I won’t sugar coat it. This has been a tough week. It began with the painful realization that I should have been in Guatemala. Our annual immersion trip was scheduled for this very week, and it has been a difficult reality to face that the virus that has changed the face of our world took away the opportunity to go to a place that I find more peaceful than any other on Earth. I know that it doesn’t mean we can’t ever go, and I know that it is for the protection of the beautiful people we encounter there that we do not go right now. But all those things do not take away my heartache or longing to be there. Since we go around the same time each year, my Facebook has been haunting me with “memories” from years past filled with photos and videos of Guatemala.
In addition to this (or because of?) I have had strife with loved ones. I have cried more than I care to. I have been angry, disappointed, and hurt. I miss terribly my weekly hour of adoration in our tiny chapel at Sacred Heart….yet another thing that the virus has taken away. In the past, I have taken all of my worries and hurts (and joys and gratitude!) to Jesus in that sacred space and left feeling comfort. Now, I cannot go there, and try as I might to make new places for adoration, they do not have the same feeling. It’s like I keep trying to crawl up into God’s lap and let Him hold me, but as soon as I do, He gets up or disappears. Now, I know with my intellect and my faith that God NEVER disappears. He never ever leaves us. It’s us who leave Him. Which then spins me into guilt. I must be the one getting out of His lap of love, comfort, security, and reassurance.
A moment of clarity came to me when mowing earlier this week. Mowing is often my spiritual re-boot. I was listening to a Catholic podcast, and of course THE VIRUS came up in the conversation. They were speaking about how bizarre 2020 has been. It suddenly made me think of the phrase “Hindsight is 2020”. Hmmm, here we are, in the year 2020, and it has surely been one of the most unexpected years in most of our lives. Each of us has a story of how this year has affected and changed us. And it is not even half over! Whereas some things come in ripples and affect pockets of people, I would say that the COVID-19 crisis has widespread affect on the entire world. It is like one giant ocean-crashing wave. And we don’t yet have the hindsight. Our vision is far from perfect as to what to make of it all. It has had economic, spiritual, mental health, and physical health impact. It has drawn some families closer. It has torn others apart. It has created bad habits of binge watching and being stuck to a screen for work and pleasure. It has created good habits of taking walks outside, learning new skills, home cooked meals, creativity, and slowing down. But we do not have hindsight yet. 2020 is still fully upon us. Will that hindsight and understanding of why all of this occurred wait until 2021?
Saint Paul speaks such wisdom of hindsight being 2020 to the people of Corinth. He says:
“At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.” 1 Cor 13:12
It isn’t just in the year 2020 that people want to know and understand now. Over two thousand years ago, the first Christians wanted to know. Paul was reminding them that in the moment, we rarely have clarity. We don’t know why this virus came, or what it can teach us. But I do know that God uses every single moment in our life for His good, if we lean into Him.
Personally, I still don’t understand why I had to have a tiny, masked wedding where I could not hug those who were able to be there and I could not stand immediately beside the women who have literally stood beside me through thick and thin, my bride tribe. We had to be socially distanced and masks conceal so much of someone’s expression. But, I do know that God was perfectly there and that I am incredibly blessed to have been married, despite the virus. It did not take away the sacrament from us.
I also do not know why I cannot take a most incredible team of young adults to a country where sickness and poverty are abundant, yet God’s love surpasses all that lacks. But, perhaps it’s a not now, but later scenario. I want to know when, I want to have a specific date to look forward to. That is my human selfish want. I can wait. There is NO reason I cannot wait.
We long for 2020 vision right now, in this 2020 year. Yet even the most educated scientists cannot give us that. It is as if God is reminding the world, “Be patient. You cannot see distinctly. But I have perfect vision, and I see you. I see your trials, your disappointments, your hopes, your desires. You know partially, but I know fully. Wait my love. And know I am here right beside you in the waiting.”
Heavenly Father, please help me to wait. Help me to know that understanding will come, slowly, and later. I shall not want for later, but instead live in the day that I am given. I will love better, with your help and your Son’s amazing example. I will be grateful for today, instead of longing for a different tomorrow. I will recognize that there is a lesson to be learned, and a story to be shared. I will listen to You, and to those whom you put in my presence. Thank you for your patience with me.