One foot in front of the other

How are you surviving the first weeks of school?  I’m trying to keep close tabs on my kids and their kids in these days, because while one set of grandkids are in virtual school and the others are enrolled in “in person” school, times are hard for both.  For my virtual school grandchildren, there are the daily technical difficulties, the hours in a chair in front of a computer screen, and the lack of interaction with other humans.  For those at school, it’s the challenge to wear a mask all day, the pseudo/at arm’s length interaction with other humans, and the absence of best friends who chose to stay at home. What a hard decision it was for both of our children and their children. I know it felt for them as if there was no right answer. It’s easy to be hard on yourself at times like these.

I’m reminded when my kids were home one summer, and our youngest (who was five at the time) was particularly bored one day.  It began early: “Can I go to Joey’s?”  And continued for a solid hour.

“Can I go to Joey’s?” 
“Can I go to Joey’s?” 
“Can I go to Joey’s?” 
“Can I go to Joey’s?” 
“Can I go to Joey’s?” 

Finally, from sheer frustration at being repeatedly bombarded with this question, I replied, “Yeah, whatever. Right.”

And it was quiet.  Blessedly so.  He finally gave up and found something else to do.  It was one of those quiets that should have alerted me, but I put off checking on him for just a little longer, not wanting to trigger the nonstop “Can I go to Joey’s?” all over again.  

The phone rang.  It was a farmer on the edge of town, about six blocks from our home.  He had my five-year-old with him, who was on the way to Joey’s when he was spotted by this nice man on a tractor.  Mortified, I thanked him profusely and jumped into the car to pick up my runaway child.

What had I done? I should have been arrested and sent to jail.  Thanks be to God that my baby wasn’t picked up by someone who would have done him harm.  Thanks be to God he was found by this nice farmer who protected him until I got there.

I should have known better.  

I did know better, and I took the quiet moments from “Can I go to Joey’s?” as a blessing instead of a civil defense siren that should have blasted me into action.  Shame on me.

It’s easy to be hard on ourselves.  In that instance, I was justifiably hard on myself.  But here’s my point.  Here and now, in 2020, is not the time to be hard on yourself.  If you can keep your children fed (and yes, fast food counts), this is a big accomplishment.  If you can manage to get into the shower every now and then, or if you are somehow able to meet a work deadline, it’s a moment to be celebrated.

One foot in front of the other.  That’s what it’s all about right now.  And more importantly, knowing when to sit down and take a break. Give yourself permission to let things go. Remember to pray. Remember to take care of yourself. 

And when it’s too quiet, investigate.

This, too, shall pass.


[Jesus] got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. –Mark 4:39 (NIV)

%d bloggers like this: