It’s been a few weeks since I feel like I’ve written anything significant or meaningful on here. It’s not that I’ve stopped thinking or writing since then, I just haven’t had the energy to put it up and on here.
Like many people, I’m tired. If I’m not careful, I could easily lose hope. I am doing my best to focus on the things that give me hope. My kids. My family. My work. My friends. My mission.
I told someone the other day that lately, it has felt as if the seeds that I have been planting for the past few years are finally beginning to sprout and grow. Appropriate considering that Fall is usually harvest season.
Anyone who knows me, knows that the Fall is NOT my favorite time of year. I’m convinced that God has tried to get me to rethink that as every other human in my household has a birthday within the next three weeks or so. It’s hard not to celebrate when some of your favorite people in the world are celebrating when they actually came into that world.
I have been trying my best to focus on the good, not ignoring what isn’t good, but trying to be a force for change against it through good things. I’ve been a proponent of StrengthsFinders for years because that’s the premise behind it, focus on what you do well rather than what you don’t. It’s been a gamechanger for me, so why not try it throughout life, focusing on what we can change and what we have capacity for within ourselves.
I’m in such a state right now that I feel like small things could easily set me off. My patience has run thin with so many things, and that turns into limited patience with people, which kind of sucks when you work with people all the time.
I’ve yelled at my kids for forgetting their masks when we go out, only to realize my own mask is sitting on the counter next to theirs. My oldest has recommended starting a podcast that’s just me in the car yelling at other drivers. His words to me, “I’d listen.” He’s not quite a little boy anymore, otherwise I might say, “Out of the mouths of babes.”
The glimmers are the places that catch my eye, and I’m trying not to bounce from them. They are the signs of life, the signs that things are still moving along, albeit slower than we might have wished or hoped, but they’re moving nonetheless.
A year ago, I started a new church. This year hasn’t gone anything like I had expected, wished, or even hoped. But God is still good, despite 2020. Somehow or another, because of God’s goodness and faithfulness, we continue to serve him and be on mission in our community. Some of the glimmers I see have been around that.
Before we launched this new church, a friend and colleague told me about a dream that he had about me. Without getting into all the details, the gist of it all was that I got stuck in the mud. Not the most encouraging dream to be handed to someone as they embark on a journey like this.
As is normally the case with me, I went into full engineering mode: discover the facts, find the problems, develop a solution. But there are things in life for which that just doesn’t work. As much as we’d like to avoid the pitfalls by watching out for the things that others have experienced, there are plenty of pitfalls of our own that we will inevitably fall into despite every effort on our part to avoid them. We can’t avoid what we can’t see.
As I survey the last few weeks, seeking answers as to why things have felt so hard, I am reminded that this time of year is always hard for me. The Fall has been traditionally busy in my house. School starts. Activities get underway. Temperatures change. Days grow shorter and nights seem longer.
But as I surveyed, I think I landed on two things that have made these weeks especially hard. The first is that we had been in a state of flux and isolation for nearly six months. Then, it was as if the world began to turn again. Although there was warning and notice of that, I’m just not sure that I was ready for the melee that would ensue with the restarting of so many things.
Sports for my children have been a source of joy and consistency. My wife and I have been grateful for them. Having the choice to do school face to face or virtual has also been a gift for our whole family. My children needed social interaction and we truly believed that it could be done safely.
The other thing that has been hard is that as your kids grow, so do the issues they take on. It is hard as a parent to see your children have to grow through the pain of getting older. It’s not that there are so many struggles, and the issues that they have faced have been minimal, but anytime you see your children hurting, your heart hurts too.
I have to compile my thoughts about all the good that I’ve seen lately. I want to do it justice, so I need to process through it. I am so grateful to God for the glimmers of hope I see. I am glad that I get to be a part of what he is doing. I don’t take that for granted….at all.
So, wherever you are, whatever is going on, do your best to focus on those glimmers. There are plenty of voices telling you to fear, worry, or hate, do your best to drown those out. Don’t ignore them, but don’t fixate on them either. Find the good that you see, make a big deal about it, celebrate it, testify about it. Not only will you feel better, but the people around you may thank you for helping them as well.