I find it comical when I reflect on New Years Day. I didn't necessarily make a resolution, but I did tell myself THIS WAS GOING TO BE THE BEST YEAR EVER. You see, 2020 will be a milestone birthday for me. The dreaded 4-0! I have goals. I have plans. I want to be in the best shape of my life. I want to feel younger. I want to be more patient with my kids. And I want to be closer to the Lord. My son asked me today if God laughs. And you know what…. I think he does. And I think he did!
Not long into the New Year a four-year old told me I was old. The VERY same day, later that afternoon, my oldest son also told me that I was old. When I asked why he would say that, his response was “because you have THOSE on your hands,” pointing to my age spots.
The ones I have always been self-conscious of. Talk about a blow! I was hit hard. Twice in the same day. By 2 honest-talkers under four feet tall!
Fast forward a couple of months to the Quarantine of 2020. How can I attain my physical goals when the gyms are closed and I’m stuck in the house with snacks all day? How can I feel younger when I'm mocked by children and living like a shut-in!? How can I be more patient with my kids when they're with me ALL of the time, and I'm now having to homeschool a first grader who hates to read? And how do I become closer to God when I'm struggling to find time in our confused schedule to read The Word? Not to mention the church buildings are closed!? Can this REALLY be the best year ever?
I was recently behind a Baskin-Robbins truck that was inundated with graphics of ice cream, sprinkles, cones and other garb. The saying on the back of the truck really caught my eye. It read “follow me to happiness.” I LOVE ice cream. And I wanted to follow the truck right to the parlor and order a double scoop of cookies and cream. But I didn't. I thought about the deceit in that ad. Ice cream won't REALLY make you happy. Nor will any other food or earthly possession.
This social distancing thing has me thrown. I miss my routine. I miss my friends. I miss my church. I miss my fit classes. And I'll admit, my mental health has suffered at times. But I will persevere. I believe joy and happiness come when we are thankful. So I am going to try MY BEST to look at this quarantine with a lens of gratitude.
I am thankful that I have a home to quarantine in. And that I have a wonderful family inside its walls. I am thankful that I have plenty of food to keep me nourished. And that my husband is still able to work and earn money to support us. I am thankful that I have the physical ability to exercise at home, and am able to dance and play with my kids. I am thankful that I have kids, after years of struggling to conceive. I am thankful to be approaching 40 years of life, and that I can watch my children grow. I am thankful that God spared me during my young adult years when I lived recklessly and outside of his will. I am thankful to have matured and been forgiven.
I wouldn't want to go back to my 20’s. The age spots on my hands are the same hands that held my husband’s when we said our vows. They are the same hands that held my babies in the hospital. And the same hands that get to hold and trace my son’s pudgy little fingers. I am thankful that I CAN stay home with my children all day to raise them AND teach them. I am thankful that we have the technology to watch church and worship with our family in our home, and in our pajamas if we want! I am thankful that I can read, and that God doesn’t get mad at me if I miss a day in his Word. I am thankful that I can talk to him at any time, and that my faith outweighs my fears. And most of all, I am thankful for his nail-scarred hands, way more than my aged ones.
So will this be the best year ever? Only time will tell. But even if it isn’t, I’ll be grateful for it. And I guarantee that many experiences during this quarantine will be greatly missed when life returns to normal. And if I do make it over-the-hill this year, and we are still under a quarantine, I'll pray that there is plenty of toilet paper.