I did not go to the grocery store for over 2 weeks. That’s not the norm for me.
I went 4 weeks without a hug from my 18-month-old grandson, Finn. That’s definitely not the norm for me. (This has been the absolute worst part of social distancing. On Easter, while playing with the little guy in the front yard…he came running after me with his hands in the air, speaking in his own language, "please ReRE PICK ME UP!"….OH! The joy to get a 48-second hug from Finn. It was the best Easter gift his mom and dad could have given me!)
Often people kindly inquire, "How are you and Wink doing?" The inference is, "After being married 40 years, are you OK, spending ALL your time with each other?” It’s a very legit set of questions and being asked with genuine care. I’m happy to report that Wink and I are doing well. (Please read to the end to make sure you get the word “well” better defined.)
Stay with me….because I'm going to take an off-ramp and land in the story of Noah…(which we are studying in some of our CH women's Bible studies…another shameless plug to all women reading…please come & join us for our ZOOM weekly meetings. you can find out more at CH Women Bible Studies… Tim Keller quotes regarding Noah, "God not only saved Noah from the waters but more so by the waters.” This awakened my heart to the reality that God is not only currently saving me from the pandemic but more so saving me by the pandemic….
Let me better explain by recapping 2 conversations that I’ve had over the past week…
One was with a young dad of 2 small kids where both mom and dad have super busy schedules. His words were, "Before the pandemic; basically, we were passing the kids off at dinner time when she got home from work; I would then go to work." He described that tragically their family was much more connected to the church than to each other's hearts. The day we talked, he had fresh tears form in his eyes while describing the new depth of love/connection he now feels with his son and daughter, and as he spoke of the renewed love and ties with his wife's heart as well. He said, "No, doubt, we have been given a RE-START from God, and Reina, I am just so thankful!”
Another conversation was with a 40-year-old mom with 3 older kids. She stated almost verbatim: “I think this is how we are supposed to be living our lives.” She described how they are not spending so much time and energy dispersing kids to the myriad of after school activities, all the while missing each other's hearts. Instead, they now get to enjoy time around the dinner table with great conversations. Her husband is working from home and having to take a pay-cut, but it’s so worth it to all of them. They are welcoming this slower pace and all the new opportunities being given to do life together as a family.
Back to Wink and me. A few weeks ago, one of our son's shared with us this episode of the VERITAS FORUM…
It's the best thing Wink, and I have watched regarding this present world crisis. We are truly being invited to live life at a slower pace, perhaps better stated, a human pace. A panelist, Andy Crouch, encouraged us to embrace the re-offering of the family dinner hour by asking each other some simple questions:
1. What are you afraid of today?
2. What are you thankful for today?
3. What are you hopeful about today? (Wink’s and my addition.)
This new world of the pandemic is giving us all multiple opportunities to better dwell with each other.
We are being given enough time to admit this new pace is hard. Our modern world of isolation produces loneliness. Yet it also allows plenty of moments filled with gratitude and hope simply because of to Whom we belong. By going slower, we also have more brain/heart space to show up with each other in the present: good, bad, and/or ugly. So, here’s the real invite for all of us. Jesus really loved (loves) hanging out with the bad and the ugly…We get to come to Him as we really are not as we should be. Here is where God’s mercy and grace are experienced freshly.
Back to Wink and me doing "WELL." The answer most often is given, "We are being HELD." Meaning, we are being granted plenty of time to see our own brokenness/messiness. These are also the very places we get to know God’s fresh rescue. And thus, they become the source of which kindness might actually spill out of us.
Oh! The sweetness to go slow enough to “Taste and See that the Lord is Good.” Perhaps God is saving and transforming me (and you) by this pandemic.