Day 22 (I think) of social distancing, and the novelty is wearing off! I have projects on my list to tackle, but I’m losing motivation. I’m dealing with worry and anxiety like everyone else, and learning to pray a whole lot more. I’m checking updates on the news and FaceBook multiple times a day to stay connected to the outside world. Anybody else? Anybody?!
AND I’m facing the hard realities of life, and getting a needed new perspective.
Before we go there, can I share a story about how we can get WAY too focused on the wrong things? Good. I’m glad I have your permission:-).
I love food, good food, quality food. Okay, I admit it, I can get obsessed with food! I guess that makes me a “foodie.” I’m pretty particular about my food.
So, when I was in Asheville, NC, recently, I found out it ranks 10th in the nation for really good restaurants. Farm to table kind of fare. The really good stuff! Who knew? The volunteer at the visitor center said when she moved to Asheville, she “ate her way through the town.” Those were her words. I think I need to go back and try that:-).
On with the story. Our friends, John and Christie Buuck, and Lane and I toured the Biltmore Estates while in Asheville, planning to eat on the Estate at one of their famous restaurants. (*Side note: Just the day before we were rating ourselves on a scale of 1-10 how much of a “foodie” we each were. I rated myself a 9-10. John and Christie were each a 1-2. And Lane was about a 3-4.)
True to form, I researched all the restaurant options and picked the one I thought had the best atmosphere and food. I picked the Deerpark restaurant. However, someone in our party (I will not name names, but she loves horses!) wanted to eat at the Stable Cafe because it would be closer to the house, and would be in the original horse stables. It sounded more like lunch fare to me, and I expressed my displeasure (okay, maybe I pouted a bit) about the possible change. For the time being it was tabled, till we saw how long the tour took.
By the time we finished the tour (much longer than we thought), we were all famished and very ready to eat. The Stable Cafe won out, mainly because it was the closest sit-down restaurant, and it turned out to be a wonderful choice!
I felt bad about my earlier pouting and admitted it was a good choice. Out loud. Verbally. I admitted I was wrong!
I tell that story to say I/we can get focused on really unimportant stuff.
So, here’s the reality check. We will ALL die, and we don’t know when. Not one of us will escape this cold, harsh reality that our physical bodies will not last forever. We will leave this earth. It may be in 70 years. Or 50. Or 20. Or 10. Or tomorrow.
Maybe you thought somehow you were going to escape it. Or maybe you have blocked it out of your mind, figuratively putting your hands over your ears and singing “la, la, la, la, la…..”
I know. This is heavy!
Now, I’m sure this is not new information to you, but sometimes you and I live like we don’t remember this very important fact.
And before we go any further, I want you to know I’m not suggesting we go around with long faces waiting for the inevitable to happen. Or worrying about when it might happen and how. Remember Chicken Little who was running around creating panic by shouting “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”
Actually, right now it does feel like the sky is falling! Our lives have changed dramatically due to our current pandemic crisis. In our isolation, we fear that we could be the next victim of the coronavirus and are tempted to focus on the “what if’s” rather than “what is.” The fear and anxiety can suck us in, and make us forget what we have; the gift of life today.
So LIVE today, savoring the moments you have. Enjoy life, spread joy and love those around you. Focus on the “majors,” the things that will matter after your physical life is over.
I’ve experienced enough loss in my life to know this fact to be true, “we will ALL die, and we do not know when.” A classmate of mine in elementary school dies during a simple operation to set a broken arm. A child I taught is killed in a freak boating accident over the summer. My mother is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the age of 58, and is gone nine months later.
On a Monday, my husband is fine. The next day, on Tuesday, he is disoriented and throwing up. On Wednesday, he is diagnosed with a glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumor, and is never the same. Literally, we woke up one morning and everything had changed. With extensive treatments, he lasted 5 1/2 months.
My father lived a long, full, “to the max” kind of life. But at the age of 87, he had to give in to the cancer taking over his body. He died with more he wanted to accomplish, another article he wanted to write, another song he wanted to sing, another prayer he wanted to pray, another person he wanted to encourage. He wrung everything he could out of those 87 years. But he couldn’t stop the inevitable. He did die. His physical body stopped functioning.
In light of this fact, or reality check, what matters most and how then shall we live? Too often, I get focused on really unimportant things or simply think too much about me! It’s NOT about me!!
A good friend of mine, Carrie Wisehart, says “Today is the best day ever; because if today were my last day, I would want it to be my best day. Therefore, today is the best day ever.” Not only that, I would want whatever I do on that day to matter in light of eternity.
Our choices today can make a difference for eternity!
Yes, the reality is “we will ALL die, and we don’t know when.” A physical death. The coronavirus could take us, or some other pandemic down the road.
But I have hope of life eternal! I can live my life knowing that if I die tomorrow, my spirit will live on in heaven with God, the Father, and Jesus Christ, His Son. Because Jesus gave his life to cover my sins, and I’ve accepted his sacrifice and forgiveness, I have this assurance:-).
And this knowledge means I stop focusing on what I want, how I’ve been wronged, what I somehow believe I deserve, what I believe is important and start viewing things through the lens of eternity. Spiritual eyes is what I need!
This season of isolation at home is giving us all the opportunity to change our focus, to slow down, stop the hectic pace, and remember what is really important.
Let’s live with our spiritual eyes focused on what really matters. Yes, the “sky may be falling,” but my hope is in an unshakeable kingdom on the “other side!” And THAT perspective makes all the difference in how I live:-).
Can I be truly honest with you? You know my thoughts anyway, right? I am selfish. There. I said it. Named it. Called it. But you want to change me. Pull me out of my comfortable, “what does Karen want” world. And for what purpose? So that I can reflect Your Son, Jesus, to a world without hope. They can’t see YOU if it’s all about me.
Give me spiritual eyes to see people, Your creation, the way You see them. Not with a critical eye, a judgmental eye, but with Your loving eyes. Eyes that love unconditionally and equally. Eyes that see inside, past the rough exterior or the plastic pretense. Eyes full of love, grace and compassion. Eyes that offer hope.
Daily….dying to me…..seeking You……valuing others above myself…….seeing with Your eyes. It’s not about me!
In Jesus’ name, Amen.