faith, Pandemic Wisdom

Still Learning

I’ve repeatedly quoted my wise friend here who told me to never to waste a good crisis. The global pandemic continues with no end in sight. I’m trying not to waste it. In my better moments I try to be open to what I might be learning from all this. At the same time, I do often have the recurring thought “Haven’t we learned enough already? “

My favorite devotional book, Jesus Calling, says in today’s entry (May 13), When things seem all wrong, look for growth opportunities. Well, things do seem all wrong….

To recap, life quickly came to a screeching halt here in America around mid-March. This is mid-May. Shops, restaurants, schools, churches and businesses shut their doors and had to rapidly re-think everything. Millions of jobs went away. Suddenly we were all at home except those on the front lines and in essential businesses. We became cut off from those we love. We were left to eat meal after meal at home, either alone or with whoever we were with in mid-March. When we go out now, gloves, masks, Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer are now our companions. There were and are shortages of things we never dreamed we’d be short of. The activities, trips and plans we were so sure of were cancelled. Our collective hair grew long. People got sick. People died. And, it’s not over.

I’m not the kind of person who can overlook such trauma. I know people who would rather change the subject and talk about other things. I absolutely can only do that for a minute and then I have to return to the stunning change of events in these last months. I will always use my pastoral voice to speak into the reality, discomfort and pain of real life.

So for today, even though, I, like you, am pandemic weary and feel we’ve learned enough and I, like you, want it to be over…I’m choosing to speak into it yet again. Let’s go over what we’ve learned.

–We pretended we were in control of our schedules, our happiness, our beauty and grooming, our finances, our food choices, our workplaces but we were not.

–We took good health and our collective immunity to disease for granted.

–We took being with people and worshipping together for granted.

–We said we trusted God but we were just talking…we were not on our knees, leaning into God or truly depending on God.

–We ignored the fact that life is easier if you are wealthy, white, privileged.

–We still do not like being told what to do or what we cannot do.

–We are really excellent at letting just about anything divide us. This has to be one of our worst features. Truly.

What I personally have learned:

–I have to work full time at soul tending and managing myself and my emotions.

–I have to work full time at not letting fear and anxiety rule me, especially now.

–I am not emotionally capable of reading/inhaling/consuming news 24/7. It is toxic to me at some point which seems to grow shorter every day.

–I am challenged in this season to be wise, informed, mature and patient.

–Just because something is open does not mean it is safe. Just because others are doing it, does not mean it is good or healthy. Sometimes I have to stand alone in what I choose to do. This emotional isolation feels terrible especially when coupled with the actual physical isolation.

–I am grateful to have people in my life who will alternate panicking with me and we can balance one another out.

–Kindness and love are seeing us through this.

–People are resilient.

–I value my loves…all of you more than ever. I do like how time has stretched out in a way that creates slower, deeper, better conversation. I’m appreciating the gift of just being able to talk to those I love with less time constraints. We’ve driven now to several places, just to lay our eyes on our loved ones, sit far apart and talk in an empty field or parking lot. I texted my brother to see if he could chat and he replied quickly, “All I’ve got is time. Call me.” I love that part.

–I’m grateful for technology…who knew what a gift this would be for us right now?

–I’m grateful for humor. The picture above is my Mother’s Day time with our children. You can see in the picture three faces only a mom can love. You can also see me beaming at them because I am so grateful for time with them, even on Zoom, taking them in, watching them be strange, just like I raised them to be.

–I do believe we will get through this.

–I trust God more than ever.

What are you learning in this crisis?

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, Mosa to Keller and Pace and breast cancer survivor. Go to http://www.drcindyryanblog.com for other blog entries, details about upcoming speaking events and the weekly Jesus Calling Prayer Call she co-hosts.

2 thoughts on “Still Learning”

  1. I have learned how quickly I became malnourished from no hugs. I learned, thanks to you Cindy, that Adam Hamilton can challenge my mind while soothing my soul. I learned that worshiping in church, among church family is a vital part of worship. I have learned how much I love the slower pace of my life now as apposed to pre-Covid 19.
    Thank you, Cindy. You are a treasure.

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