In all my craziest dreams, I never envisioned a reality in which a virus would shut down the world. I would have scoffed if someone had predicted this. Everyone ordered to stay home? Impossible. Cancel sports? Never. Cancel Church? No way. But, here we are, all of us, in our homes with everything canceled.
I took my dog on his fourth walk of the day, and it felt like I was walking him through the 1950’s. An entire family sat on their front porch playing cards. Kids were in their front yard playing catch with their dad, which is something I usually only see in movies. More dogs than I would have guessed lived in our neighborhood were getting walked. I saw one dog who darted in every direction except forward, barked and bit at his leash, and finally rolled onto his back and howled. That dog was clearly not familiar with the walking process.
There is a lot of devastation caused by this calamity. We don’t even know the full scope of damage we are experiencing. Many of us are facing great loss and intense grief. There is no denying we are living in one of the most unsettling times of our history.
But, I have to admit, I feel giddy when I look at our empty calendar. I can’t keep the smile off my face when I ask Mike what we have going on after supper and he says, “Do you want to play a game or watch a movie?” I love reclaiming five hours every week by simply not driving to work. And something feels right deep in my heart when I see whole families taking a walk, playing games, grilling out, and watching the sun set.
And I ask myself, “What is the Spirit of the Lord saying?” His voice is still and small and easy to miss because the worry and fear are so loud.
When I was little, I noticed my grandpa placing buckets in a line next to his garage one day. When I asked what he was doing, he told me there was a storm coming. He wanted to collect rainwater in the buckets and use it to water his garden the next day. I’ll never forget him saying to me, “Don’t waste the storm.”
I’ve heard a lot of encouragement to use this time to read some good books, call my family, balance my budget, and all of that is good. But, I think it goes much, much deeper than that. What if there is more to it than doing some things I never have time to do? Is it possible that a hard stop was necessary because I have grown addicted to distraction? Every single distraction is canceled, and it has me looking at my priorities; it has me rethinking the eternal story I want to leave as a legacy. It has me wondering what the message of my life is and what I would like it to be. It has me listening and aligning my spirit with what the Spirit of the Lord is saying.
At the end of this, I hope I have more than clean pantries. I hope I have clarity on which distractions I will allow back into my life and which distractions are gone forever. I hope I have a slower pace and deeper relationships. I hope I have an intolerance for activities devoid of meaning. And I hope I am more familiar with the still small voice I’m trying to hear.
Don’t waste the storm.