I am losing track of time. I get confused during the week as to what day it is. I can’t remember if we started this quarantine 4 weeks ago..or was it 5…maybe 6. Did it start in 2019? Seriously, its going on two months and it feels like a year. And I couldn’t wait until 2019 was over. Really, it couldn’t have ended fast enough for me. And now I ask…for what? When the groundhog didn’t see his shadow (or did see it, I can never remember…plus it seems like a millennium ago) I didn’t realize WE would be staying in for six more weeks. There is an imbalance in my life that still hasn’t gone away and won’t until things get back to normal. Or sort of normal. And who knows when that will be. I sure hope this never becomes normal or feels normal.
I don’t like roller coasters. Period. I don’t even like using them as an analogy. But that is kind of what this has all felt like. Up and down…at times it goes fast and other times its slow. At times it feels like the world is falling over the edge and at times it feels like everything is returning to normal until it takes off again. Nothing seems certain or sold.
When I go running (if you haven’t gone for a run in a year can you still talk about it in present tense?) I always pick out certain markers and talk myself through each one. “I know the light is half a mile away and then after that just over the hill and down a bit is Grace Church. Once I’m there the reservoir is just around the bend and once I get to where the Kitchen’s use to live its just a short jag to Manchester High School. From there I will hit where Cocoanut Joe’s use to be and right around the corner is Dunkin Donuts…” And so it goes. Land marks to let me know what I have to do, and where I go to next. Once I get to one i then have another to look forward to and each one makes the run a little more enjoyable and certainly more bearable. Just hitting the mark makes me feel good and helps me envision where I have to go next and what I need to get there.
In some strange but similar way I have gotten use to hitting certain marks along the way to get through my week. And because of the quarantine these are now in my life as markers that I look forward to and help move me on through one week to the next one and the next one and the next one. I have daily markers too. For the last few weeks Susan and I have been able to stop, be still and pray together in the morning and afternoon/evening. It’s not every day but its several days a week. We follow certain prayer liturgies or devotionals. It’s not long but I look forward to it and it helps to anchor me. They are markers that help move me along the day. On Monday and Thursday afternoons we stop and do the Shelter From The Storm Midday Prayer. I really enjoy being able to do that and to have so many people stop and pray along with us. I feel invigorated by that and think I will continue it after we are set free. Tuesday Nights we have just started the Emotionally Healthy Relationship Course. We had a wonderful time this past week learning to do this in an online format. We had people from Utah, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. Tuesday nights will be another marker to move me on through the week. Wednesday nights are our Prayer Gathering. Because we use Zoom and not Facebook we are able to see each other and interact face to face. We have had beautiful times of sharing and supporting one another and bringing our requests to the Lord. It is a great way to journey together through Corona. It’s another maker. Then Friday is our Sabbath. A marker our hearts long for and welcome each week. Susan wakes up before me and when I come out of the bedroom I can smell the candle burning. Susan lights a candle each week and we burn it throughout the day. It marks our Sabbath. (So does the bacon she usually has cooking as well!). Then Saturday Night Church comes and we are blessed to worship with our church family and now our extended church family. It marks the weekend and the end of one week and the beginning of another. Once we hit Saturday we know that we have come through another busy week and our time of worship energizes us to face the week ahead. All along the week there have been markers to help us set our vision and guide us along the way.
I don’t know how long this roller coaster ride will go on. I don’t know if things will get worse or harder. What will the summer look like? What will the fall bring us? Should we be concerned about next winter? What do we do with plans and how do we schedule things in the midst of uncertainty? I don’t know the answers to these questions and I don’t know who does. But I feel certain about this…We are likely in for the long run. This is probably not a simple sprint of 100 yards. So to get through the months ahead I will be looking for and looking forward to those daily and weekly markers that are helping me now and will help carry me along the way.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
What do you think?
How does it make you feel?
Pastor Steven