Well,that might not be the right word. Anxiousness? Disquieting? Those may be better discriptors of the state of my world as summer fades into fall.
As I wander around various social media platforms, I’ve noted just a little bit of apprehension, just as often from friends and colleagues known for their half full approach to life. I will include myself in the conversation.
There is definitely an air of mild anxiety about what might possibly develop. It’s like waiting for the next shoe to drop. Many of us are looking to fast forward to 2021 and just chalk 2020 off as a year to forget. The brilliant color change of seasons is muted. We’re finding it hard to find much to be thankful for. Even the hope of Christmas is approached with apprehension.
This is particularly a dark period for yours truly, but it has happened every year for the past 12 years since Karen died so I can take myself out of the equation. I’m speaking more in general. I don’t see the love. I don’t see the open sharing. I certainly don’t see the hope. I do see a more reserved, let’s wait and see view of life from my friends.
Certainly, the pandemic has contributed more to the angst than just sickness. It changed the WAY we live. We are constantly reminded of the chilling effects of the illness, with mortality emphasized and recovery de-emphasized. We get a daily overload of common sense precautions — wash you hands, stay home if you’re sick. We’re encouraged to isolate with six foot social distance mandates and closure or restrictions on most normal activities like church and other fellowships. Mask wearing has become the new normal either by state mandate or strong suggestion.
That all being said, we are told Cold War style to trust the experts — scientists, immuniologists, first providers, politicians, mainstream media. The problem is everyone is an expert and each bring their collective biases into the conversation. Joe and Jane Average don’t know who to trust.
There has been a series of street incidents which have painted people into corners that has erupted into chaos in the name of justice. We’ve seen peaceful protests evolve into violence, lawlessness, and looting, all belying the very stereotypes the protesters are battling for. We’re been spoon-fed — no, strike that — we’ve been hit over the head with “videos”, often out of context and amateurish thanks to smart phones, “proving” a particular point of view. Joe and Jane Average have been frozen in fear, afraid to venture out for a night out.
Covid and social justice issues have hijacked entertainment choices. School activities have been minimized “in the name of safety.” People’s livelihoods have been impacted. Governmental promises — from both sides of the aisle –have not materialized. Elections very well may be compromised
It’s all been very disconcerting for Joe and Jane Average. There is a real caution about moving forward because — as we have been acutely reminded — things out of our control can change plans in a heartbeat.
I think it’s time to break that cycle. There are natural events we can’t plan or control. But we can enjoy the day, whatever it brings. We can look beyond our selves and our circles and embrace the brilliant color change of seasons … and see God’s hand as green turns to vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows. It might take some looking, but we can intentionally seek out an unexpected blessing every day … and see how God’s presence transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. We can thank God for our very lives and the lives of all we touch and who touch us. That inter-connection itself is wider than you might imagine. We can look beyond the glitz and glitter of Christmas and focus on the Gift we received 2,000 years ago or so … the birth of our Savior and the bridge back to heaven.
It’s all about perspective. Calmness or Anxiety. Peace or Restlessness. Trust or Skepticism. Sharing or Self. Hope or Doubt. Faith or Apprehension. Optimism or Pessimism.
That we can control.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: You will learn a lot from yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. — Cheryl Strayed