Thursday, July 9, 2020

Four Months

Devotion for Being Apart -
July 9

This summer, I will share new devotions from time to time,
and invite you to browse through devotions that have been posted on this blog.

A few days ago I had a conversation with a friend who was worried about what to do with school in the Fall. She was caught imagining different scenarios, playing out the stresses and choices to figure out if school returned full time, part time, distance, etc.  Finally, she said, "It's really hard to make a decision when we don't have all the information yet."  When she said that something clicked in me.
"It's not really hard." I said. "It's impossible. It's impossible to make a decision when we don't have all the information yet.  Use your energy on what's possible."  

Again I am reminded of Matthew 6:34, "“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today."

This week marks four months of our pandemic existence.  We have been living here for four months.  Today someone mentioned to me the parallel of travel to another culture. You go to another place for a short time and you're a tourist, a bit longer and you're a temporary resident. If you stay long-term in a place that's not native to you, you're an expat, or permanently, you're an immigrant.  In all of these scenarios, every day you are waking up, walking around, living, relating, figuring out money, food, time, and rules for interacting in a culture other than your native culture.  It's exhausting. Everything takes work. Everything involves translation, reading the situation, trying to figure out of you're doing it correctly. Everything is a negotiation. This is mentally draining in the most delightful of circumstances.  Living in another culture is exhausting.

All of us are living in another culture right now - Covid Culture, Pandemic World.  And it turns out we are not just tourists - we've outlasted that term.  Now we're adjusting to the reality that there is to be no going "home" anytime soon. And friends, I don't know about you but I didn't really pack right, or say goodbye like I wish I had, or in any way mentally prepare to be away from my regular life for so long.

We didn't choose to go on this trip. And where we go after this will likely not look anything like what we left back in March. This culture we're all visiting together is not even a stable, steady culture that will get easier to adjust to as we become more familiar with it.  It's constantly shifting and changing, and just when we figure out how to live here, the rules change, the expectations change, and here comes more negotiating.  This is utterly exhausting.  

We have been here for four months, with an open-ended ticket. "I promise you, this will end." our pediatrician said this week to my daughter. "But I can't promise when."

So we do the best we can. Each day has enough trouble for today, and it does no good to spend our energy worrying about tomorrow.  By the time tomorrow comes, we may be in another culture altogether. But wherever we are tomorrow, we know that we can expect more discomfort, more adjustment, more negotiating.

But, let me remind us again: we've been at this four months. We've strengthened some skills, we've gained some flexibility, we're remembering we need to rest and pace ourselves, we're paying better attention to our choices. I'd even say there have been gifts in the midst of this. There have been surprises, and insights, and unexpected opportunities.  Would we choose those gifts over going "home"? Maybe not. But no matter where we are, God is with us, God can meet us, God can guide us.  I promise this will end. But I can't promise when.  But we have made it this far.  We can live here today; we've done it for 120 todays already.  And tomorrow's troubles are for tomorrow.


Perhaps tonight before we go to bed, whatever time that is in each of our homes, we can pray in this way, and so join our souls with each other and the people of the whole earth:

Grace for today.
Grace for this moment.
Grace for the breath, this thought, this emotion.
Grace for this night.
Grace to sleep, and grace to wake.
Grace for tomorrow.
And for the day after that.
Grace, grace, grace.


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