On another cool spring morning, I slipped out the back door and into the darkness. For the past 12 months, these early morning walks have been part of my morning routine.
As I started down the street, my mind began to wander to the news, the craziness all around us, what the future held, and how EVERYTHING had changed so quickly. In a few short weeks, life has gone from predictable to uncertain.
In times of stress, I find myself focusing on the worst. How could everything go so wrong? Why do WE have to be affected? Can’t this just hurry up and be done?
Walking, my head down, focused on the few feet in front of me as my mind dug a depressing hole to focus on. But as I reached the corner, I was forced to look up to make sure there were no cars on the empty road, and my eye caught a glimpse of something bright. There, cresting the horizon, was the most amazing sunrise. The orange and yellow were burning through the clouds, refracting across the horizon, forcing the dark back. I stopped as I watched the amazing miracle of a new day.
I noticed how fresh the air felt, and I heard the birds singing all around me. There wasn’t a single car on the street, and nature’s sounds had taken the place of machines. I remembered the day before seeing families walking together in our neighborhood where cars normally speed past. I thought about the kids I’ve seen these last few weeks racing their bikes around the block, about the friendly, but physically distant “hello’s” we have exchanged with our neighbors, some that we didn’t know existed before everyone was forced to stay at home. And we somehow feel a deeper connection than before, some camaraderie, with those neighbors as we live through this time in history together.
Yes, there is life in this neighborhood.
As I continued walking, my mental list went from tracking my woes, to count my blessings:
I can walk outside, and even enjoy a nearby park with a small creek beside the trail.
We have food in the pantry.
Yes, I am quarantined, but I can’t think of another 4 people that I would want on my “quaranteam” with me!
Internet! I can’t imagine what life would be like to have to quarantine before broadband.
Zoom, FaceTime, and any other video chat. While it’s not a good as face time, having video calling is so much better than if this had happened 10 years ago.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Walking past a bunny nibbling on the dew-coated grass, I thought about how grateful I am for our church’s media ministry. At first, it was an extension of the church, in the past 6 weeks, it has become the only way we have to worship together.
Then there are the Sabbath School classes, giving my three kids something to look forward to each Sabbath. Each one, including my 3-year-old, looks forward to their own Zoom class.
While I may not be on the frontlines, I’m thankful for each essential worker, from the doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers who are seeing patients each day, to the grocery workers, trash collectors, and truck drivers who make sure we have basic needs cared for.
Watching the sunrise reset my day to focus on the positive helped me see where God was already working around me. It opened my eyes to help me see that while there is plenty of darkness around, the light of the SON will shine through.
Yes, these last 6 weeks have been crazy, but it has helped us to focus on what’s important. This “great pause” in time, with plans canceled, work postponed, values reset, has brought so many things back in focus.
On another recent walk with my 15-year-old son, I pushed Malia, my 3-year-old, in her stroller.
It was a sunny early afternoon, and out of nowhere, Malia said, “I want to move.”
“What did you say?” I inquired, wondering what her statement meant.
“I want to move!” she empathically replied.
“Where do you want to move to?”
“I want to move to Heaven, so we can see Jesus.”
Yes, so do I, honey. So. do. I.