I remember when this photo was taken.
It was around 1999 or 2000. Easter time. (and we’re not gonna talk about that hair, ok, y’all? Mercy.)
We had been trying for what seemed like forever to have a baby. At this point, I think it had been six or seven years. Lots of tests, lots of hormones, among other things.
I had finally given up and decided that we were just going to be that aunt and uncle. The ones without kids who would swoop in, grab the nieces and nephews and spoil them rotten, returning them to their parents full of sugar and great memories.
We’d even been talking about moving to the mountains – because with no kids we didn’t have to worry about school districts and proximity to extracurricular activities.
I remember this Lois thinking that she was forever going to be childless. That God had told her very loudly “NO” on the question of having children.
That it was a permanent situation.
I found this picture yesterday while I was cleaning my office. The photo brought back a flood of memories and emotions, putting me right back in that place where I was twenty years ago. Smiling for the camera and thinking, “Well, we may as well get used to pictures of just the two of us because that’s how it’s going to be from now on.”
And it struck me — as I was spring cleaning on our COVID-19 lockdown — how similar some of the emotions and feelings I’m having right now were to the ones I was feeling back then. That feeling of the situation being permanent. Of lasting forever. That God had other plans for me. Plans I wasn’t signed up for or on board with.
This past week has been a weird one, hasn’t it?
As we all wrestle with this “new normal” we are living. And while we put all our plans aside and adjust to a much slower pace of life; staying at home and putting spring breaks, holidays, travel, parties, weddings, etc. on hold. A new normal none of us signed up for. One we are also wondering when it will end.
How long will this last?
Without having a definite date to look forward to in terms of our “social distancing” it begins to feel permanent, doesn’t it?
If I could go back and talk to the Lois of 1999, I think I would tell her that she had no idea what God had in store for her. Of His blessings and faithfulness that were to come. That riding out the particular season she was in, and embracing the now was so important. Rather than looking at what she didn’t have, she should be embracing what she did have. Little did she know, the world would look so very different in a few years — 9/11 would come, along with a new little baby girl that was such a blessed surprise.
I think the same is true for us now.
While this feels permanent, like we have put our lives on hold and they may not resume for anytime soon, it’s not. The thing I keep reminding myself is this — life may not be the same post-COVID-19 but there is no reason to feel as if right now, this moment is not valuable and should be embraced and savored.
And just like the 1999 Lois, I need to remember that this too shall pass. Hopefully, in a few months we will all be back to our normal frenetic life – celebrating summertime with barbecues and beach trips, shopping and hanging out with friends. And I want to embrace what is in my right now – time at home with my family – a family that has recently been so busy that we are often just passing by one another as we race from one commitment to another. I want to enjoy reading a book and cleaning closets, planting flowers and listening to the birds, baking breads and cakes with my youngest, scheming our next adventure with my oldest, watching movies as a family and making scrumptious dinners with my love.
Rather than dwelling on all the things I can’t do, I want to celebrate the things I can do. Things that I might have forgotten or pushed aside recently.
And I want to remember this, most importantly, that God has a plan. And while we may not know how long our quarantine will last, or what our world will look like on the other side of it, He does. And my worry and angst about what tomorrow holds does nothing but stop me from embracing today. It does not fix tomorrow’s problems. It does not (really) prepare me for tomorrow’s events. It just robs me of today’s joy.
And this is hard, y’all. Really hard. Especially for me – because I’m a planner (and a worrier) and I like to know what comes next. As I sit here with a calendar full of things that have been crossed out it is hard not to think “now what?” and feel that worry. What about income? What about our food stores? What about… What about… What about…
I’m trying to stop myself right there.
When the worry comes.
I’m trying to train my brain to say “What will be will be. And God is in control. He already knows and you don’t need to know right now.”
It’s hard. But I am learning.
And as I learn, I’m finding peace.
I don’t have to have the plan. I don’t need all the answers.
I just need to trust. I need to focus on today. I need to embrace what is in front of me.
So, I am hoping that 2020 Lois will do a little better than 1999 Lois did. She’s still a work in progress (aren’t we all) but I’d like to think she is a little ahead of the 20 years ago Lois.
I hope you, too, are able to find some peace in these uncertain times. To rest in the knowledge that nothing lasts forever. And someday soon we’ll find our quarantine lifted and our lives full and busy once again. But hopefully, when that happens, we will remember these slower days – and remember trusting in our Heavenly Father for our every need. And the tomorrow me and tomorrow you will be that much richer and wiser because of it.