I had it all planned out. Upon my return, I knew one of my glowing Golden Life Musings reviews would follow. After all, I carefully researched, selected, and booked this beautiful 5-star luxury resort. It was the perfect destination for my dear friend’s bachelorette weekend. We all needed this celebratory getaway and break from reality, if only for a few days.

I posted Instagram and Facebook stories documenting our journey, starting with the private car to the airport. The arrival and check-in at the resort were first class. Being preferred club guests, we were whisked away to a private check-in experience where we enjoyed champagne and light fare while the staff prepared us for our stay. 

I did the usual video tour of my beautiful ocean and pool view suite that I planned to post later. My first priority was changing into my swimsuit and meeting the ladies at the beach. The bath-like beach water, the warm sun setting on our backs, the laughs and connection with friends, some of whom we hadn’t seen since before the pandemic…everything was perfect. We enjoyed a lovely dinner at the steakhouse followed by a restful night’s sleep. A leisurely morning gave way to a delightful seaside breakfast.

Then the reality of the times broke our stride, as we prepared to take our covid-19 tests for our return trip home. As we sat masked up in the cold, uninviting conference room space turned testing site, my dear friend and roommate and I chatted about the craziness that the last year and a half brought while we awaited our release back to our vacation with our negative rapid results. 

Even though I knew logically it was possible, nothing could prepare me for the fact that one of us would not have a negative result. Instead of handing us our paperwork and letting us walk out the door as we saw the dozen or so ahead of us do, a staff person greeted us and asked us to follow her around the corner. I immediately knew something was wrong. She sat us down, handed my roommate the paperwork indicating her results were negative, then she handed me my results and said those awful words, “Your results came back POSITIVE.”  

The moments beyond that were a bit of a blur, but immediately a litany of thoughts rushed my brain. “How is this possible?” “I don’t feel sick at all.” “But, I’m vaccinated.” “How can I take another test to prove this one wrong?” “Why is this happening?”

Within an hour, I took a PCR test, which is more conclusive. Within another hour I was being escorted to another suite on the opposite side of the property. From that moment on I was left alone with my thoughts and the sinking feeling that I might actually be sick. Adding insult to injury, I soon realized that I would miss moments I could never get back. The results from the PCR test would not arrive until late the next evening, the night before our return home. Everything that I carefully researched, planned, and paid for, I would miss.

As a single, extroverted woman, the isolation brought on by the lockdown was already enough. Now, here I was trapped in a room (to which I had no key), by myself in a foreign country until the results of my PCR came back. Feeling like a leper, the hotel staff delivered me room service through a private box in my closet. None of this was helpful to my mental health state. On multiple occasions, I mumbled, “This is just too much, Lord.”

I tried to shift my perspective by thinking about the fact that there were worse places to be quarantined. After all, I was staying in a five-star luxury resort swim-out suite with access to unlimited food and beverages, cable TV, and wi-fi. One of my friends I talked to back home, a mother of two under five years old, countered, “I would love to be quarantined by myself for a couple of days.” It’s all about perspective, right? 

A timed selfie I took from my swim-out suite I captioned “Making Lemonade”

The following evening around 9:30 pm I received the results that I prayed for and ultimately I knew to be true – NEGATIVE. A glimmer of hope pulsed through my body, as I just knew that I would get to experience the last night with my friends and enjoy the property. Then another disappointing blow. It didn’t matter that I had the negative PCR results that would allow me to catch my flight home the next day. The hotel policy was that I still could not leave my room until I checked out. You can imagine at that point the thoughts that followed. “Really?” “Why Lord?” “Get me out of here.”

I may not ever know why this happened. And the truth is, the “why” doesn’t always make us feel better when terrible, unexpected situations arise. “What can I learn from this?” is always a more productive and empowering question. I asked myself this question and I thought the answers would encourage you as much as they have encouraged me.

You will have more peace when you focus ONLY on the things you can control. I had very little control over the circumstances that took place. Such is life. The more I focused on them, the more frustrated, angry, and disappointed I became. Once I realized what I did have control over – my behavior, my thoughts, and my attitude – I felt more at peace. Choosing joy changes everything.

Gratitude always helps. When I felt myself slipping into a sad, sorry for myself space, I went to my Father’s word. I landed on 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Be thankful in all circumstances. I realized that I had a lot to be thankful for, at that moment and when I returned. That PCR test and subsequent tests upon my return home proved that the first test was a false positive and I never actually had covid. I thank God that I didn’t and that I made it home safely. And if the PCR test had come back positive and I had to stay in that resort for the required 10 days, I would still have had many things for which I could be grateful.

Nothing lasts forever. This is something I’ve been learning my whole life. While the wait for my PCR results was the longest 36 hours of my life, it did not last forever. Clearly, the wonderful moments I had on the resort with my friends as a free woman did not last forever either. That’s why when we do find ourselves in those beautiful moments that life gives us we should not waste them. Cherish each of them, for as long as you can. And when you do find yourself with some lemons…well, go grab some water and sugar.