People kept saying that things would get back to normal when the elections were over. The elections were seventeen days ago, and other than my phone no longer blowing up with unwanted political texts, emails, and calls, nothing seems normal.
A friend was telling me about some struggles. Some were personal, and some were work-related. The word happy found its way into the conversation. Is happiness a choice; can we choose it or not.
Do some of us choose sadness?
My friend mentioned there used to be more happy days. Now, there are more sad ones. I agreed with my friend, realizing I felt the same. There is a longing to be happy again, a returning to a time when we don’t feel so heavy- burdened and discouraged. Will it ever return?
Our world is different. To me, it seems upside down, and I can’t exactly explain what that means.
At the very least, this past year has been challenging.
- Covid-19 with all of its ups and downs.
- Race riots, social upheaval, violence, and anger.
- Financial reversals, foreclosures, and bankruptcies.
- Joblessness, lay-0ffs, spiking unemployment.
- Quarantines, families unable to gather, events canceled.
Just as we hoped for an uptick after the elections, people are now expecting better times in the new year. Will the turning of the calendar coincide with a miracle restoring us to a better whatever? Is that true hope or child-like superstition? We know that the only thing that will genuinely change from December 31 to January 1 is getting a day older.
But that doesn’t stop us from saying things like,
“I can’t wait for this year to be over; it has been the worst year ever.”
And yet, 2020 could easily duplicate in 2021. The pandemic is nowhere close to being extinguished or curable. Our social unrest will not suddenly be resloved as if a magic wand had been waved over the issues. We yearn for the economy to improve, but we also know it could deteriorate further.
About now, you are asking,
“Good grief, is there anything positive to offer?”
My answer is yes.
My answer is based on faith. None of us has any power within ourselves to make things better. But believers have power from divine sources. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit as well as the higher will and purpose of God. And that should matter to us. It should provide a living hope.
My challenge has been adjusting to a lesser lifestyle, of accepting fewer choices and smaller opportunities. I want my church to flourish again. I long to see the hundreds of people who stay in their homes on Sundays and watch online. I long for the day when the hundreds who are coming in person to no longer wear masks or be socially distant.
Our usual is walking into stores, shops, and restaurants without masks or concerns. It’s visiting family and friends in the hospitals and seeing sporting events packed with fans. Normal is getting our jobs back and working to provide for our loved ones.
Yet, our heavenly father knows all this. In some sense, my challenge is less with God and more with being an entitled American coping with the idea of life in the “home of the brave and the land of the free” being a bit harder and less convenient.
- Am I suffering to the point of shedding blood?
- Do I go to bed with an empty stomach?
- Is my home a house of tarps with a mud floor?
- Will my family face the fear of violent, religious persecution?
- Are my loved ones at risk for dysentery, cholera, or starvation?
No, those things I don’t have to worry about.
I’ll finish with the words of one who knew suffering more intimately and immensely than anyone I’ve ever known or heard of.
Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said, “Naked, I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
God bless you all. Have a good weekend.