“Dad. Don’t take anything for granted. This is all temporary and fleeting. Be assured that God’s greatest gift is not temporary but eternal life” Braden
“We miss you, son”. Braden’s family
Not to be negative, but I really dislike online meetings.
They’re distant, cold, and uncomfortable. And while I’m complaining, I’ve grown weary of every conversation being solely about this epidemic. Social and public media run rampant with every variety of opinion and spin. Let’s face it. As human beings, we all work to fill-in-the blanks to appease our minds and to grapple with foreign emotions. That’s what we do best when left open to “Not Knowing”.
For ours and several earlier generations, strife and uncertainty are completely new concepts. This certainly applies to me. I’ve never had to wonder if my job and income or investments would still be there on Monday or if the grocery store would have eggs or bread (or even more important, toilet paper). Uncertainty is now a new reality.
Our family has been house-bound several weeks now, but we count ourselves blessed to at least have some space and breathing room. I feel for those in metropolitan areas locked in their small apartments or worse. We at least have a front and back yard with plenty of space in the house to “distance” when things get too close for comfort.
Talk about “work/life” balance. I sequester my job upstairs on two desktop screens, “clocking in” at 8am every morning and clocking out at 4:30pm. At the end of each day, I come downstairs and try to make things humorous, to lighten things and to build in some traditions that make life seem somewhat normal. Still, we all know life is not “normal” right now.
Our family views online church services, “Hope” devotionals, and daily live feeds from various sources trying to stay connected spiritually. This Sunday morning we even woke to find Caitlin watching Hope Fellowship on her phone. She, like all of us hungers for things to return to routine.
Cait does her virtual dance regimen three or four days each week which has kept her somewhat on track and occupied. Still, nothing online can equate with real social contact. Touching. Hugging. Shaking hands. Eye contact. Human Connection.
Today, our extended family gathered around computer screens across the country and held a “Zoom” family reunion. This is a virtual app I’d never used before. The screen resembles the opening theme of the Brady Bunch where multiple users can see one another. I actually liked it for once.
We were able to all get just a glimpse inside one another’s’ living spaces and to share our unique yet similar experiences. We saw the newest addition to our family in Georgia and cousins from Tennessee. We all shared laughs about the current rush on toilet paper and how we all need to be “aware of the square”. TMI!
As we connected just over a half hour today I began feeling differently about virtual connection. I could see faces of the people I love most in this world. We were each able to tell our own stories and to share our struggles, at least to some extent.
Then… suddenly without warning, the app timed out. Our screens all went blank.
If you don’t know, “Zoom” is limited to 40 minutes and none of us had been aware. Just as we’d become comfortable and feeling connected, our time together had come to a sudden and unexpected end.
Isn’t that the way life goes when we think it’s all going our way? We think things will always just remain the same. It’s always been that way. However, in the past month uncertainty has become more real and evident to every one of us. What we’ve relied upon as a constant can be gone in an instant.
Many have lost loved ones. Businesses. Jobs. Health. Security. Comfort. Normalcy. All, gone without warning.
After the family call today, Cathy and I sat down at the kitchen table over a puzzle we’ve been working on together. It’s a way to take our minds off of the worries of the world and relax. As she and I found missing pieces together and bragged about who was finding the most, I heard myself blurt out what was on my heart.
“I’m really missing Braden”. Honestly, I was shocked to hear it come out, but she immediately confirmed that she felt the same. In our family frame during the online family call, our son was not with us. He had gone so quickly and without warning.
During and following this temporary crisis, we encourage families to take the time God has appointed to love and care for one another. Re-connect by whatever means possible during this relatively brief moment in time.
Children and family are blessings we too often take as a given. Instead, take advantage of these times rather than considering them without benefit. Parents, let’s grow in our own faith during trials and model a faithful life for our children to rest in God’s everlasting peace.
We never know how long we will have the opportunity to do so.