing copywriting business, and good health, we believe that we can afford this rental, eliminate debt, and contribute to worthy causes.
Since writing a draft for this post and returning a couple of days later, the curfew has changed to a 24-hr lockdown. Only essential services are open with limited hours for two weeks. Going to the grocery store and attending medical appointments are among the few exceptions to the lockdown. Violators face fines and jail time.
While I am grateful for the home upgrade, I cannot escape thoughts about people without my family’s resources. For families that rely on daily jobs for food and shelter, this is a tough season. I am hopeful that a long-term remedy to COVID-19 will surface soon and that these economic challenges encourage education and healthcare improvements.
In some odd way, this pandemic is strengthening my life’s callings.
Through capoeira, I inspire healthy lifestyle choices and awareness. Before COVID-19, I taught free classes at the university and a local beach. Once restrictions are lifted, I will continue my community outreach work with capoeira.
I am serving as an instrumental faculty member at the university and leading my department’s eLearning transition. From my experiences with social media in Mexico to the courses I consumed in instructional design, I have crucial skills to create online learning resources. Through preparing students to join the medical field, I am part of a team dedicated to helping improve healthcare.
Rona is also teaching me to be more grateful.
Lines to enter the grocery store are not enjoyable, but I have employment that helps pay for food. My home’s wireless connection is slow, but I have internet access. I don’t own the CDC recommended P95 face mask, but I do have the pictured Jet Blue eye mask to help me play a role in preventing the spread of the virus.
What are the blessings in your life that this pandemic helps you to realize?
God's voice called out to me in that playground two weeks ago to confirm that I am here in Antigua for reasons bigger than myself. I must play an active role in my family. Writing, speaking, and vlogging are my gifts for inspiring reflection, awareness, and action. Sharing capoeira with others is not an option. Investing time and energy into my university work is vital in impacting global communities.
My life has a purpose. Your life has a purpose, and it is possible to experience more clarity and increased gratitude during this world crisis. Try keeping a journal to support clearer thinking about your current location in life.
We can achieve feelings of bliss surrounded by the sadness of today’s reality. To transform the debilitating powers of stress into productive actions, we must accept our problems and use them to fuel us in meaningful work. This feat is not easy, but we can allow our emotions to push us into extracting the greatness placed inside us by The Creator.
Let’s give thanks for today and use this seclusion to gain more awareness of the gift that is life. You and your family are in my positive thoughts and prayers. Sign-up for my email list and share this post with one person via email or social media.