After the last eighteen months, we are all weary and worn out. The pandemic was a season of isolation, of loss, and of sorrow. For many it meant a pause in life’s normal course — and not a pleasant one. Beyond futures put on hold, there are those among us who reached the end of their futures to become only pasts. We mourn those missing from around our dinner tables and our neighborhoods, and many of us acutely feel the craters left behind in their absence. We are fearful — feeling guilty, even — to dare to dream new dreams knowing the loss left behind by COVID.
Perhaps some of this hesitancy stems from a good lesson learned. A recognition that we as people have changed indelibly. Perhaps our making of plans has become slower and more tepid. And the plans we make — we feel less confident that they are in our control. This lesson seems a worthwhile one and one those of us left behind in the pandemic’s wake will learn continually in this short life.
I read something yesterday where someone said that they used to think of life as a linear progression. Constantly moving forward, getting better. Disavowed of this notion, they subsequently concluded that life was mere moments (presumably to be enjoyed, regretted, or perhaps forgotten). I think in a small, finite way, the muser was correct, but in a much larger sense, they are wrong.
Life is not always a continual upward trajectory. We encounter bumps along the way — and detours, perhaps not unlike a global pandemic — that disrupt our plans, our timing, and our desires.The infinite gives us reason to be patient and to learn from life’s intermissions. It gives us leave to situate ourselves and our surroundings in the broader context of infinite battles of good and evil being won and lost. And perhaps helps us to figure out what small role God has planned for us.
At the beginning of the year, I committed to “turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it”, the verses found in Psalm 34:14. When I initially came across these verses, I had no idea how much they would impact me or teach me (and folks, we are barely halfway through the year!). I didn’t anticipate that seeking peace would involve so much patience. We wait for God to reveal (not in our time, but in His) the contours of our role in this life, all the while preparing to play our part.
As we transition into life post-pandemic — seeing loved ones after a long absence, reuniting with dear friends, returning to the office, and resuming business as usual — it may become easy to lose sight of the lesson we have learned. Critically, that our plans are not our own.
The temptation to strive for more will creep in, just as it has haunted us in the suspension of our lives during the pandemic. But there is a good reminder that can free us from our striving:
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared for us in advance. – Ephesians 2:10
The recognition that God not only created us, but also the plans He has for us, should cause us to rest — dare I say, be patient — as we wait for our cue from backstage. Peaking around the curtain, as we watch the play of life unfold before our very eyes, for our moment to burst onto the stage to do as He would have of us. Not my will, but Thy will, as the Scriptures say.
So yes, “dare to dream a little bigger darling”. And don’t let those dreams be limited to the finite contours of your imagination, but instead conform them to the infinite wisdom of a loving God who does, and plans good, for those whom He loves and calls His own daughters and sons in Christ.