I’ve got to admit it- this feels really strange.
It’s almost as if I woke up in a movie. One of those futuristic movies where store shelves are barren, people are edgier than normal (now that’s saying something here in NJ), and, having lived through many hurricanes, it truly feels like the calm before the storm.
What is happening around me seems so surreal and yet the tension is palpable. It's like the days we are living in today are ones that we will look back upon and tell our grandchildren about. A few weeks ago we were concerned about the Yankees and summer vacations, now we're concerned with yanking toilet paper away from each other and vacating germs from our hands.
Admittedly, I feel a bit uneasy. Yes, I know we will get through this and yes I know God is in control, but its difficult to not feel like change is coming. Like these very days will be looked back upon as pre-Coronavirus vs. post-Coronavirus times much like pre-9/11 vs. post-9/11 days on our timelines.
How are you feeling about all this?
If we are honest, I think that this new, unprecedented ground that we are walking is, if nothing else, strange.
Finding Hope in the Uneasy
And with anything new, unfamiliar, or strange, it can make us feel uneasy. Below are two steps I am taking during this unfamiliar time. My hope is that they may resonate with you as well.
Choosing the Voices
With so much information coming at me from all directions, I can get quickly overwhelmed. Minute by minute updates from the CDC, Governor, news, friends, family, social media, even strangers in the store, you name it, everyone is talking about the Coronavirus.
Because of this, I try to choose the voices that I hear. Now I am not ignoring the reality of what is happening around me, but I am keenly aware of my tendency to be swayed or influenced by others. So, I choose other voices and tune in to the voices that matter most i.e., God and my family.
This may come as a shock to you, but even as a pastor, sometimes I find it difficult to get into God’s word. For me, it is a discipline that I need to consistently work at, and when things are ‘normal’ in life, it gets especially hard to stay disciplined in this area.
Yet, when things are chaotic and I feel myself walking on uneasy ground, spending time in God’s word feels richer and becomes a shelter I can run into.
Enjoying Slowing Down
Our culture is fast-paced and it’s hard to slow down and enjoy what is right before us while everyone else is moving at lightning speed. Have you ever tried to slow down and enjoy the view on the Garden State Parkway? You’d be run off the road!
But in this case, with the curfews, working from home, and quarantines, etc., we have a forced time to slow down- and most likely, an opportunity to be with our family that, we will never have again.
So as I navigate the chaos of the Coronavirus, I try to slow down. I get on the floor with my kids and play with them. I position myself physically to see the world from their perspective.
We get outside and hike and are mindful of what is happening around us, what we see, what we smell, what we hear. We read, we write, we draw, we cook….we do things that allow us to be fully present where we are and with each other. And as my kids grow, I find that’s it is these slow and deliberate times that create lasting memories.
What a gift this forced slow-down can be!
So this week, this day, this hour, enjoy the present and don’t allow yourself to rush into the next task or event or be preoccupied with what might happen next.
It’s amazing the peace and contentment that God can bring to us when we choose the voices that influence us and slow down!
I’d love to hear what you all are doing as you and your families navigate the strange new ground on which we find ourselves.