After being “sheltered in place” for over a month now I often think, sometimes multiple times a day, “When will this all be over?”
I long for the days when I can get in my car, without my Clorox wipes and face mask, to go to the grocery store.
I yearn for the day when we can come together as a community of believers in our church building and give endless hugs and handshakes.
I get misty-eyed when I think of things I just knew would happen like taking my daughter to her dance lessons, waving to the kids as they left on the school bus, and going out to a restaurant as a family.
I miss lunch dates with my friends, our weekly small group meetings at church, going shopping to find a new outfit, and other things that we normally just take for granted.
So when I am watching TV and see all of the sitcom characters doing all of the things we “used to do” in groups or gathering in various locations that are now closed – I say to myself…“When will this all over over? I wish it were over now.”
So many times in life we “wish things were over” quicker. When my daughter was born, she was very colicky and screamed 24-7 for 3 months straight. I couldn’t wait for those days to pass quickly, even though many parents love those first few months. I was wishing them away with every fiber of my being. They couldn’t go fast enough. I just wanted to rock a quiet, cooing baby, instead of the screaming baby that couldn’t be soothed.
I also remember in college that while going through “those classes” (you know the ones…. with the boring professor that went on and on about things that didn’t seem relevant to your life, let alone your degree.) I just wanted to get through my classes so I could get started in my career and with living my life. I was wishing away my college years, even though they were some of the best in my life.
Then there are the hard times that you wish you could get through by snapping your fingers so you were through them. Like losing a loved one, being laid off, breaking up with a significant other, or going through a season of illness. We just want to close our eyes and wake up with things being okay and normal, where there is no more pain.
So often we wish away these things, but don’t see the value in going through them. There are life lessons to be learned and good things to come out of every season like the ones above.
When my daughter was colicky I learned how to cherish those quiet moments that came after, to really appreciate the sweet moments that eventually came. It caused me to really try to learn many techniques in calming her that worked later on. It also caused my husband and I to work as a team and to communicate through this difficult season.
If I had rushed through my college classes and jumped straight into my career, I wouldn’t have built the skills needed in my profession. I wouldn’t have had the hands on experience that really made the difference in my teaching career. I also wouldn’t have built the amazing friendships I did when I was at college, some of which are strong today! And most importantly, at college I really found out who I was and found my identity in Christ for the first time on my own.
If we didn’t have to go through the hard seasons in our lives, like going through the grieving process, we wouldn’t heal. Sometimes it takes hard moments to bring us closer to God. He wants us to be able to lean on Him, not on our own strength. So it takes our moments of weakness to allow Him to be our Rock and Strength.
During this season of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be days we want it all to be over. But maybe instead of wishing this time away, we could rest in some of the lessons we are learning while we are “sheltering in place.” Here are some I have already discovered:
- I need to take time to rest from the busyness of life. (My calendar has been wiped clear so I need to rest and enjoy that.)
- I need to be thankful that my family is together and healthy. Not all families are able to be together right now, and many are worried about loved ones in the hospital or isolated that they can’t be with right now.
- I am thankful to have time to really invest in my children’s education in a new way. It’s amazing what I am learning about my kids that I could only see from this perspective!
- I am also learning to rest in the promises God has for me in His Word. His Word has become fresh and alive for me during this time as I have been writing scriptures daily. His Word has become my anchor. Would it have been so desperately needed if I wasn’t going through this? Yes, but I may not have recognized it.
- I am also thankful that I know there will be an end to this someday. Not sure when, but either we will find a vaccine for this virus, or Jesus will come back. Either way an end of quarantine will come.
What lessons have you learned during this time of isolation?
Verses to consider about enjoying the present and not wishing away time:
2 Corinthians 4:16 New International Version (NIV)
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
Romans 8:22-25 (The Message)
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.