Through my job, I meet others in far worse state than mine, and they seem to already see this New World on the horizon of crisis and live as if they were homesteading there. I am humbled by global church leaders extending sympathy to the privileged West:
- “Bless them, Lord! Help them to humble themselves, so you can lead them and direct them. Let them know that they are part of the world that you so love, just like us.” (PK, Laos)
- “Don’t live in fear. Death is not the end, God has already rescued us and saved us through Jesus! We are all one family. I am praying for you all as you serve!” (Hla Myint Oo, Myanmar)
- “I know it is hard for you, hard to learn about the faithfulness of God, when you have everything you need. I pray for you to draw near to God, to wait and be still.” (Onesphore, Burundi)
- “Erase your calendars! Focus and hear his voice like never before!” (H., Central Asia)
- “Remember! The worst is not that people die; it is that they die without Jesus.” (Emerson, Brazil)
- “We pray for you three times every day. We know that you are not used to suffering and restrictions. This is not the end of everything. After everything, there is Jesus.” (Safari, Malawi)
Oh Lord, hear their prayers. Give me their perspective - I am mortal, I will end - hinting at a bigger story, a story far more interesting than my own. Give me their purpose – in this time of pandemic, racial violence, economic upheaval, and political corruption, does anything really matter as much as sharing Jesus?
It is a challenge to my comfortable self-absorption. Normal routines and resources that had, by imperceptible degrees, somehow become primary sources for my sense of Self and significance have been irreparably disrupted. I am precariously balanced ta the best of times, and these have not been the best of times.
Where is my solitude? Where is my silence?
Some loved ones are unreachable, others are inescapably present night and day because of
quarantine. Any comfort that I once took in socializing, shopping (never a joy, now a nightmare),
singing, dreaming, and planning for the future now eludes me.
I want the world back.
The tension between gratitude (we are employed, healthy, safe, and nearby to our children and
grandchildren) and grief (so much global loss, anger, and danger) is a daily dichotomy. Sometimes I feel
guilty while giving thanks; other times I feel self-indulgent with my tears.
I want the world back.
But not as it once was. There are some things I don’t want back, and some new things that I want
to keep. This new pace - reflective, deep times with Jesus and with his People (albeit via Zoom).
This new priority - when did my granddaughter become so grippingly alive? When did my grandson learn
to ride a scooter? What else did I miss while gazing forlornly at my navel?
I want a new world.