Most of us have experienced a significant disruption at some point, be it a serious illness, the death of a loved one, a season of unemployment, or a move to a new area. Clearly, COVID has been a disruption for our community and the whole world. Disruptions--and how we respond to them--change us in ways both practical and profound. Perhaps you and your children have commiserated together over the cancellation of graduation celebrations, camps, or team sports. Soberingly, many have lost much, much more: secure employment, anticipated adoptions, and even the lives of loved ones.
Without dismissing the reality of these losses, have you and your children also considered what you have gained during this time? As believers, we don’t consider disruptions as something simply to be gotten through, but as an invitation from a loving God to relate more deeply with Him and, in relationship with Him, recalibrate our priorities. Have you sensed an invitation from God amidst this disruption? Are there COVID-era practices or habits that you and your family want to incorporate into your non-pandemic life?
I’ve broached this topic with many people over the past few months. Some of the reflections I’ve heard are beautiful in their goodness and simplicity. The gifts of more sleep, more frequent and relaxed family meals, and time outdoors have been noted by many who desire to prioritize these good gifts going forward. A few responses have surprised me. For example, in March, I began to organize regular Zoom calls with my parents and sisters. Predictably (and humorously), each session has required a bit of Zoom troubleshooting with my parents. My enthusiasm for Zoom has waned significantly over the months, but when I asked my parents what intentional practice they want to keep from this COVID-era, they said the family Zoom calls! They experienced joy seeing their adult children all together again, even with technical challenges.
Some reflections dig deeper. A few people have sensed an invitation to re-evaluate their vocations or re-engage spiritual disciplines they had pushed away during “normal” times. One friend gained a desire to seek help for dysfunctional family dynamics that were easy to sweep under the rug when everyone was so busy. Another acquaintance realized how uncomfortable she was with herself and her relationship with God. After a honeymoon period of catching up on movies, connecting with old friends, and cooking new recipes, she discovered a spiritual emptiness that she had previously numbed with work, social media, and, ironically, church activities. Through this disruption, God has extended an invitation to her to reconnect with Him and learn more about who He has made her to be.
The rhythms of our lives are changing again, and we are so fortunate to have our children back to school at Dominion. While everything is not back to the pre-pandemic normal, sports and extracurriculars are picking up, and I’m starting to log more miles in the family vehicle. The holidays will soon be here, and while they may be different this year, we will all find ourselves getting even busier. But before that happens, consider taking the time to reflect on what you may have gained during the past seven months. Have you experienced an invitation from God? Are there new ways of being that you want to keep, even as life settles into a different kind of normal? Invite your children to give their perspective; listen to them and observe how God is working in their lives. Perhaps God has something to teach us through our children’s reflections on life during this disruption. Individually and as a family, prayerfully consider the ways God may be inviting you to a greater connection with Him and a more intentional lifestyle, no matter the season.