Things have changed this year. It’s not as it once was. It is different in these COVID times. In the times before my Mom would have called me by now to assign me my ‘dishes’. We would be preparing and planning for a great feast. Things have changed. Change is unsettling at the best of times but when you want the change it is much easier to deal with.
This kind of forced pandemic change can leave a soul wondering when it will end and if we should go back to the way it was. Should it go back? That is a real question we must wrestle with. There was a disconnected air to our culture before. A text over talk, facebook over face-to-face kind of life. It lifted up being busy over meaningful moments. The pace was fast and furious which is completely unsustainable. We had forgotten Sabbath. We had forgotten what it means to rest in the present.
We now know what it means to slow down and in some ways that is unsettling. We did not choose this and yet here we are. For people who have controlled everything (and lived with the illusion of control) that is terrifying. There is much to be frightened of these days and I suspect our loss of control lies at the root of our fear. We cannot control the outcome in this situation and that is hard for us to accept. As we are used to planning. We are used to knowing what comes next.
The interesting thing here is that we never were supposed to know what exactly what our future holds. We were born to experience life. We know the end game we’ve been promised. We know that Jesus will return and new creation is coming, but the in between? That is something we are to uncover as we live it. What joy would this life hold if we knew what to expect? What fun would bring us if it was all laid out with no possibility for adventure?
While this particular season may not be fun is has the potential to be educational and enlightening. In this time we can see what we don’t like about our lives. We can uncover that which we truly value. In this time we can begin to contemplate the type of world we want to build when this is over. That’s right, I said build. We are after all called into the way of Jesus and Jesus himself built community wherever he went. He crafted challenging moments of contemplation. He created pockets of Sabbath. He intentionally lived and built his life.
In the lead up to this weekend I’m practicing gratitude and trying to build more moments of that practice into my day. I’m lifting up the little things in life that bring me joy. Things like crisp leaves, hot tea and the presence of a friend (in person or otherwise). I have a lot to be thankful for. In this pandemic I have not lost any family or friends. In this time of pandemic I have been able to provide food for my children. In this time I have cared for my body, my soul, my life. It hasn’t always been easy and there are days that are better than others but I have learned a great lesson as I’ve been forced to let go of the control I thought I had over my life. I’ve learned to lean into being present and accept the gift that it is.
How will you give thanks this week?