I sat down to write today and couldn’t find the words; so I asked myself, how do I feel? And I still couldn’t find the words.
My family and I are settling into a routine and are learning to embrace our new normal. Each day is similar to the last, with variances in what we eat and the activities we choose to participate in, individually and as a family.
Today, our oldest asked when we will be able to see people again. One by one she went through a list. Aunts and uncles. Grandparents. Cousins. Family friends. Her friends.
When? When will we be together? In person. When can we be together without concerning ourselves with the space between us?
I tried to answer as best as I could. I don’t know. I’m not sure. We have to take it day by day, but my instincts say we won’t be returning to the normal we were used to, prior to the pandemic, until a vaccine is discovered.
What?! That could be over a year.
Yes. Yes it could.
I told her I wasn’t sure, and that I believed we would go out again, only when we do – the world may look a little different than what we were used to before. The way we interact with people may not be what it was.
I think one of the hard parts about this is being in the place of limbo, the place of waiting. We know this will end, but we aren’t sure when. We can speculate, but that’s all.
What I do know is that I don’t want our desire as a society for normalcy to force us into situations that could be dangerous to our health and the health of others.
Waiting is hard. It is often painful. And many times necessary.
This is one of those moments when we all need to be waiting, patiently, for the proper time to resume our life’s activities.
We may miss our friends and our loved ones. We may want to eat at a restaurant and go shopping at the mall. The idea of sticking your hand into a bucket of warm, buttery popcorn while you gaze at the big screen may sound completely alluring, but it isn’t worth the damage it could cause.
Returning to life as we knew it, isn’t worth the threat of losing lives, or overwhelming our health care systems.
We will arrive there again, but for now, we must be patient. We are like the child who is eager for Christmas to arrive, only the date is December 26. No matter how badly you are longing for Christmas Day, you must wait – and part of what makes it so special when it arrives again, is the anticipation that was created in the days of waiting.
My daughter took all of this well. Even if she doesn’t like it, she understands the importance of waiting. But are we, as adults, taking this well? I’m learning that kids sometimes handle things better than we do.
My hope and prayer, while we are stuck in our homes, is that we will embrace the gifts we have been given. I know the experience of this pandemic differs for everyone. For some, the gifts may be more evident than for others. For some, the challenges they are facing may be the greatest they have encountered in their lifetime.
How do we remain grateful in the face of sickness? When our loved ones are on ventilators? Or even worse, have passed away?
How do we remain positive when there is a virus, with no cure, that for some causes no symptoms and for others death?
How do we remain optimistic, or joyful, when we are in our homes with no place to go, and nobody to see other than our family members?
How do we feel secure when we have lost our jobs, or our businesses, with no foreseeable position, or paycheck, available in the near future?
I believe the answer differs for everyone, and some days it may be easier to see the good than others. Personally, I am trying to look at this time as a pause in my life. A time when God has sent me home with my family to attempt to realign my life with His plan and purpose.
I feel like I was running a race I never meant to sign up for before this happened. So many nights my head would hit the pillow in exhaustion. I would look at the calendar filled with the next days activities and long for a moment to just breathe. Rest felt like an elusive concept, something that could possibly be attained when the kids were grown, but not until then.
I longed for rest. And now, I have it.
We all do.
And I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want to be so concerned with the things I’m missing, or so wrapped up in when life will return to normal that I don’t take advantage of the opportunities that are here, under my roof.
Our oldest is going to high school next year. Four years. That’s how long we have with her until she is off to college. Four short years. After that, one by one, they will all be leaving. And now, I have them at home with me. All of them. How can I take advantage of this time? How can I grow our relationships?
Is it possible that this time is actually one of the greatest gifts I’ve been given wrapped up in what I once considered to be one of my greatest fears? Will I realize that when it’s over? Or will I see it for what it is now?
As I said before, I realize this is different for everyone. My experience is not that same as yours, nor is yours the same as mine. But I do believe, regardless of what we are facing, there is always something good to cling to and hope to be found. Even in our darkest moments and most challenging of days.
Whether you find yourself in a place of gratitude, or you are barely holding on, I pray for the peace of God to fill your heart and mind. I pray your needs will be met. And for protection for you and your loved ones.
We will come to the other side of this, but let’s not miss what is right before our eyes. Let’s be patient. Waiting is hard, but if we allow it, it’s also where tremendous growth and strengthening of character takes place.
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield. Psalm 5: 11-12