faith, Pandemic Wisdom

The Unexpected Guests

Early morning, I step outside to walk. I breathe deeply and feel the fresh air fill my lungs. I see the first pink and coral light of the sunrise to come. My spirit soars. All is well. God is close. Peace floods my heart.

Later, I take a look at Twitter and see some dire news about everyone’s health, the state of our economy, political angry discourse. I feel fear, a foreboding, an impending sense of doom.

At the grocery store, people come to close to me, breathing on me without masks. I feel irritation and then anger. I hold my breath until they get away. My anger builds along with my sense of asphyxiation and need for oxygen.

At home, I get a FaceTime call from my little grandsons. Talking at the same time they excitedly describe the picnic they had and that they are going home swim and skip a bath! I feel joy. I long to hug them and take them in just as they are today. I wish I was there, skipping a bath with them.

Later, with the evening news on, I feel almost unable to breathe, like the walls could be closing in. Is that panic? Anxiety? Should I run? Where would I go?

Maybe you are feeling a little like I am these days. My emotions seem all over the place. I can’t go anywhere to escape myself, much less what I feel. Some of the nagging passing thoughts and worries are now full blown real life concerns, so that doesn’t help.

I was helped today by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg’s book Nurture the Wow. She reminded me of the thirteenth-century Persian Sufi poet Rumi’s word about emotions. He likened them to “unexpected visitors” who show up at our homes. He writes:

Welcome and entertain them all! (feelings that is)

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,

Still, treat each guest honorably.

He/she may be clearing you out

For some new delight.

Rabbi Ruttenberg writes, When a feeling shows up, we should give it some space to do its thing….We should trust that these unexpected guest emotions won’t stick around forever. Nurture the Wow, page 84.

What a thought, honoring each feeling, as it is, whenever it shows up.

In this Covid season we are in, emotions are real, and for me, they show up often, a regular revolving door at my soul’s entrance.

I never thought to just welcome each one with open arms.

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, Mosa to Keller and Pace and breast cancer survivor. Go to for other blogs, upcoming speaking events, sermons and information about the Jesus Calling Weekly Prayer Call she helps to host each Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. CST. Sign up there for the Inner Circle Monthly Top Ten List which includes extra content and pictures each month. The June 1st issue has some exciting breaking news. Sign up by May 31 to receive it.

3 thoughts on “The Unexpected Guests”

  1. Cindy This really hit me. I am right in this crazy!!! All of the mixed emotions at the same tiMe, that in itself makes me anxious!! I am trying the welcoming of each….thank you for pouring out to so many of us.

    Have a great day.

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. It seems we are in a world of extremes-a rollercoaster of emotions. As society tries to return to “normal” it is hard to know what that is. Ir senses are heightened and not always in a good way. I sincerely pray that soon we’ll be off this rollercoaster. Highs, lows. I’d be happy with an average day.

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