Disappointed? Yep, me too. Frustrated, upset, angry, scared, sad? It’s going around.
I should be watching late night basketball right now, rooting for a buzzer beater on this, the best sports day of the year.
Instead, my tv screen is dark.
And that’s just basketball.
Thousands are sick and dying, a pandemic sweeping the globe. Hospitals are overwhelmed. Health care workers are brave but stressed. Officials must make hard decisions that will change the course of people’s lives.
Kids are out of school, missing weeks of educational and social time they were counting on, even if they didn’t realize it. They miss their friends and their teachers. Long-awaited field trips are cancelled. Parents are scrambling to fit in the full weight of their kids’ education, half of which seems to be figuring out who needs to log into which device at what time and oh yeah, what was my password?
Sports teams sit idle, practices and games never to be made up. Spring break trips are gone with the wind – the beaches are closed and even the sun doesn’t want to shine. Arenas where pro teams play are empty, hotels are empty, restaurants are empty, toilet paper shelves are empty, bank accounts of thousands of service workers are suddenly, unexpectedly – empty.
Jobs disappear overnight. Entrepreneurs scramble to keep their dreams afloat. Industries are decimated. Parents wonder how they’re going to make rent, feed their kids, survive.
Churches are empty too, pastors preaching to a single camera on Sunday.
Kids and parents alike have had their identities ripped away. For many, their security is gone as much of their money has followed the markets down the drain.
And you know what? It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be disappointed, to grieve, to question, to not know which end is up. It’s okay to be scared and long for the ordinary boringness of a normal day when it’s no big deal to grab a loaf of bread on the way home from work.
We can’t stay there forever, can’t let our sadness turn to bitterness, but we’re made to love and because of that, to be sad when hard things happen. Feel the brokenness all around you, feel the hopelessness, feel the pain and the panic, feel the dread, feel the tears. Don’t act like they’re not real or you shouldn’t feel them – they’re real and they hurt.
Let those feelings drive you to long for your home, the home you’ve never known, where wrongs will be made right, where all the bad becomes undone, where we will abide forever in the shelter of the Most High.
Disease and death and sorrow – our constant companions these days – will be no more.
That perspective is hard to see right now, in this first quarter of 2020 that feels like it’s drop-kicking us to the curb. Look for small signs, like delicate blooms springing into beauty as trees wake from winter’s rest. All around them is grey and brown and sad, and yet, there, the new green and the brilliant white appear, quietly, tenderly, defiantly, bringing with them that elusive spark we long for: hope.