This past forty days has been a journey through the uncertainty of life. Change to what we deem normal is never easy, and what became a new normal had many people close to me grasping at any shred of the old normal. The old normal to many of us was unsustainable in the long run. Many of us have been living beyond our means in financial, mental, emotional, spiritual and physical areas of our day.
Lent is the sacrifice and withdraw into the desert for forty days. The desert of reflection and fasting. The Corona virus pandemic has forced many of us to start reflecting on what is truly important and reevaluate our lives in a season of uncertainty.
When I started on the Lent season on Ash Wednesday in late February, the virus had just made land fall in the Seattle area. Over the forty days that was Lent, the reality of what COVID-19 was came to be a scary monster consuming everything in it’s path. That Ash Wednesday back in February was just the beginning of the long days ahead. Days that tested me, and the people around me. Days where the ups and the downs were like waves of emotions. Days were you clinging to your faith that everything was going to be okay. Days were you leaned more into Jesus to get you through the days. Weeks where Zoom, Blue Jeans, and Skype were the only connection to friends and family. Lent season this time was different. This time it mirrored exactly as Lent was all those centuries ago. A time of reflection, sacrifice, and withdrawing from the world to heal.
I started Lent season with a list of things I was giving up for forty days, yet when I type these out, some of them had to be broken in the times of crisis. Two of them were no social media except LinkedIn, and no eating junk food. The three that survived the forty days were no meat Mondays and Fridays, no watching ghost shows on Travel channel, and no spending on things not needed. During the forty days of staying home to flatten the curve, I accomplished reflection by working out everyday, drinking more water, prioritizing self-care, reading more books and daily devotional with the Lord.
The true lessons of Lent came during the time of quarantine.
Taking a step back and breathe: there was a lot of emotional roller coaster rides through the first three weeks of the pandemic in the USA. Taking a step back from the constant updates of what was going on helped to refocus on what is happening in the present moment.
Mindfulness: Taking the time to focus on the here and now. Focus on what the Lord has given you in the moment, and what He is trying to say to you. Being aware of those around you, and your actions.
Old bridge: where the past meets the future. This old bridge was a reminder of times when hardships happen, we like a wooden bridge can withstand the elements. I found this bridge to be a metaphor in how the normal I got use to covered up a lot of my true self. I had to pull the weeds and cut back the overgrowth to reveal the life living under it.
Growing closer to Jesus and strengthening my faith: waking up everyday and spend the few minutes with the Lord in devotion. Sitting in the quiet stillness of the morning with a coffee in hand and a devotional, I grew closer to the Lord. Thankful for everything he has given, and all he will give in the coming months.
Community of the scattered: even when the church body could not come together, we all found a way to keep connected. Good Friday and Easter were not canceled. Instead made changes to how to celebrate, and how to best come together to share in the celebration.
With another month still to go here in Seattle, the next few months are going to test all of us as we rebuild and move forward. This Lent season has been a season of reflection and reevaluation of everything I have come to think is normal.
Stay healthy and stay safe!
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