by Sue Duby
March brought an impromptu drive to Texas to visit “like family” friends. Celebrating Chuck’s birthday. Sharing deep heart moments. Evening strolls in the cool night air. Morning chats in pajamas around the breakfast table. And then. . . it all changed.
“Did you see the news this morning? What do you think? Is it nothing or really a big deal?”. My adrenalin started pumping a bit, anxiety often too ready to rear its head. “Looks like France may be closing soon. Italy’s cases are bad. Not sure what’s happening around here…”. Our vocabulary suddenly increased by a single word… “Corona” (later morphing to “Covid”). And the journey began.
Seven months later, here we are. Still filtering most decisions through that crazy “C” word. Cancelling plans. Wrestling to accept the now, while longing for the “before”. Trying to keep dreaming, yet knowing holding everything loosely works best. Laying down expectations, while purposing to choose hope, joy and peace. Daring to blurt out “I’m so over this!!”, while hearing His gentle whisper, “I am here. I know.”
Enjoying some porch-sitting quiet in the crisp morning Fall air, I sighed with an “OK… here we go for another day… and ‘it’s’ still here!”. Immediately, I sensed a nudge to reframe my thinking. Do I want to live with a “Covid filter” each day or Your filter, Lord? I know the second is so much better. . . brings peace and freedom and even opportunity for fresh direction. Choosing His “filter” means a work of tweaking my thinking, asking for renewed perspective and fresh creative ideas. Work, but a process with promised satisfaction.
Not “what I can’t do”, but “what I can do!”. Walking nearby trails in clean air and sunshine. Trading morning gym classes for yoga mats and online workouts on the “just big enough” bedroom floor.
Not “what’s been taken away”, but “what’s been given”. We can’t “get up and go” like before. We can walk the neighborhood often. On that journey over past months, we’ve met so many new neighbors, now friends. Chats have gone past the “How are you?” to family histories, jobs, teenagers, health and laughter. Nearly 20 and counting!
Not “how long Lord???!!”, but “Lord, what do you have today?”. Working that “being present” muscle overtime. Learning deeper contentment in the day unfolding. Awareness growing in the seeming little matters of the day that actually hold deep significance.
Not “I’m tired of feeling trapped, anxious, frustrated, ________(fill in your own list),. . . ., but “Lord, show me where you want me to grow, what you want to uncover, where I need to let go”.
Not “what if ___________??”, but “Lord, I am trusting you for ________”.
Not “I can’t believe THEY are (saying, thinking, doing) __________”, but “How do You want ME to walk in body, mind and spirit today, Lord?”
Not “stop everything you did before”, but “ask Me for creative ways to walk your days”. I treasure time with friends and need it for encouragement, challenge and fun. Watching my favorite coffee shops shut down and missing my girlfriend dates, I finally woke up and began inviting them to join me on our back porch (chairs distanced, of course!). Now conversations stretch from the previous “1 hour and gotta go!” to even a record breaking 4-hour delight! In the quiet and privacy, sharing goes deeper. Wondering if I need to get a heater to keep those porch dates going through the Winter!
Not “grumbling”, but “gratitude”. Purposing to have “I’m so thankful for ____” woven through my whole day.
My marching orders are clear. I may still feel “shut down” in various measures each day, with some not-so-great emotions along the way. But. . . I know He has fresh windows to open if I pay attention, listen, wait and trust His unfolding ways.
This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24 NASB
For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 NASB
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8