A Season of Faith

Aug 03, 2020

An eternal optimist faces the uncertainty of the unknown, but gains a sense of control with faith

Action/reaction. The world undoubtedly got weird and a little scary. It was time to fasten our seatbelts and choose how we were going to navigate it. I’ve shared before how I initially resisted because that’s my nature. I put on my ‘I can do it’ face and marched on. I’m always going to reach for the cheerier outcomes, and not give up on my eternal optimism. But it was hard, even for me — the eternal optimist.

I started to feel rattled and burdened. Changes were coming at every turn. You can’t open, no one in the restaurant, wear masks, stand 6 feet apart, no hugs, etc. Honestly, the hugging was the hardest for me. And I missed seeing faces now hidden behind masks. Where had all the smiles gone?

And fear snuck in…Will the business survive? Will I be able to support myself and my daughter? What about my staff? Sure, there were realities in what was happening. Life shifted…big time. I felt the kneejerk reaction to save, squirrel pennies and hoard supplies. I’ll admit, even I did a bit of stockpiling. But it didn’t make me feel better. It made me feel worse because I was reacting from fear.

Just as we started to get into a groove with new protocols and procedures something would change. And then came all the rumblings of round #2, a second wave! It’s hard to remain positive in the midst of all that. But I wasn’t going to let my fear take me or this beloved business down without a fight.

My secret weapon for this kind of battle: faith. Actually, it’s my answer to everything — and I had to get on board or hide in a corner. At times I did both.

Summer was coming — arguably our most beautiful, lively and lucrative season. It was when we worked hard, played hard, made new friends and saved for the cold winter ahead. Normally, in past years we geared up with big excitement and equally big plans. But this year, I felt like a deer caught in the headlights — frozen. I didn’t know which way to turn first. Open/close. Repair/shutdown. Expand/restrict. Laugh/cry.

Putting my summer prep plans on hold felt suffocating, but spending money scared me. Faith told me to stay the course…so I did. I carried on sprucing up our sweet space — painting, sanding, resurfacing, purchasing, cleaning, reimagining. Blind faith led the way. I wasn’t going to let go of my vision for the future (and it was bright). I knew if I constricted, if I stopped dreaming, creating and producing…I would shrink.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I really believe we are in this together and without you, your love, your take-out orders, your support and well wishes — none of this would have been possible.

But I also share this with you because an amazing thing happened when I shifted gears.

You know the old saying, “If you build it, they will come.”  This applies to you and anything you are facing too. How we experience the adversity is everything. Some call it law of attraction, manifestation…I call it faith.

Despite the rules, regulations and harsh realities COVID put forth, we carried on. I followed my gut, stayed the course. We ultimately opened the outside garden and Mother Nature blessed us with a summer of little rain and a bounty of flowers. We spread out tables and created new ways to keep our precious staff and customers safe. There was such joy to be had when we could be together again and serve meals on plates, not in takeout containers.

And an amazing thing happened, I even decided to close for 2 days a week to keep my staff healthy and rested. For many reasons we are operating on a limited staff. In the past I wouldn’t have even considered closing during the height of this busy season, but now, I see things so differently. It’s less about reacting and more about living.

When we make choices for the right reasons, I believe we are supported in ways we couldn’t have imagined. Somehow, we have managed to not just survive, but to thrive this summer even amidst all of this disruption. For this I give thanks every day. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of that. We feed each other.

I know you likely have your own version of this fear showing up as you are faced with reacting to circumstances. Just keep the faith and hold onto visions that give you a sense of freedom not constriction.

That’s faith, sweet friends. Let’s hold onto that together and for each other.

— Lea Haas, Owner, The Garden Café Woodstock

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