Tomorrow marks 40 days for our household. Forty days of declaring our home as a safe place, and forty days of sequestering here.
Sequester: verb — to isolate or hide away (yuck!!!!)
I find 40 days significant. Biblically, it has weight — so very many examples of 40 day trials. Reflecting back last night, a few of us discussed how we have felt from the beginning until now and the vast range of feelings, emotions, and plans that have taken place in that loooooong period of time. It has been the
longest year and a half 40 days of my entire life. At the beginning, we had no idea the duration or impact, and we made decisions based on that being unknown. We sequestered early in preparation for a couple lovely ladies to come stay in our northern shelter. Though I have good food stores, we stocked up on basics and did well enough that our trips out were very few and very strategic. We brought everyone we could under our roof making the gut-wrenching choice to separate from a few that still had an essential worker in order to keep our Mom as safe as possible. We did our best to blend many different adult personalities and ways of doing things under one roof. I think we did it well, though everyone definitely mustered up all of their grace for one another.
I watched an episode of Survivor today and watched on day 25 of 40 when entire families were brought in to visit the seasoned survivors. Grown men buckled to the ground and wept at the sight of their wives and children. All of a sudden, the things that they thought mattered meant nothing in the arms of their people. I needed to see that visual imagery right now because often, I have felt like I had no right to complain about my separation from my loved ones when others were going through much harder things. But what else matters? At the end of the day, we just want precious and normal moments around the table, snuggled on the couch, doing dishes, laughing and sharing and hugging and sharing the experiences with those we love and choose.
Were we prepared enough? Did our faith measure up to our fears? Were we kind? Panicked? Short-tempered? I didn’t have time to tackle any projects, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t lose weight. I cried myself to sleep — on the nights I slept. I didn’t learn a new skill or even read a whole book. It’s easy to judge ourselves based on other folks’ accomplishments or opinions, isn’t it?
But what I hope I did well was take care of what was in front of me. I hope I showed love and learned some things. I dug in to what matters to me. When I stand back and assess, that’s what I see. I see how my trials have strengthened me through these years, and I’m beyond thankful for the sweet and precious gifts I’ve been given and I’m the most satisfied with all of that. I hope we all come out of this stronger and wiser, having grown due to some very challenging circumstances. This is what will make us the adultier adults we were wishing would come alongside of us during this dark time. And with the help of God, we will be able to absorb the difficulty and turn it into wisdom to be shared and sprinkled over the concerns of those who will need it someday.
I can see the sunshine today. It’s cold out and even though I can’t see the sun’s work on the snow as its being done, I can see that my decks are almost snow-free. From my third floor window, I saw a flower amidst the snow declaring that we’ve almost come out of the long stretch.
Can you see it, friends? Are you feeling HOPE spill through the windows of your heart and very soul and warm it through? It’s time to stand back and assess how we want to move forward into the next part, and what is worth keeping and what has no value. Are you doing this with me? I pray you and I can dust ourselves off and come out shining, knowing to our core the peace that passes all understanding and stepping forth with joy from the darkness — better versions of us.
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