I wrote this post a while ago, in what I’ll call “the beginning.” The post was written back then for good reason: We have deadlines here at (in)courage. Our stories are carefully reviewed and edited, talented designers create those pretty graphics you see here every day, and someone has to handle all the technical things that make this website possible.
So, I am writing this post after only a short time in self-quarantine.
By the time you read this, that will seem like ages ago.
So, let’s title this one: “A Letter to Our Future Selves in the Age of Coronavirus.”
Think for a moment where you were a couple of weeks ago. Can you see through the fog to remember? Can you recall your fears and anxieties? Do you remember the early decluttering projects, and the weird luxury of time on your hands? Did you paint the bathroom and finally put photos into albums? How many puzzles did you finish? Remember those funny first memes on social media, a silly but needed respite from all the heaviness of the press conferences? On the one hand, the days presented new challenges for all of us, but for so many of you who have been running and hustling, perhaps this new time in our history gave you the unexpected opportunity to simply be still.
Doesn’t that seem like forever ago?
That “forever ago” is the one from which I’m writing these words. And they are echoing forward to find you today.
As I wrote this post, you and I had only begun the uncomfortable existence of being closed in. Our movements were just beginning to be restricted by new rules. We had started using phrases we had never used before – phrases like “social distancing” and “self-quarantine.”
When I wrote this, I had hoped that by the time you’d be reading this on a Saturday morning in April, the virus would have vanished into thin air. My hope was that we’d all have gone back to our regular patterns of bumping into one another at our favorite restaurants, sitting next to each other on the bleachers, shaking hands, not worrying about germs on the door handle, and hugging at the back of the church – the physical one, not the one we do on Facebook Live.
Maybe by the time you read this, someone I love will have gotten sick. It scares me to write it out like that, but it’s possible. Maybe the rules restricting my movement will have been tightened. Maybe I really will have run out of toilet paper. Maybe I still won’t be able see the light at the end of the tunnel. I fear that friends will lose their jobs or struggle to pay the bills because the boss had to close up shop.
I don’t know. I just don’t know.
I remember, once upon a time, when I would plan out my life weeks, or even months, ahead.
“Next week, I’ll get a haircut.”
“By May, I’ll have the landscaping beds planted.”
“By summer, I’ll have my next book written.”
“By fall, she’ll be in college.”
I don’t do that so much anymore.
In a strange way, I think that’s the gift we’ve been given. The inability to plan far ahead into the future is the strange gift of this awful time — to live in the moments and minutes and hours, instead of the days and weeks and months.
More than any time in recent history, we are learning what it means to live in the “right now.” And the right now holds so much loveliness, not the least of which is a deeper understanding that God actually is running the show down here on Planet Earth.
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)
Go ahead and make your plans. That’s what I will say to my future self. But I’ll add this: Hold your plans loosely because you never know what tomorrow or even the next hour may bring. You don’t get to know what’s up ahead. God alone sees what’s coming.
So let’s do this instead: Let’s treasure every single moment. It’s all a gift. It really is.
What is an unexpected gift for you that has come out of
this unusual season we’ve been in?
The inability to plan far ahead into the future is the strange gift of this awful time -- to live in the moments and minutes and hours, instead of the days and weeks and months. -@dukeslee: Click To Tweet