Remember back in March when this whole pandemic thing started? Seems like ages ago, right?
If you were like me, you were thinking that we would enjoy a nice little relaxing staycation for a couple weeks and then get back to life as normal. This tiny little thing would be nothing but a blip on the radar that we would all be laughing at by August when it was time to go back-to-school shopping for the kids.
Well, here we are and I’m definitely not laughing.
Really mixed feelings
Over the past several months, I’ve gone through a range of thoughts and emotions. I’ve gone from “it’s no big deal,” to being a fierce mama bear fighting for my high school senior’s prom and graduation.
I’ve cried for what we missed and cheered for the unrushed family time we gained. I have longed for visits with friends and family, but enjoyed the lazy days of sleeping in and not having so many “to-do’s” on the calendar.
It’s been a whirlpool of conflicting emotions and, quite frankly, I’m exhausted.
Between two hands
I feel caught between two general thoughts:
On one hand, I tell myself I have to stop thinking about “when things go back to normal,” and accept that the old version of “normal” will never be again. I feel like we need to stop waiting for this to end and just, somehow, move forward embracing this new version of life.
On the other hand, when I take in the glimpses of this new way of life, it makes me incredibly sad and I simply refuse to believe that this can continue.
Children wearing masks as they sit behind plastic shields at school, unable to even high-five friends or teachers; other children spending all day staring at computer screens with no social stimulation; overwhelmed parents who are trying to juggle careers while also becoming teachers; teachers becoming disillusioned by the enormous demands they face; church doors closed; businesses failing; smiles hidden behind face coverings.
Embracing this new version of life feels very much like hugging a cactus.
Here I am, stuck wobbling in the in-between, unsure of which path to take. It’s a strange sense of “limbo” that leaves me constantly off-balance.
Add in some social unrest, political turmoil, sending my oldest daughter off to college out of state, and other general life happenings, and it’s as if someone is tossing large gauntlet balls at me when I’m already on shaky ground.
So, how do we find our footing when the world seems to be spinning out of control?
A way to walk
Well, if I had the answer, I would be writing a very different blog post, but I think, just maybe, it begins with grace – grace we give to ourselves and grace we give to others.
I’m not a theological scholar, so I won’t offer a heady explanation of grace – plus, I’m usually talking to children – but I love this definition of it:
“the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not necessarily because of anything we have done to earn it.”
No matter where this prickly in-between path leads, I pray we can walk it with love and mercy, and when our balance falters, I pray that grace will offer us a soft place to fall and that grace will help us find our footing again, and again, and again.
“The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.” 2 Timothy 4:22