“Trust in the Lord, with all your heart,
on your own intelligence rely not;
In all your ways be mindful of God,
And God will make straight your paths.”
The pandemic is officially over a year old and hasn’t it been full of unknowns and surprises? Think about what was going on in our lives one year ago. Things were suddenly closed down. Grocery store shelves were empty. A scary disease, we didn’t know anything about, lurked behind every cough or sneeze. Information seemed to be conflicting. None of us, even we older folks, had ever experienced anything like this before. All of that unknown-ness produced so much fear! We were traveling a route we’d never traveled before and it was dark with potholes and winding curves.
It’s especially alarming when we’re driving and don’t have a clear view of the road, isn’t it? Think of trying to travel in a heavy rainstorm or blizzard. We can’t see up ahead and that is the scariest part. We inch along, tentative and unsure. I certainly got those feelings early in the pandemic, but they can come at other times as well, as our lives and situations change. Big life stuff like job changes, moves, relationships that fall apart, all of these can feel like we’re on a dark winding road. We creep along the best we can, but the uncertainty and fear can really take hold of us.
I was feeling this several weeks ago and took a walk to pray and ponder it. I was anxious and unsure. Sad. Disappointed in myself for feeling all these feelings in the first place. I had a sense of God speaking to my heart. “You’re embarking on a curve in the road right now, Heidi-dear.” (God always sounds to me like the Irish nuns I had in school—calling me “Heidi-dear,” with an Irish brogue) “This side of the curve feels uncomfortable because you can’t see the other side. You just need the faith to get around the curve and the road will straighten out a bit.” I thought about that and realized that going around a curve does take faith. We can’t see what’s around the curve, but we just go, following the road; trusting the road. Maybe that is the real lesson here—trusting the road. Not long after I had that thought I found a little Jesus fish made out of twigs—in the road. God was making sure I didn’t miss the “Trust the road” lesson!
So, what does that look like from where we are right now? This is the time of year where big changes can take place in our lives; the school year ends, new futures begin. I feel the pandemic road may be straightening out a bit, with the vaccine and things opening up. I can see a bit better up ahead and things don’t seem so murky or cloudy on that road. It feels as though the hardest part of the curve may be behind us, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more curves up ahead. We still need to be awake and alert and keep our eyes open! This pandemic year has taught me how important it is to rely on our fellow travelers on the road, to reach out and help, as well as allow them to give us a hand. We all need each other as we travel together. We also need to stop, get off the road, and rest, too. I am so grateful for the times I was able to get away on retreat last year. Times of silence and solitude can be rejuvenating rest areas on the road. I think we need to find things to appreciate and be grateful for along the road. I’m continually awed by how innovative and resourceful people can be when things need to be done differently. I was able to connect with people I may not have connected with at all, thanks to technology. Traveling together, especially on a difficult trip, can strengthen the bonds we have with others. We’ve come quite a long way—together. I also deeply appreciate how I’ve been able to connect with nature through this crazy time. I can see the life cycle so vividly in nature and realize we humans are just a part of the natural world. Having the time to take all that in has been a wonderful gift.
Gracious God who guides all of our journeys,
Please help us, and our fellow travelers, to trust the road. Help us appreciate the lessons of the road, the beauty of the scenery along the road and remind us that you give us what we need to travel. Best of all, help us remember that you travel with us! Amen