Much of California and Oregon have been experiencing smoke-filled skies for weeks and it’s been dangerous and unhealthy. The fires causing the dark skies have been even more devastating; heartbreaking.
As we would watch the weather app to check out the health of our outdoor air one term showed up day after day after day- HAZARDOUS!! This meant to warn us to stay inside! Don’t go out! In thinking over 2020 I believe the word HAZARDOUS is a good description for the majority of our experiences!
Within two weeks all our lives turned upside down! COVID became a reality and with it we were to withdraw into our homes, stay in small family clusters, shut down schools, stores, eating venues, and churches. We began wearing masks, being severely cautious of everyone around us, we stopped hugging, shaking hands, and sadly even looking at one another!
During this time the political rhetoric became louder and louder; friends and family members were pitted against one another on Facebook and in private. Anger at police started a long series of both peaceful marches and angry riots around the nation; it continues even today.
Then, thinking we couldn’t handle another crisis, wildfires consume thousands and thousands of beautiful NW towns and forests displacing whole communities and even causing loss of life.
Forgive me for the seemingly negative blog but when we take a look at the challenges all of us have collectively experienced it’s just stunning and I often think that many of us a a bit numb, at least I have found myself there from time to time.
I have missed life as I knew it, I have missed gathering with those I love, I have missed traveling to see friends and family living far from me, I have missed joy-filled conversations that now seem to center around the challenges we are facing, I have missed smiles between strangers out and about in stores and public places, I have missed hugs and handshakes- though I have to admit I have not hesitated once to hug those I love when I get the chance to see them.
In this time I have not found God to be distant, He has been my strong source of encouragement and hope each day and yet I have still needed to grieve the changes surrounding my life and others. I have had to allow myself to be sad and grieve numerous times to be truly honest.
I don’t know when life will look like it did before or if we will simply live in a “new normal”. What I do know for sure is that in the midst of this past HAZARDOUS year and also in the season to come the people we love and care about will always be our richest source of joy. I have learned to truly treasure those with whom I share my life with such a greater appreciation than ever before; making a priority to care for those who live close and regularly reaching out to those who are far away. Jesus has always called us back to loving people because He knew that we need each other- that’s not going to change in the coming season.
Friends, 2020 has truly been like the twilight zone in many ways but we are resilient, God is good, and we have one another! And…..if you need to cry every once in awhile give yourself grace; you are human.
Perhaps there is someone needing to hear from you this week. Could you take a moment our two to reach out ? It could make the difference between HAZARDOUS and GOOD in the life of someone you love.