Though I’m not blogging these days as much as I used to, I do try to write in a journal each day – mostly to process. I’m reading through a Lent study called Every Broken Thing by Erin Moon (of The Popcast and The Bible Binge podcast fame).
Every Broken Thing walks through the book of Ecclesiastes, and… am I the only one who doesn’t recall reading through this book? Like, ever? I was talking to my Dad about it and mentioned it was a little hard to believe anyone let this into biblical canon, because the writer, Qoheleth — a generic Hebrew term for gatherer/assembler/teacher; we really can’t say for sure who wrote it — is a straight up buzzkill.
Even so, it’s an interesting contrast of Old Testament vs. New Testament; then vs. now and certainly a lot to digest. And then, throwing in the crazy two weeks we’ve had here in Nashville… obviously, there’s a lot to digest in this regard, too.
Anyone who’s talked to me this year has probably heard me mention something about patterns I’ve noticed. I first started paying attention last November and they were still on my brain in January when I published my first blog post of 2020: Our hustle-promoting culture is killing us. We’re too busy for our own good.
On Friday, March 13, I jotted down notes on everything being cancelled: March Madness, church services, events we were scheduled to work, plans with friends, etc. It’s enough to make your head spin.
But, the patterns continue to knock. And I continue to process.
“I’ve had some thoughts on this,” I wrote. “Days like these bring out all the cherry-picked scripture posts and one I’ve been seeing a lot is Romans 8:28. Understanding that God works “for the good of those who loves him…” is it possible that we all just needed some time to stay home and REST?!”
My other thoughts are mostly questions surrounding loving through walls. No, I’m not talking about the Netflix social train-wreck, Love is Blind, but rather… “How can I love the people around me while they’re not physically around me?”
“Love cannot ease every anguish in the world, but tenderly applied, it can transfigure fortunes, light up faces, turn the tide.”Jenny, Call the Midwife
Since I have some newfound time, I’m compiling a list of recommendations (and things I’m trying to do myself):
Look up. Even those under a government-mandated quarantine are still encouraged to walk outdoors 2x/day. A little fresh air and vitamin D (when the sun cooperates) can go a long way in your self-care, which is Step One for loving others well.
I’ll also add reading books, listening to podcasts (like Starting with a Song!), or creating a what’s something I’ve always wanted to do? bucket list are fun ways to fill your own cup.
Get online. I’m usually an advocate for less screen time, but when my husband suggested we host a video chat happy hour, I thought it was the cutest idea. Connecting through a screen is still connecting and the silver lining of technology allows us SO many ways to do this.
Find some stamps. Does anyone else feel like they’re hitting unsubscribe in their inbox daily? I do, for sure. But, it probably just adds to the joy I feel when receiving a hand-written, personal note in the mail. Need inspo? Snail Mail Social Club is based in Nashville and occasionally puts together themed packages with stationery, stickers, and all kinds of vintage, mail-able fun stuff.
The same people just created @ShutInSocialClub specifically for social distancing. Think of it like signing up for a pen pal! I’ve already submitted my info.
Look around. My church held services online this past Sunday. I’m a visual learner, so when our pastor filmed a short segment at Arrington Vineyards to illustrate how branches can do nothing apart from the vine, it resonated with me: What comes out of you is evidence of what you’re connected to. Is the fruit of your connection peace? Let’s actively look for opportunities to share those gifts. We need this now more than ever.