Derailment and Perspective

Looking at the calendar this morning, I was surprised to realize I haven’t written or posted a thing in well over a month.  All I could think was, I’m sure glad I don’t try to earn a living off this gig…life is simply too full of derailments!

The day of my last post, we got word from the governor of Oregon that gatherings of 250 or more were banned.   Over the next week and a half we watched our freedoms drop away at a frightening speed…no gatherings of more than 25…10…none outside of one’s home.  Churches shut down and businesses were shuttered.  Those many days had us on pins and needles, wondering about our own businesses and the people who work for us.

Thankfully, we’ve been able to stay open, albeit with restrictions, and our employees are still able to draw a paycheck.  We feel blessed beyond measure for that.  And what a time of miracles we live in, where we can worship and engage with our local body of Christ even as we’re stuck at home.  Our small town has thus far seen little of the ravages of this plague, though we aren’t untouched by it’s invisible presence.

All in all, blessings abound.

But we have indeed been thrown sideways.  Our family’s normal activities are gone.  My calendar is empty, which is something I’ve not seen in over 10 years.  The duties that have given my life purpose, bible studies, time with friends, and homeschool co-op, have abruptly ended and I feel strangely bereft and lacking direction.

In the beginning, I had no idea what I would do with all that extra time and yet, I have found myself actually busier than normal.  I didn’t factor in the fact that, with everyone home bound outside of work, I have more folks to tend to for much more of the day.  We eat dinner as a family now.  Every night.  The house gets messier much faster with all of us tooling around all day.  My kids have shows they want to watch with me, games to play with me, and while it’s an unexpected joy in many ways, I also find myself a little wiped out!

Now life settles in to a new normal.  I can’t say I like the restrictions, but I’m going to get back to my bible study and back to writing a bit.  Some wise words my daughter penned to her friends on social media have helped get me back on track, I think.  You see, she’s a senior this year and a lot has been taken from the class of 2020 due to Covid-19.  Yet this young woman, the child I’ve always called my Sunshine, always seems to have a way of putting perspective back on the good.

I thought I’d share her thoughts here with you all.  Though it’s addressed to her 2020 classmates, I think there’s much to apply to us all.


Will We Pass the Practice Round?

Some thoughts from Natalie Jones:

I am a 2020 senior. My graduation is canceled. I didn’t realize that the last church youth group I went to was my final youth group. I didn’t realize that the last homeschool co-op I went to was my final one. I didn’t realize that the last time I hung out with certain friends would, in all likelihood, be our last hangout. My final few months with other friends are spent through screens. On social media I see my fellow 2020 seniors grieving the same losses, but I have a few thoughts to share with you.

Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s painful. Yes, this sucks. But, we live in a time unlike any other. There are numerous ways to not only stay in contact with our friends, but to see their faces. We can even hangout in groups over FaceTime, Zoom, and many other options. We must be grateful and take advantage of the time we live in. We are so blessed that with our technology, we are far more comfortable and capable of social activity than any other era could have been in this situation.

If you were looking forward to a graduation party, my first comment is that I don’t think anyone would mind having it in August or September. I have a feeling most people will understand the circumstances. And if you don’t get a party, well, it’s not the worst thing that could happen. When your 80 years old you won’t be thinking “Man, my life was okay but if I only had a graduation party it would’ve been great.” (I also think it’s strange that there are so many teens who say they struggle with social anxiety, yet wanted a party or large ceremony…)

But my main thought is this: this crisis isn’t about you. It isn’t about me. We are all going through a life changing time, and there are people who are really struggling. People are losing their jobs, losing loved ones, or dying. Social media should be focused on bringing attention to them, not us. We could be using this time to try to help those people whether it’s by making masks for hospitals, donating money, or going to the store for your elderly neighbors. Even simply being positive on social media can brighten someone’s day.

I really don’t mean to be bashing my fellow seniors. I think that we do deserve a little sympathy because we were looking forward to this year and we will never get it again. However, I do think we have a tremendous opportunity. Yes, this is hard, but do we really want to someday tell our children “It was the worst year of my life.” or do we want to tell them “It was tough, but we made the most of it.” Do you want our parents’ generation to say “The seniors were so upset. We felt so sorry for them!” or would we rather them say “The seniors really stepped up during a rough time. We’re so proud of how they handled themselves!”

We are almost adults, and most of us ask to be treated as such. Are we showing people that we are capable of adulthood right now? As seniors, we have an opportunity like few other generations to step up and prove ourselves. People have acknowledged that this is hard for us, so let’s prove to them that we can handle it. Let’s prove to people that we don’t require sympathy. Let’s wipe away our tears, swallow our disappointment, and do what can be done because we will have hard things happen our whole lives. This is really just a practice round for us. Let’s prove that we can focus and care about other people more than ourselves when times get tough.

This is a weird and strange season for all of us. Not all of us as in 2020 seniors, but every single person. It would be a shame if all we did was sit inside and watch Netflix while lamenting our losses. We can all be doing something to show the love of Christ and to make a difference for someone else.

If you are struggling to figure out something YOU could do, here’s a short list:

Getting groceries for the elderly folks in your life

Making meals for those who lost their jobs

Making masks for local businesses and/or hospitals (There are really simple tutorials on YouTube)

Staying positive on social media

Video chatting with an isolated friend



I’m super proud of this girl!  I’m so, so grateful for the reminder that there is a bigger picture in this mess,  that there are numerous opportunities to show the love of Christ in practical ways.   The answer to my disorientation is to look outward, to see what I can do rather than focus on what I can’t.  As always, a small shift in perspective can make a whole lot of difference, bringing peace and clarity to  previously chaotic and cloudy thinking.  What a joy when our kids grow up and share wisdom with us, yes?

I hope you all are staying safe and weathering this season well.  I’d love to hear how you’re doing and how you’re staying positive during this time!

Grace and peace,

🌸Rebeca

 

Photo of closed sign by Tobias Heine, courtesy of Pixabay,  Natalie in field by Kent Jones, Natalie dancer (one of my faves of her!) by Eric Wyatt.

 

5 thoughts on “Derailment and Perspective

  1. Sunshine indeed! What a lovely, encouraging, wise note from a lovely young woman. May she be as blessed as she has blessed others!
    Funny, if I’d read this an hour ago I would have said I’m doing great. We’ve been able to see some family members, our church is a huge encouragement and I’ve “met” with friends thanks to the marvelous blessing that is technology. Our family business is considered essential. And we feel fine.
    And then I read an email from someone who I offended (totally unwittingly). A wonderful young sister in Christ and I am sick about it. Of course I stumbled all over myself to email back and try to make things right, but it was my own foolish plethora of words that hurt her in the first place. So I’m not certain if more words can fix it. Anyway, I’m obsessively checking email to see if she got back to me. Until she does I am going to be an absolute mess. Aren’t you glad you asked?
    Take care my friend. God bless and keep you. It was good to see you pop up today!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, my friend, as I read your words I can feel that particular part of the gut that roils at just such times! My wordiness has landed me there far too often!! I’m praying right now for you. I pray for the absolute peace of our Father to wrap you tight, for wisdom on how to proceed, and for patience as this situation works itself through. Also, for your young friend to be gracious and to know the beauty of living an unoffended life. (That’s a whole topic for another day, don’t you think?) Grace and peace to you, dear friend. I’ll continue to pray for you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi! I love this positive encouragement! It’s so easy to hunker down and let opportunities to help others pass. Such a lovely girl with a great message!

    We’re doing ok here. Although the last week has brought an unfortunate set of conflicts. I’m a caregiver (30 years experience) and just as this shelter in place got started I got a new client settled into our home. She’s my only client. She came straight from the hospital just having been put on hospice. I’ve helped care for her in her home a couple days a week for about 6 years. Except for the last year because she need 24 hour care and I didn’t do that anymore. She has advanced dementia.

    The restrictions due to covid have been hard on her family. Only being able to visit through the sliding glass door and via zoom and FaceTime. But they understand the need, I also have my 82 yo mother-in-law living with us.

    I nursed her back from the brink of death literally. She’s doing very good now. Eating, walking around a lot, happy and her usual sweet self. She has even gained 5 lbs!

    But in the last week I’ve had trouble with her family, one of her 3 daughters, and some of the grandkids. They have been critical and jumping to conclusions with false information about things. They are grateful for how their mother/grandma is doing but unhappy with the restrictions and some decisions I’ve made. (The 2 daughters in charge of her care are very happy with what I’m doing) So the last week or so has been hard dealing with her family, feeling like I have to correct their misconceptions and defend my actions caring for their mom/grandmother. I’m not feeling too kindly towards them right now. And they are all coming today for Mother’s Day! It will be fine, I’m not someone that’s holds a grudge, but it’s frustrating to have this added to my plate.

    Other then that… we’re doing pretty good. My hubby just started work again this week. We’ve had the supplies we’ve needed and been able to pay most of the bills. We’re going to be fine.

    Thank you!

    June

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a lovely surprise to see you in my inbox this morning, June! I’ve been praying for you all day, hoping the Mother’s Day visit went smoothly. 🙂 What an amazing thing you’re doing, giving care and love to this woman…and even if part of the family doesn’t understand your protocols, I’m so glad there are good folks like you out there looking out for the most vulnerable. May our Father bless you a thousand-fold for being faithful in this difficult job! I’m also so glad to hear you are doing well, that your husband is back to work (huge blessing, I’m sure!) and that you’re weathering this chaotic time.

      Thank you for sharing…it’s great to see you here!! Happy Mother’s Day, friend! ❤

      Like

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