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,