How and when do you know what kind of day you’re about to have? Are you a first thing in the morning waker-upper springing from your bed to see what the day has in store for you? Are you a push the snooze button 14 times because somehow that sleep you get every 10 minutes is the best sleep you’ve had all night? Are you without alarm because you have cats or dogs that have a better internal digestive clock than any alarm you could purchase? I one time cat-watched for a friend who gave me the inside info. that Crosby the cat would “yell” quite early in the morning. There was no expectation of food at that time, no need for litterbox use, Crosby simply needed the human to get up, for at least a few minutes, and then all would be good. Life was much more peaceful during that stay when I finally learned to comply. Is your day determined by the amount of sunshine, the temperature, the HUMIDITY? Is it determined by number and type of tasks, amount and content of zoom interactions, the overall purpose and meaning of life itself???
On this, I’m convinced day 3,452,647 of the 18+1 covids, I’m intrigued by how and what we humans allow to determine our days. I’ve heard and have myself used the term “fasting” for going a day, maybe two, without the news – that some days it’s simply too much. Or maybe it’s always too much, but somedays we can handle it better than others. Normally we only or most only talk about fasting when reflecting on the season of Lent, but somehow and somedays this “season” feels like the movie “Groundhog Day” only with Lent. It’s like Lent never ended because the covids happened before reaching Easter. Yes, I’m quite aware that the covids didn’t stop Jesus’ resurrection, but it changed our celebration of it in a way that NOBODY talked about in seminary. Like, here’s a situation, what will you do if there’s a year when you can’t have in-person celebrations for all the big, or little, or ordinary time religious observances? You have 15 minutes to discuss and then report back, go. No professor, even those who loved role play, EVER gave that as a possible situation.
I like to say that past experiences are like the coat hooks we have to hang newer experiences that are connected. We may have a new coat, but we still have a familiar place to hang it. The 18+1 covid does not have hook, or actually it has a hook that is so rusty from 1918 that we aren’t really sure we can hang this new coat on it and have it hold. I won’t try and push that analogy too far. But because it’s a “novel” virus, the almost-something-new-about-it-everyday-ness is getting old.
I love waking up to thunderstorms. Today I didn’t love it. I love a dash of cooler weather in Kansas in July. Today I didn’t love it. I love thinking about creative and outlandish ways to reach and connect our discipleship with the Jesus that transcends generations, today I have not so much of anything there. I have NO explanation why the gray clouds have entered my being on this day. AND here’s what I have learned. NOT to try and talk myself out of it. Surprised? Me too. I can usually talk my way through nearly anything – except out of speeding tickets. But what I’ve learned is that some days I need to sit with the gray-ness of spirit. I can tell it’s not a dark night of the soul intensity. It’s not a give up there’s nothing we can do to make the world better conviction. It’s more a need for a little generosity of spirit for where I am right now and the understanding that I’m more apt to move through it with a heart of kindness than one of critique. And while I’d like to eat an entire container of animal cookies because, well, animal cookies. The ensuing after effects are NOT helpful, so I will choose not to do that. And that’s the other side of sitting with the gray-ness for a bit. Recognizing I still have the agency to make good choices in the harder days because of God’s grace. Which means not the whole container, but a good solid handful may make things a little better for a little while.
This is also a day I would not normally find time to run with a rather high content of tasks to complete. AND today the tasks will be worked around fitting in a run because I’ve learned that a shot of endorphins plus some positive energy of a walk or a run or some gardening or whatever the level of physical activity we can do goes a long way in helping a day get better.
What we know is that when we are facing something as long-term and nearly all-encompassing for so many aspects of life as a pandemic, breaking it down into survivable pieces is tremendously important. Learning there are some days I can vision for a future in 3 month, 6 month, and 12 month+ increments, and other days, not so much, helps in simply being whelmed and not over all the time.
There are days I suppose we need the Vince Lombardi “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing,” to remind us to keep going if we’re just convincing ourselves not much is worth doing. AND 99 and 9/10ths% of the rest of the time learning to listen, making mostly good choices with diet and exercise when we’re most vulnerable to not, and knowing, knowing, knowing that even the covids 18+1 will pass, can help us get through the particularly “meh” days when they happen. Some of my friends might also say a nicely portioned glass of wine doesn’t hurt either. Remember Jesus did change water into that toward the beginning of the gospel of John so . . .
Here’s to a shot (snort) of joy on your meh days. Here’s to surprising rays of sunshine in the midst of the clouds. Here’s to bobbleheads of your favorite Dr., Supreme Court Justice, and Royals catcher, along with, for some of us, John Wesley. And here’s to being surrounded by God’s love, understanding, and GRACE. Every. Single. Day.
This flashmob of Ode to Joy makes me smile – because somehow and some way there is always joy, we simply have to find it!