I believe that every now and then something so spectacular happens, we remember it forever. But most of the time life is experience recycled. Our moments seem insignificant until they are gone like vapor. Then one day we look back.
We meet our past while standing in the aisle at the super market. We are reminded of a conversation while walking along a tree laden trail. We enter a room and suddenly we sense that we’ve been here before. A song takes us back to a time long forgotten. We are always on the verge of remembering – remembering something.
It’s been over 40 days since moment by moment little pieces of life as we know it started fading. The familiar has become the strange. Every routine has been disrupted. Everything has changed, but something hasn’t. We are going to remember this season for the rest of our lives. At an unforeseen time in the future, what will we remember? How do we want to remember this event, this day, this season. Could it become one of our finest?
Through the Fire
This morning, I was reminded that for many, this has been a season of deep loneliness, anxiety, depression, and fear. The weight of worry is paralyzing people in my neighborhood and friendship circles. How often do we feel like we are drowning with nothing to pull us out of the deep end. This is our reality. We are going through fire and the scars of this pandemic will impact us for many years.So will the memories borne out of it.
We all have opinions about what should happen, what we want to happen, what we wish had never happened at all. Let’s go with the fact that we can all agree on. We wish this had never happened at all. But it did, so what can we learn from this?
Strategy for Survival
Before we go on, if the news is running 24/7 (well ok, 16/7 because hopefully you do sleep), be brave. Turn it off. There is nothing life-giving about a steady diet of news. It does not serve you well. If you must watch the news, catch it at noon. Enough! That will tell you everything you need to know.
Find a calendar with very large squares, or make one with your kids. You will need it at least for the next three weeks. If you are alone, this is for you too.
Make a list of these things: Activities to do together. Make a list of Zoom calls for school or online learning. Walks or bike rides. Reading time. Screen time (yes, schedule it). Names, addresses, phone numbers. Organizing/cleaning projects. Outdoor play. Baking. Cooking. Hobby time.
Write every activity on the calendar. Some things might happen every day. Others might be once over the next three weeks. Plan this month of May with as much enthusiasm as a vacation – because this is your survival strategy. What will you learn? Who will you write to? Who will you Zoom with? What games will you play? What will you sew or paint or read or watch? How do you want to remember these days?
You might think this idea to be nonsense. You might think this crazy idea is a lot of work for the value you’ll receive. I promise you, it will have a high work to value ratio. I also promise it might be a future memory that brings you back to this point in time, a memory of this season. And we will remember. While shopping the air hints at fresh ground coffee. Walking past the place where hand-painted rocks decorate the ground. A song on the radio instantly returns you to hours spent on the living room floor.
We Will Remember
These are days of constant togetherness. These are the days of endless time alone. I hate to say it because everyone has worn the saying to shreds. We are all in this together. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, how you normally spend your day. Nothing is normal. We might not be in the same set of circumstances, our vessels will look very different, but we are all affected by the waves.
Be careful with your moments because they become your memories. When this is over. When years have passed. How do you want to remember this time? What can you do to make it one of your finest seasons?
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. The rivers will not overwhelm you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be scorched,
and the flame will not burn you.
For I am the Lord your God – Isaiah 43:2