2020… Where to begin? I acknowledge there has not been a single soul in the world that has not been impacted by COVID-19, countless individuals far more intensely and consequentially than I, so I hesitated at my best friend’s suggestion for me to blog my experience for solidarity, that perhaps someone could read this, relate, and feel better.
Late 2019, after discussing and praying with my close ones for months and years, I finally decided to take a leap of faith and resign from my secure yet monotonous job with no potential for growth on January 2, 2020, and leave Nebraska, where I had resided for nearly half a decade, on January 8, in search of greater opportunities outside the minute city of Kearney. Without any prospects, I agreed to temporarily relocate to Atlanta, Georgia, with my brother and sister-in-law, and a week later visited family in Korea for 3.5 weeks. I remember casually asking my parents going up an escalator at a mall, “Did you hear about that coronavirus in China?” Upon my return to America, I was determined to meet people and land a new and more meaningful role that could lead to a lifelong career, right after which we heard about the first cases of the coronavirus in the state of Washington and soon after the entire country shut down. Subsequently, many of the positions I had applied for were paused and canceled, and companies laid off employees rather than hire. Even without this disadvantage, I understood firsthand the difficulty of securing an ideal job by simply submitting an application and resume online, as most bigger employers utilize artificial intelligence to filter resumes by keywords and many of them focus on whom you know instead of what you know, why I planned to physically interact with people and present my potential in person; I know most of my applications were not read by real people. In fact, I had already begun applying for new jobs online years before I left the Nebraska chapter of my life behind, and since I started, I am confident I have applied for at a minimum 10,000 jobs online, no hyperbole. I have had countless unsuccessful interviews, the vast majority of which went as smoothly as I had hoped, and most interviewers who promised to follow up never did unless I moved forward in the application process, leaving me hanging. No matter how optimistic I try to be, being rejected by easily thousands of jobs, where I would think even by luck I should have landed one, while being stuck indoors alone as an extrovert, maintaining a positive and grateful attitude has been a superhuman task. I have had chances to accept a few positions that practically need no degree or prior experience, and each time I had to remind myself this is not why I left my previous job, to go ten steps backwards. Some of my close ones felt God was calling me to start my own business, and I prayed and prayed for an idea if this were true, with nothing in return. Eager to stay busy, I have been voluntarily mentoring high-school students with their college applications and essays. More than anything, I needed my own space, and, even though I had the financial means of affording my own apartment, Atlanta requires you to make three times the rent or have a year’s worth of rent on your bank account to be eligible, leaving me no choice but to continue living in my brother’s apartment. I have not been able to unpack most of my possessions for a year due to the lack of space, and each time I thought about moving out, at one point even stuffing most of my property in my car for a couple of months, something popped up that prevented me from doing so. Not being allowed to physically go to church but rather having to rely on virtual services and missing out on the Berlin Marathon exacerbated the frustration.
In all of these aforesaid ordeals, I know the biblical and typical Christian answers, mainly be thankful for what I have instead of complaining about what I do not have, which have carried me through most of my life, but for the past half a year I noticed a gap between these standard answers and the way my heart feels. I left Nebraska certain God confirmed my taking that next step, and now I find myself wondering if I was really talking to myself and feeding myself words I wanted to hear. This has created a domino effect and made me question everything, whether God directs my path or I make my own while He offers support, do I actually have a purpose in life when everything I try to do seems to fail and He does not provide any clarity, and such. I would be embarrassed to go to Heaven and see my Father now when I have not done anything for Him, which makes me frequently fantasize about never having been conceived or had an existence. I have mastered the art of justifying anything over the years, but with regard to the waste of all of 2020, I cannot, at least so far. I feel disappointed that, when God saw this pandemic coming, He did not help me make a wise decision to stay when I had been praying consistently for His will for years prior to taking this action and has not given me an option to fix this error for an entire year and who-knows-how-much-longer. I often visualize leaping (of faith) and faceplanting. Nothing bothers me more than the reality this pandemic occurred almost immediately after I left my previous position; if we would have found out slightly sooner, I would have remained in Nebraska. Perhaps all of these questions are an essential part of my faith journey. I had never questioned my faith and still do not; I only wonder if my actions are based on my worldly preference rather than God’s will and I am too distracted and/or foolish to discern which is which. Only time will tell. 2020, I will not miss you.