Probably the hardest thing about this shutdown has been the disruption to my daily routine. Nothing happens when it used to happen, my kids have my computer for school, meal times, bedtimes, and everything else has shifted wildly. My day starts at the same time every day because I have three animals that whine and cry incessantly at my bedroom door to feed them and take them out at 6 am, but the rest of the house has become night owls. The consequence of all this is just the constant feeling of being off-kilter all the time.
I have lost count of the times I have made plans or a schedule for what we will accomplish during the day and it has been thrown off by one thing or another. Teachers are going ham on homework. I have seen the time spent on each subject balloon to hours and hours of work even in classes where not much work was previously assigned. This is not to say that teachers are doing it wrong. As a former teacher, I understand better than most how difficult this switch has been for instructors. It is also very difficult for students and, by extension, families.
My word of the day is: Frustration.
But why? Why am I so frustrated? I usually love breaks with the kids home. What is it about this experience that makes the situation so frustrating? I can’t be alone in this, so what is it that people find themselves struggling with most?
Is it the lack of a timeline? Is it the fact that a school project on a break is annoying in the best of circumstances, but piles of work are extra difficult? Is it the struggles that kids are having from being cooped up for months without real physical contact with people in the outside world? Perhaps it’s the fact that through it all, bills still need to be paid – even if there is no way to pay them. Is it the feeling that we are living in some version of an outer space thriller where everyone must come into a decontamination room when they enter, strip down, and disinfect? Perhaps it’s disinfecting all the groceries as they are brought into the house, then disinfecting the areas on which they lay? Maybe it’s the masks – not seeing smiles, emotions, just eyes. Maybe it’s the mountains of extra dishes and laundry? What is it for you?
Looking back at my list of possible reasons why I’m frustrated – my issue is suddenly clear. I have forgotten to be thankful that my plans are earthly and God’s plans are eternal. I have forgotten to be thankful for the countless blessings illustrated in my frustrations. So, I think I will start here with my problem – my attitude.
Thank you, Lord, for enough dishes to overflow the sink. Thank you, Lord, for enough food for my family to eat.
Thank you, Lord, for a school system that has gone out of their way to create online lessons for my kids. Thank you, Lord, for computers for my kids to use.
Thank you, Lord, for having ample cleaning supplies to clean my home with. Thank you, Lord, for the ability to sew so that I can make masks for my family.
Thank you, Lord, for a washer and dryer. Thank you, Lord, for clothes enough to cover my family in all weather.
Thank you, Lord, for the telephone, video calls, and social media so that my family can see and speak to people they care about.
Thank you, Lord, for beautiful places to walk, the sunshine, the warming weather, the gentle breeze, and grass.
Thank you, Lord: for being able to hear my kids laughing, singing, playing games, and giggling together; for being able to see them get excited about being creative; seeing the things they have created; for seeing them come together to support each other when they are down.
Thank you, Lord, for the health of my family.
Thank you, Lord, that no matter how long this goes on I know that you are Lord.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13