Last night, my six-year-old son was ready for a bedtime story, but I told him the truth:
“I’m feeling a little sad about the day and it’s okay to be sad. I just need a minute before I’m ready to read.”
I think most of us had some hard days this week.
Some of us needed some time (maybe still need time) to mourn before moving on.
My son looked a little surprise because I’m not really a sad person. I’m mostly an even-keel kind of girl. So mom being sad probably felt unexpected.
Also, for his little kindergarten self, the world hasn’t been rocked too greatly. Sure, he’s aware that he’s missing out on his soccer season, time with his friends and time with his awesome-sauce teachers who we love so very much.
But he’s still happy. He reads his books, plays with his Legos, matchbox cars and dinosaurs, swings on the swingset. He doesn’t rush out the door in the morning or rush to activities in the evening. He’s excited about soccer again in the fall.
For now, he’s just enjoying being together with the whole family.
That’s the sweetness for us in the middle of sorrow. It’s sweet to have time to rest and enjoy being together even while we mourn over losses and grieve on behalf of others who have lost more.
It’s March. Because of the impact of the coronavirus, our governor closed schools for the rest of the school year. We get it. We know it’s needed and we know that the lives of people around us matter far more than graduation ceremonies, concerts, math bowl competitions, field trips to Kings Dominion and band trips to Disney.
So, we feel sad and then we remember perspective. We feel sad again and we regain perspective. It’s just part of the upheaval we’re all handling in our own ways.
We’re not good “wait-and-see” people over here at our house, but that’s life right now. What about high school credits? What about an April birthday? What about grades? What about graduation? What about vacation Bible school?
We’re all in this together. We’re all mourning a loss. We’re all having to be “wait-and-see” folks at the moment.
Maybe that’s one of my first reminders in the middle of the mess.
Paul said this:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32 ESV).
I need so much grace right now. Grace for my foggy-brain because I can’t quite think straight. Grace for feeling a lack of energy or passion—like I’ve had the wind knocked out of me. Grace for the fact that I’m a super-planner-extraordinaire who is living in a world that cannot be planned right now. I need grace as a mom and grace as a teacher and grace in ministry and just so very much grace. I need grace for my anxious self and grace for my sorrowful self and grace when I just need to take a walk and be quiet.
So, when I most need grace, I am reminded of all the grace Jesus has given me and how much others around me need grace, too.
Have mercy on us, Lord.
When my heart is most broken, I see the brokenhearted. When my heart is most tender, I am more tender to others who are hurting.
This is precious to Jesus, who was moved by compassion whenever he encountered the sick, the grieving, the crowds of lost people, the hungry. Even from the cross, Jesus prayed that God would forgive the mob who crucified him.
In her study on Joseph, “Finding God Faithful ,” Kelly Minter teaches that this is indeed the very thing that changed everything in Joseph’s life.
He had been sold into slavery by his brothers, taken far away from his home and the father he loved, then wrongly accused by the wife of his master and thrown into an Egyptian prison and left to rot there.
Joseph had sorrow. He mourned losses we hopefully will never experience. If anyone in the world had a reason to be sad, it was Joseph.
But in the middle of all his own mess, Joseph cared about the sadness of others. He saw Pharaoh’s baker and cupbearer in the prison and noticed they looked particularly troubled one morning.
He took the time to ask them:
“Why do you look so sad today?” (Genesis 40:7 CSB).
He listened to their stories–strange dreams that had them worried. And it was those dreams and Joseph’s interpretation of them that God ultimately used for Joseph’s deliverance….and the deliverance of his family…and the deliverance of Israel….and the deliverance of the entire world from famine.
How can compassion, sacrificial love, kindness, and loving like Jesus change us, change others, change the world?