Indulge me with a moment of honesty. Personally, I’m quite over this pandemic. I’ve had enough. I don’t want to socially distance any more. I want to hug my friends, sit right next to them in church and invite as many people as I like over to my home. I’m ready to go shopping without constantly sanitising my hands and registering my attendance. I want to go back to normal!
My version of the story was idyllic and cobbled together with denial. The truth, however, was that the pain inside me had never left. The shame over all I had done was a heavy burden that I held deep. And being a Christian did not make me immune to addiction. I was profoundly sick and doing quite a job of keeping it a secret.
Our son also just moved into his university apartment for freshman year. Yesterday I sang lullabies and tucked him into his crib with his favorite stuffed toy. Today he’s at least a foot taller than me, shaves, drives and helps me with electronics. One day he was small, I blinked, and now he is grown. It happened so fast and is strange, wonderful and bittersweet.It’s so hard to let your kids out into the world when they were once all yours to nurture and protect. Hard not to worry while praying continuously that they’ll adjust and thrive.
My life stopped in so many aspects on that dark, winter’s day, but the world around me kept turning and decisions had to be made. One of the hardest decisions that I had to make was the decision to sell our farm. This property was our dream home. We got married in the church that my husband grew up in, and then drove out to our little piece of heaven in the country for our wedding reception under the pine trees. We were so excited to move in together and start living out our dreams.
I love my little vegetable garden. It always amazes me how I can plant a few seeds in the ground and, with relatively minimal effort on my part, can later reap an incredible harvest of good things over the summer. Sure, I need to weed and water, but those seeds sprout and produce all by themselves, according to God’s creation plan.
Loving my neighbor as myself means caring about her flourishing as much as I do my own. This is a biblically-directed form of social justice if you will. It’s not about being in power or having the most goods; it’s about being committed to the flourishing of all people. Only, what does it mean for us to flourish?
We often think of Psalms as hymns of praise, and many are. But we might also want to consider the lament Psalms. There are more lament Psalms than any other kind in the Psalter. Why? The lament Psalms give voice to the disorientation of an individual when she finds her experiences are in conflict with her beliefs.
Y’all, lately I am feeling overwhelmed by noise. The noise of my twin toddlers, fighting over a shared toy in the background. The noise of media, headlines flashing, blaring increasing cases of COVID-19, increasing hospitalizations.
We tried to stifle the giggles of the moment. But as I later pondered this little guy’s ideas, I realized his strategy somewhat resembles my own. I make plans and set them in motion, thinking I know the best course of action for every situation. Then when something unexpected happens, I scramble to fix things. After I’ve become frustrated or bent out of shape or even made things worse than they were, I think about checking in with God.
In these past weeks and months I have found myself impacted by topics ranging from health issues to cultural differences, social justice to personal freedom. Our national environment is charged with an enormous amount of issues to process through and formulate understanding, both personally & corporately. For myself this has been a time to do a lot of listening, thinking, praying & reading. I’m taking the time to peel back the layers that define me–what I believe and how I view the world.