This morning during a 9am Zoom call, we were asked to write on a piece of paper a word that describes how we’re currently feeling.
Before four weeks ago, life maneuvered at a freeway pace. Our family went from one thing to the next without moments of exhaling. Balance and rhythm struck discord in my elusive quest to attain both.
And then the world halted. Completely. Entirely. I was watching the NBA game on March 11 on ESPN. The commentators announced the Utah Jazz -vs- Oklahoma City Thunder game was indefinitely postponed seconds before tipoff. Ominous pause filled the air as the commentators soaked in the gravity of the inevitable ripple effect. The Oregon Governor banned gatherings of more than 250 people that night. And the next day school canceled.
Over the past month, the waves of emotions in our reality swept me from one side of the pendulum to the next sometimes without my permission or knowledge.
I pick up my pen and while I confidently write my five-letter word, I hear a ping.
A calendar notification pops up on my screen: “Flight 2358 PDX to MSO in 47 minutes.” Gulp. If life had moved on as usual, we would have boarded a flight to Montana at 9:50am this morning for our gymnast’s regional championships. We would have sat in the stands, nervous as all get out and proud beyond belief no matter how she performed. My heart aches in this moment for her knowing how hard she’s worked yet keeping in perspective the unprecedented challenge our world is facing.
We hold up our words to the screen.
The very thing I felt five minutes before shattered in a second.
Slowly like a stained-glass window I’m reminded that shattered shards can shine. I can sit in the What could have been? or savor the present. Instead of racing out the door for school drop-offs, this morning my son and I did P.E. with Joe. Instead of miles here-and-there, board games lay piled in our living room and dinnertime laughs echo against the walls. We fly kites. We struggle through online distance learning. S’mores around the fire pit. Precious and sacred (and sometimes loud and crazy and messy in many ways).
Noticing the little things now as we shelter in place are truly the big things that will prohibit our souls from becoming quarantined when this is all over.
As this day comes to an end, instead of sitting in a Montana hotel, I watch my son and my dad play their trumpets to Halls of Montezuma, America the Beautiful, and How Great Thou Art for Matt’s 90-year-old Grandpa Tony. Behind his glass window in assisted living, Grandpa Tony salutes as he once did in the Marines and sings along. Gracie’s tiny hand reaches to the window pane. Grandpa reaches back.
And in one moment sadness is acknowledged, hard is felt, and joy breaks through the hardened ground to bloom. Eyes open. Hands out. Hearts given. Peace reclaimed. The five-letter-word for our souls.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7