June 15, 2020

Pandemic Reflections #4

To Our Clients,

I recall those hours as if it was merely yesterday when they occurred. There I am, squinting through the heavy fog, my headlights dispersing themselves on the moist airborne droplets surrounding my vehicle, providing little light on the road. My concentration is devoted to spotting the reflective highway division line as a marker I can follow until this heavy blanket of gray could be lifted. I recall the mysterious, intriguing feelings I had always infused fog to embody, having grown up in a rural, arid area that seldom experienced its ethereal covering. Tonight, the romance has totally disappeared. This foreign weather element is now only a deterrent to my plans for a safe arrival and a fun weekend planned with my children.

This adventure was already not what I had anticipated nor planned for. Just an hour earlier, an unexpected road closure due to a rock slide in this mountainous terrain had necessitated a detour heading off the paved highway onto a gravel side road. A flashing sign advised me to reduce my speed and indicated a distance of twenty-five miles would be required before rejoining the previously detoured route. I explained the conditions to the children and reassured them that we are always accompanied by God in our lives and in our journeys, and that the highway department had marked a new path we could safely follow. We would simply be faithful to the posted directions and we would, in time, arrive at our chosen destination.

I'm not sure how many minutes had actually passed before I slowly became conscious of a commotion wafting forward from its back seat origin. A tired voice repeatedly called my name . . .  "Mommy," pause . . . "Mommy," pause . . . "Mommy," pause . . . each invocation more emphatically expressed. "Mommy, how much longer?" The little voice cracking and the tears beginning to flow. "I'm tired!" "I want out of this seat!" "I want to be there NOW!" The voice was more forceful and insistent. An even louder voice, more demanding, joined the chorus, "Seriously, Mom, how much longer can this take?" The voices united in the strength of their shared complaint, fostering adamant statements of despair. A concluding demand resounding in their heads and hearts, "We just want to go home!"

"Me too, kids," my head silently resounded! But here we were in unknown terrain, following an unfamiliar and foggy path, with no mile markers since our turnoff to provide a plausible timetable requirement. I had no control over the circumstances . . . more questions than answers . . . and could only continue the slow trek, holding the hope that persistence would, in some unrevealed time, get us there.

The continued outpouring of weariness and frustration coming from the back seat, eventually gave way to some jokes, a few songs, and then welcomed relief brought through sleep. I recalled the joy of rejoining the highway after a two and a half hour detour and the delight in finding a gas station available for fuel to finish our remaining forty miles. My own fatigue and frustration over what wasn't (not there yet) transcended quickly into gratitude for what was (fuel, and a rejoining with a path on the map!) I remembered, as well, the pledge I made to myself following this trip that all future excursions would be accompanied by a travel bag stored in the vehicle containing some food, a blanket, a flair, flat tire fixant, a strong flashlight, and the installation of better fog lamps. What I had learned unexpectedly along the way would be helpful on future paths taken.

Most impactfully, I remembered that we did indeed make it to our destination even though we had to take a completely unknown path with some unexpected challenges along the way. A great deal more time was required than any of us would have chosen or even anticipated, but nevertheless we did make it!

Today, we are traveling along an unfamiliar and foggy path with detours and road hazards along the way. Whether we are the "drivers" or the "back seat passengers," we are attempting to navigate as best we can with the information we have, experiencing our individual and collective weariness and frustration along the way. We are asking the same questions: "Are we there yet? "How much longer will this take?"

While we await the answers, our desire at Intentional Living is to encourage each of us to be open to the plethora of thoughts and feelings that this season provokes within us, that we might learn more about ourselves. We encourage each of us to vent along the way, but also to intentionally encourage the continued development of our patience towards all processes that take their needful time. May we pay attention to the lessons we are learning as we reflect over this unique historic time in our world.

Know from the depths of our souls to yours it has been good to walk these past three months with you as we continue to find our way. We believe the collective journey empowers us all to become our better selves, and to better our response as a collective community to the needs around us. May we find the strength and courage to give ourselves more fully to that potential within us, and between us.

. . . "How much longer until we get there?" . . .