I just looked at my most recent post on this site: May 5. That’s crazy. If you’re wondering what happened, the honest answer is that I don’t know. COVID-19 came. It was pretty overwhelming at first. I wrote a few things. I made a few podcasts. And the wind in my sails vanished. I’m not sure what left me first. The creativity died and the desire to find more of this creativity left my bones all together. I didn’t want to create. I wanted to survive quarantine. I did that. But my mental health deteriorated. I am a person that does not function very well with uncertainty. The definition of the COVID Quarantine was just that: uncertain.
I didn’t grow spiritually on quarantine like I would have wanted to. This “summer” has been basically just me working and doing a few things on the side. Life became a monotonous grind because of COVID. Every day was the same. I sound like a huge baby writing this– I’m not trying to be. In all reality, my family was virtually untouched by COVID. But the bottom line is that I still felt the effects of the virus. I crept into this weird hole.
Sydney Kate Grubb and I started dating in 2018. Her extended family has been familiar to me for some years. I knew of her, but I didn’t know her personally. The perfect storm happened in 2018: I was single, I had been for some time, I thought she would be a good girl to take a shot on, and I knew it was low committal if she didn’t like me back. I swiped up on her Instagram story of a picture she had drawn, and with the words, “This is Sweet.” we began the chain reaction that would put us on a crash course to date forever. Let me just tell you: that’s been a jolly good time. We knew pretty early on that God was calling us together for marriage, that we would be ministry partners for the rest of our lives. That’s fun stuff. But we also have a lot of things that need to be in place for that to happen.
I had planned on proposing in April of 2020. This was long before COVID cancelled schools and sports across the country. This was before enrolling in graduate school– where I am now. That was my plan. I had dated Sydney Kate for two years, and I wanted to be engaged. I was itching to propose. I’ve dreamed of marriage for years. And I had finally found the girl I knew for certain was to be my best friend forever. And just like Caffeinated Christianity, just like spring sports, just like vacations, and just like countless other things: COVID ruined it.
So, the question that must be asked is two fold: why am I writing this blog now and what changed?
Well, let me fill you in.
Sydney Kate’s family had a much-loved figure– Paw Paw Puzie. Puzie lived in this little brick house out between some horse pastures in rural North Carolina. This house has been the sight of endless memories, holidays, and good times for their family. So, when Puzie passed away a few years ago, Sydney Kate’s aunt Beth and uncle Greg bought the house, flipped it, and now it’s their house. They still gather for holidays and birthdays and all sorts of stuff at this house. Now, something to note is that Sydney Kate, when we are both home, lives over two hours from me. So, when she comes down to see me, she stays at Puzie’s house with her family. It’s about a 25 minute drive. One evening in the summer of 2018, Sydney Kate and I were sitting in the driveway of that little house. I told her that night I had drawn the conclusion that I loved her tremendously– one of her favorite memories to talk about.
COVID took a lot of things from us. COVID canceled a lot of plans. But the thing is that these were all man-made plans. I wanted to get engaged in April. I wanted to spend the summer planning a wedding. I wanted to go on vacation. I wanted to go hiking. I wanted to do all sorts of things.
But that wasn’t God’s design.
The day was July 27. I had told Sydney Kate we had to get up early to eat breakfast so I could head home and help my dad. With the sunrise showing up in the distance, at that little brick house that Puzie used to live in, where I told Sydney Kate I loved her for the first time, I decided I would cure myself of the ills of COVID once and for all. I got down on my knee in that same spot in that driveway that I committed to loving Sydney Kate for the rest of her life, I pulled out a ring I worked so hard to pay for, and with tears in my eyes, forgetting everything I thought I would say, I just asked her if she wanted to marry me. And that’s when I was treated for COVID.
I’ve learned a lot of things these last few months. I’ve learned that no one in this country agrees on anything. I’ve learned that COVID is highly transmissible, but we also can’t really prevent the spread. I’ve learned how to do inventory at Home Depot. I’ve learned how to be a photographer– sort of. I’ve learned what my breaking points are. And most importantly, I’ve learned that I am a man of little faith. I learned that I was letting my circumstances control me because I wasn’t in recognition of who controlled the circumstances. All I had really wanted was a certain future with Sydney Kate to be actualized, and I couldn’t see that future through the fog of a pandemic. I was being doubtful, sinful, and hopeless. And God brought my back to the surface before I drowned in my own inabilities.
Christ new Puzie would live in that little brick house. He knew that Puzie’s family would include Sydney Kate Grubb. He knew that I would end up choosing to marry Sydney Kate Grubb. He knew I would want to get engaged in April, and He knew COVID would ruin that chance for me. But He also knew that sunrises on July mornings are a lot warmer and prettier than sunrises on April mornings. He knew me because He created me. And He knew He would call me to Himself. He knew COVID would take the wind out of my sails. And He knew only He could put the wind back in them.
He also knew Sydney Kate would say yes.
“What did you do over quarantine?”
I did absolutely nothing but worry.
“What did you learn over quarantine?”
I learned that God is ever faithful, politicians are mostly wrong, I’m a man of little faith, and I’m getting married next summer.
Welcome back to the site. God’s got big things in store.