Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
~ Luke 24:13-35 (NRSV)
Much like the disciples did not recognize Jesus after his resurrection, many of us do not recognize this new life we are living (although, as time goes on we are beginning to get acquainted!). This new reality has wiped our calendars clean, made social gatherings non-existent, and deleted all extracurricular activities from our lives. Many parents I have talked to have said that, while they miss friends & activities, they are also enjoying the relaxed schedule of not having to chauffeur kids all over town and they appreciate the opportunity for more family time they would never have gotten if it had not been forced. When I “see” the other women in my bible study group via Zoom or FaceTime with others, I have noticed that, despite the circumstances, overall, people seem less harried and more at peace than ever before.
Perhaps, this is an opportunity for each of us to decide what aspects of our “previous” life we actually want to resurrect once coronavirus restrictions are lifted. Just as the government has deemed certain things to be “essential,” could we take advantage of this time to discern, thoughtfully and prayerfully, what things were truly essential in our packed calendars and what things we might be wise to let go of?
Once we go back to “normal,” emerging from our cocoons of isolation, will we find ourselves pining for the forced relaxation of these “quarantine days?” Missing the slower pace and family time we have in abundance right now?
So, where do we begin?
In the coming days and weeks, I encourage you to ask yourselves the following questions and, if your children are old enough for these conversations, have them out loud, together as a family.
- What two-three activities or people do you miss the most right now? What is it about them that you miss?
- What things on your schedule helped you cultivate the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?
- What activities honor the gifts & talents God has given you?
- Were any of your activities allowing you to serve others?
- What things in your schedule prevented you from strengthening your relationship with God?
- What (optional) activities created stress, anxiety, or dissension for you or your family?
- What, if any, aspects of this time at home would you like to continue even when restrictions are lifted? How will you fit that into your schedule in the future?
While this time spent apart is certainly challenging, it also offers us gifts. We have been given the gift of time – time to spend with family, time to slow down, time to reflect and re-evaluate what is important and life-giving. My prayer is that we would all use this time wisely, learn something from it, and re-emerge more grateful, more peaceful, and more connected to God.
Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
~Ephesians 5:15-17 (NRSV)