I can remember our daughter starting her spring break (I should say “our” spring break given that I needed it as much as she did), when the community college announced they would take an extra week as a precautionary move against the spread of the virus. If memory serves, the word “pandemic” had yet to become part of our everyday lexicon .
That was five weeks ago, and now, all our snack joints—those that remain open–are for take-out only. Our parks are closed, or heavily monitored to minimize the numbers of people, and the library is shut down.
We press on in the best way we can. After all, a significant part of this stay-at-home life is not new to us.
No, we do not have much of a life after school. No, we don’t have all of the books I wanted to use once the library ceased even its curbside service. It would be easy to wallow in what’s not happening, or to give in to my anxieties. After all, our daughter will enter her senior year of high school in the fall, and though she is currently planning to take a gap year, I cannot help feeling as if I am behind—and so is she.
But perspective is everything. And if we allow our perspective to become His perspective, our circumstances look sooooo much better. It occurs to me that…
Jesus valued being still. In a recent post, I wrote about the power of peace. Christ models this for us throughout the Bible. We see Him sleeping in the bottom of boats; we see His presence in clouds and still small voices; we see Him praying—a lot. What we never see is anxiety or restlessness. I know there are those who struggle with the concept of staying home to stay safe. But still, small spaces house the very voice of God.
We are created in Christ’s image. This includes our wisdom and discernment. So much is being said about the times, and this pandemic is being covered from every. single. possible. angle. We owe it to those around us to operate in wisdom. Yet, wisdom is based as much on knowing what to tune out as what to tune in. This point might be controversial to some, but with my critical thinking hat on, I fully realize the power of the media to instill fear, to keep us watching, and to keep us spending. There is money to be made from our hysteria, and we would be better served in many cases to hold on to it.
This, too, shall pass. And so our challenge is to focus on what has not changed, what needs to change, and what we can change. I have seen a dynamic illustrated as a balance between gratitude and grief—gratitude over the things we still have, the day-to-day joys, the basic needs that are (hopefully) being met in our households. The grief? Well, our lives are decidedly different now. There are fewer hugs, fewer touches, less trips to take, and for some, less money to live life as it once was. The truth is that we can acknowledge our grief while operating in gratitude. As the old saints would say, praise Him anyhow. There is much to be thankful for, and much that each of us can do—IF we focus on what is fixable, necessary, and productive. Philippians 4:8 guides us in what types of thoughts are worth our time. But if you are like me, some repentance is necessary—for the hours I spent thinking about being productive, for the place social media has taken in my life, and the assignments I denied in my indulgence and laziness.
I say all of this having had few COVID-19-related changes in my life. We are still working and writing, no one close to us has suffered great sickness, and except for our older children coming home (never a bad thing) temporarily, we are well. Someone reading this may not be in the same place.
I still choose to believe in His promises; prayerfully you will, too.