Welcome to week one of this new leg of our journey. It’s definitely been a path with a lot of twists and turns, where we literally can’t see what’s around the next corner or over the next hill.
While we all have been trying to stay positive and upbeat, finding things to make us laugh despite the anxiety and fear, there have been many moments to reflect, to re-examine our priorities, to re-structure our lives.
But it’s been a little sad to see, in particular, the young people who are feeling short-changed of so many of those “once-in-a-lifetime” experiences like proms, Spring Break trips, graduations, senior week. I remember those days- where you wait so many years to be the “right” age for things. And now, here they are, and the world is shut-down.
It doesn’t just apply to teenagers. We are all missing things that we looked forward to. Our church has been planning an outreach event for Sunday that’s now cancelled. Others have had to cancel trips they’ve been saving for and planning for months.
The gift of memory
This is hard for us. We humans have been given a unique gift from God- an ability, and a desire, to create memories- moments we can look back on that will warm our hearts and make us smile. Reminiscences- thoughts that we’ve retained in our minds that we can revive. And often these thoughts can revive us.
We remember the days when we were younger- the good and the bad of them. That nostalgia that sometimes brings us hope, even when the days ahead are uncertain.
So yes, this social distancing is putting a stop to a lot of life events that we won’t ever get to experience. But it is not, however, putting a stop to life. It isn’t keeping us from making memories. We just have to look in different places for them.
Think ahead to the days when we will be looking back on this place in time. What kinds of memories do you want to have? Will they be memories of languishing at home binge-watching Netflix and scrolling through social media? Or will they be memories of joy, laughter, love, and beauty?
Where will you find new memories?
Memories can hide in all sorts of places, and often they happen when we’re not even looking for them. For example, all of you Mama’s who suddenly got handed an honorary teaching degree have the chance to create new and special memories with your children. Things you never had time for before with the craziness of school, extra-curricular activities, and sports… now you have the time. All of those things you’ve had to take shortcuts to do, now you can take the scenic route!
And by the way, one of the greatest things that’s going to happen on this scenic route is that we will get to know the people we are traveling with a lot better. We will have more time to invest one-on-one in the lives of our children, parents, spouses, and close friends.
So, get in the car and take a social-distancy-safe trip. Right now, I’m driving around town most everyday looking at the beautiful azaleas, dogwoods, and other spring flowers that are blooming. And guess what- this year, I have more time than I have had in a really long time to enjoy these things because I’m not in a rush to get anywhere. Memory! Next week, I’ll be decorating my own yard for Easter. Memory!
Watch seeds grow. Bake bread. Find a local park that can use some TLC. Take the initiative to make your community a more beautiful place, and make some beautiful memories in the process.
Maybe some of you are literally in isolation or quarantine. Now’s the chance for you to take the time to write down those recipes, organize those photo albums or scrapbooks. Memorialize these days for future generations.
Be encouraged. Stay encouraged. And keep looking forward to the good things that the Lord has for each of us in the days ahead.