Close your eyes and imagine your life pre-COVID. What was your day to day existence? What occupied your days and your imagination?
Life is not what it was six months ago. Our interaction with this world has shifted, and so have we. We have had to adapt. We have had to struggle to maintain ourselves, children, and loved ones. I want you, in this moment, to acknowledge that simple and complicated task that you have done - you have cared for yourself. You are resilient. Breathe and allow yourself to feel the weight of that beautiful fact. Thank yourself.
We are too often unaware. I often say that the greatest gift from my five year old is her teaching me to still stop and be amazed. We lose that somewhere along to way.
Often times, we wait. Wait for something to end or a new thing to begin. I remember thinking when Ava-Gray was just a few months old, “As soon as she finally sleeps through the night all will be better. I will be better.” Five and half years later I am still waiting, for her to not wake me up at 3am due a dropped stuffed animal on the floor, but mostly I feel that I am still waiting to be better. We can spend our lives waiting.
Right now can feel overwhelming. It can feel treacherous and uncertain. We have never been here before. This is new terriority for all of us, and with grace and perservance we face each day. And if we aren’t careful, we will spend these days waiting. We will wait for life to return to what was before, to return to normalcy.
But, I invite your imagination. Maybe this is instead a time of recreation and resurrection. Maybe there is space being created for something new to be born. Life is beautifully complicated and wholly holy. Maybe in all that feels broken there is way being made. Maybe we too are in the process of becoming. Maybe this is all true…If we remember to still stop and be amazed. If we remember to pause and let light flow. If we remind ourselves that we are the dwelling place of God’s spirit.
In our work with students each week, Terry Aiken and I are hoping to provide space to process and tools for resiliency. Our goal is that we also provide these same resources to parents and families, so that you might too better know how to engage with your child, your own inner being, and with the God that is always present to you. For now, simply acknowledge yourself. Maybe in this coming week note things of which existed for you pre-pandemic. Notice what you care to keep and those things that don’t contribute to your flourishing. Remember to continually stop and be amazed. Perhaps this is just the simple laughter of your child, a bee landing on a flower, or a kind message from a friend. Life happens in the small moments, and we are all in need of moments together, reminders that we are not alone.
As Kate Bowler, Duke Divinity professor and author of Everything Happens for a Reason; and Other Lies I’ve Loved” stated,
“May you have the gift of holy sight, the vision of what might yet be. Yes, the emptiness is there. It could have been different. But, this is what it is and there is just a little moment here, a half a breath, where something new might be made, might be seen. Just give it a little room to be. There is nothing mechanical about living. There is no step by step process by which good things can be found. There is no paint by number on this one. All we have is the strange truth that somewhere in us, because we are made GOOD, is the ability to make. All we need to do is just give it a minute to be born.”