Happy Palm Sunday, friends! I’m happy to report that I woke up in a much better place this morning than I did last Sunday… a better mental and emotional place, of course. I’m still AT HOME. Where else would I be?
Today begins our 4th week of sheltering in place, staying home, social distancing… whatever we’re calling it these days.
I got up this morning in the early light of dawn, and I caught this view of the sunrise from the window on the landing as I was walking downstairs. I stopped for a minute to soak it in, and then I whipped out my iPhone and took this picture.
Immediately this line from Great Is Thy Faithfulness popped into my head, and I captioned it and popped it into my Insta Story.
It made me think, no matter how dark and grim things may seem, the sun always rises. God is still on his throne.
The words to Great Is Thy Faithfulness are taken right from the Bible, the 3rd chapter of the book of Lamentations:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
Those verses brought me great comfort this morning, as I considered the state of affairs in the world. The context is a very dark time in the life of God’s people, but the theme of Lamentations is the hope, not despair.
And so I plan to keep these words in the forefront my mind today: “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will hope in him.”
I’ve started sleeping later than my usual 5AM or 5:30. Instead, I find myself rolling over and going back to sleep until I see some light out my window before getting out of bed.
I don’t know why, really… I guess I’m not as excited to get up and face the day as I used to be. But also, getting up in the dark is no longer comforting.
I used to like getting up before the sun. There was something satisfying about getting up in a shroud of darkness before anyone else was awake, sipping my first cup of coffee while morning dawned. It felt like I was stealing time.
Nowadays, it feels eerie to get up and come downstairs in the dark. The darkness seems to compound my grief for all that we’re missing and increase my dread for what the news of the day might hold.
When I wait to get up with the sun, I feel more positive and hopeful, and I can almost forget what’s happening out there… at least until I open my email and read my New York Times Daily Briefing. But even the news doesn’t seem so grim in the light of day.
I’ve also noticed that my day seems to pass a whole lot faster when I start it just an hour later than usual.
* * *
So as I sipped my first cup of coffee this morning with sunlight streaming in through my living room window, I opened up my She Reads Truth app to see what today’s devotion had for me. That’s when I remembered that today is Palm Sunday.
There are several short Scripture readings, and I encourage you to read them all, but this section from Psalm 118 really stuck out to me:
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God; I will extol you.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
I love how it dovetails with the passage from Lamentations that popped into my head as I looked out the window on my way downstairs.
It’s a great reminder that no matter what happens in the coming days and weeks and months, God is good, and that does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
I take great comfort in that, even as I’ve received some bad news this weekend.
Meanwhile, I prattle on about the most recent sale, complain about the weather, and continue to share my daily accomplishments… It seems rather silly and maybe even insensitive, but it’s not healthy to sit around pondering all the grief going on in the world either.
For us right now, things haven’t changed much, so I’m trying to enjoy that while it lasts.
* * *
Becca and Paul spent most of Friday night working on her Rube Goldberg for school. I seriously do not know what kids with parents who aren’t mechanical do for these projects. I wouldn’t have any idea where to begin. Of course, Paul thought it was a blast.
I worked on the blog yesterday morning, and then I went out for a long walk in the neighborhood. It was cloudy and 50 degrees, but the brutal wind from the prior two days had settled down, so it was actually quite pleasant to be outside.
I ended up talking with a friend the whole time I was walking, which was a nice change of pace (no pun intended!) from my usual podcast.
When I got back, I did Day 10 of my 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene. I’m really enjoying this series, and I look forward to it more than I’ve ever looked forward to any workout. I guess that’s because it doesn’t feel much like a workout… although there have been days where I was definitely sore afterwards.
But it’s more relaxing than taxing, and I really need the flexibility it’s cultivating.
The days I don’t do yoga now, I feel so tight and stiff. I really think this is the beginning of a new habit… one that I’ve needed to implement for a long time. Even when I get back to weight lifting, and hopefully eventually running, yoga is the piece to the puzzle I’ve been missing. I need the flexibility and balance training so much.
I’ve said for years I wanted to start integrating yoga into my workout routine, but it took a pandemic and stay-at-home orders to finally make it happen. See? Silver linings!
And don’t worry, I’m not getting into any of the mysticism associated with yoga. I’ve had a few people try to “warn” me… I’m good, y’all. My theology is solid, and I’m in it purely for the flexibility, balance, and relaxation. (Also, Adriene doesn’t get too hokey, which is nice.)
I talked to my mom for a while yesterday afternoon, so that was good. We both stay so busy, that we usually rely on texting to communicate, and it was nice to actually visit for a bit.
While I was talking to my mom, Caroline made homemade burritos (including the tortillas… the kid really should become a chef) and Becca searched animal rescue sites for a new dog.
Yes, we’re thinking about getting a second dog! That is, if we can find one that fits our criteria. The smaller, hypoallergenic dogs are hard to find.
David wandered down around 4PM, looking for something to eat, so I put out a plate of cheese and charcuterie, and roped him and Paul into a game of Rummy 500. I can’t remember who won, but I know it wasn’t me!
After that, I made dinner, which we enjoyed as a family. Then after cleanup, everyone else scattered and went back to their holes while Caroline did my nails. This morning I woke up with a nice, fresh manicure!
I know the condition of my nails isn’t important in the grand scheme of things, but the little luxuries help ease the drudgery of confinement, and it’s a nice way to spend time with my daughter.
Then I went to bed on the earlier side last night, as I usually do. Even with getting up later, I get drowsy by 9PM most nights.
I found evidence this morning of some late-night brownie making, so I guess the rest of the family ended up back in the kitchen at some point.
That’s pretty much how our days go. We spend most of the time holed up in various corners of the house, working or doing school… and probably streaming Netflix and scrolling social media, in the case of my kids.
Then we all congregate for dinner and catch up, maybe play a card game or a round of Jeopardy with Alexa. We may watch some TV together afterwards, or at least Becca and I do, and then everyone ends up scattering again until it’s time for a bedtime snack.
The two older kids stay up a lot later than Paul and I do, but we’ve been letting it go.
I see all of these parents talking on Facebook about their schedules and plans for the kids during this time at home, and maybe they all have younger kids who need structure and routine, I dunno, but we’ve been kind of letting our kids just be.
I feel like they’re missing out on so much already, so I’ve been giving a lot of grace during this time. If they sleep until noon (or in my son’s case, 4PM somedays, although I think he’s up doing things in his room before that…) that’s okay.
As long as they get their schoolwork done and help out around the house when asked, we let them do what they want. If they spend more time on social media or video games than I would like, I try to let it go.
Maybe that’s not the best way to handle things, but for now, it feels right to me.
That’s the glory of having older kids during this crisis. My heart goes out to the moms of younger kids who need a lot of help with school, especially those also trying to work from home during this time, and trying to juggle the kids’ needs and their own. That would be so much harder than what I’m dealing with.
This new normal isn’t so bad, really. I’m so fortunate we’re all able to stay home, and that we all like each other… most of the time, anyway!
I need to wrap this up so I can get ready for our Zoom worship service.
I hope wherever you are and whatever your reality is today, you’re able to find joy in the small blessings and some moments of peace amidst the storm.
The Lord is my portion, therefore I will hope in him.