We’re two months into this national shutdown (I think. To tell you the truth, I’ve lost track of time) and I go back and forth between feeling like it’s been two weeks and two years. Whatever the case, I’m tired. And that’s the general consensus I get from the people around me.
My thoughts on the matter have morphed over the past several weeks, like many of yours have, I’d guess. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling like we’re living in some weird Twilight Zone meets Jumanji alternate universe. Try as I might, I can’t find anything to compare this to, and that frustrates the side of me that functions best when I can understand something and explain it – to myself and/or my kids.
This is a confusing time and, to be honest, I don’t think anyone really knows anything with a great degree of certainty, despite how loudly they’re all yelling from their respective corners. This is absolutely not meant to be a political post and I won’t allow any comments that get into a political back-and-forth. I know and love and respect people on all sides of the political spectrum.
And the truth is, I own real estate in all of their camps:
I know this is virus is serious. I have a dear friend who’s been in the ICU literally clinging to life for more than 3 weeks. If he’s stable enough, he’ll move from a ventilator to a tracheostomy this week. He’s relatively young and healthy and my heart grieves for the ups and downs he and his family have experienced these past few weeks. My nurse friends working with COVID patients and seeing the devastation up close and personal continue to reiterate how important it is to continue practicing physical distancing, even though it’s hard. I know and trust them, and I grieve for my friend, but I’m tired.
On the other hand, I come from a family of small business owners. And as small business owners, we work with other small business owners. They’re the people we hang out with, have summer BBQs with and invite to our kids’ special events. And they have all been affected by what is happening with our economy. I cannot for the life of me understand why someone somewhere decided that it’s OK to pass a hundred people in a Walmart or Home Depot but not allow a contractor to manage the flow of subcontractors on a job site. The loss and devastation being realized by these humble, salt-of-the-earth people I have known and loved and worked with all my life breaks my heart. I see their point of view and I understand their anger, but I’m tired.
I moved the furniture around in my house the other night – at midnight – so I wanted to go into Sherwin Williams and get a quart of touch-up paint over the weekend. Their doors were closed but the sign on the door said they were open, all I had to do was call and tell them what I needed and they’d bring it out to the car. I love the creativity of business owners trying to work around the rules that have been put in place. Like them or not, agree with them or not, they were doing their best to keep their employees working and serve their customers.
But as I sat there waiting for my paint to be delivered by a masked face and gloved hand, I wondered how in the world the smoke shop next door was considered essential, with their constant flow of customers, while so many of my small-business-owner friends are considered non-essential. Who gets to decide that – and do I really have to listen to them? And the mom part of me hurts too much to even go into how much my kids have missed out on and how much it hurts my heart to see how stir crazy they’re going. Again, this is not meant to be a political post, but it’s confusing and the lack of logic makes me tired.
And what makes me most tired is the meanness. The outright vitriol that the “mask-wearers” have for the “non-mask-wearers,” that the “I went to the beach-ers” have for the “stay off the beach-ers.” It seems the longer this goes on, the meaner and more polarized people get. I said it in my last post and I’ll say it again: “if we walk away from this insanely unprecedented time in history without capitalizing on the opportunity to love to a greater degree, I can’t help but thinking what a monumentally wasted opportunity this will have been.”
This scripture from Matthew 11:28 has been swirling around in my heart and mind a lot lately: “Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” MercyMe says it like this in their song Best News Ever: “For those of you with nothing left, come and find rest.”
There have been a lot of days lately where, when I tuck the kids in and sit for a minute, I don’t feel like I have a whole lot left. But I’ve been reminded lately that the heavy burdens of isolation, frustration, confusion, and tiredness aren’t mine to carry. I have a loving Savior who is never tired or weary and He invites me to sit at the oasis and take a load off.
So even though I have no idea what day of the week it is or whether tomorrow will require pants that zip or just another pair of leggings, and even though I don’t know if we’re at the head or tail of this thing, tonight I will choose rest. I will choose to change my focus and look for the good. I will enter the oasis and rest, instead of listening to the noise. I hope you’ll choose to do the same. Wear a mask or don’t, I honestly don’t care. I just hope you’ll allow the Oasis to give you rest so we can finish this thing well.