These weeks of social distancing and adjusting to this strange new world we are living in have been filled with all sorts of ups and downs and emotional twists and turns for me and for all of the members of the McFarland family. Some days are simply easier than others. And some days are harder. Actually some days feel so very much – much harder. And the same goes for the weeks too. And I am guessing the same is true for each of you. There is just so much change to adjust to.
Our world is very different these days. I cannot believe how I used to take things like Sunday school, coffee hour following worship, and church council meetings for granted! I cannot believe that I miss church council meetings – but I sincerely miss them! I miss the easy banter of chatting with my sisters and brothers in Christ. I miss . . . well I miss a lot – but mostly I miss the comfort and ease my “old” life.
And I do try not to be a whiney brat. I know I am deeply and abundantly blessed. I know deep in my soul I have so very – very much to be grateful for – but still even middle-aged pastor types have bad days. Days when I feel like stamping my feet and saying I have had enough of this. I am fed up. I want what I want and I want it NOW!
This past week was one of the more challenging weeks for me. My stupid, annoying brain spent the week misbehaving and misfiring, and therefore my week (and the whole family’s week) had the added joy of one long migraine followed by another migraine. I know that migraines make me a true joy and a delight to be around. And no one could escape – not even me!
So by Sunday – we all needed a great, big massively huge dose of fresh air. This week we decided on Broad Run Park. It is close to home and offers lots of wonderful outside options to explore.
Much to the youngest McFarland’s dismay – Jason drove by all of the nice flat trails in the river valley and headed for his favorite trail which is hilly. Jason never – never ever picks the easiest anything. The man loves a challenge (perhaps that explains the ongoing success of our marriage)!
After “an easy five mile hike” (Jason’s words). I am pretty sure that is not what the youngest McFarland was thinking – although he was incredibly proud of his accomplishment – we headed to the river.
The river at Broad Run is always Jack and Will’s favorite part of any trip to this park even when their amazing playgrounds are open.
We spent hours by the river on Sunday. Well – Jason and I spent hours by the river. William spent hours IN the river – even though it was quite chilly outside. And Jack spent some of his time in the river too.
I did what I always do – I wandered up and down the shore looking for river glass and taking in the world around me.
I heard the birds singing and Will was singing too. I heard Jason talking to our sons. I heard rocks hitting the water as people tossed them into the river. I heard dogs barking and the voices of more distant families chattering. I heard the wind blowing through the trees and the sound of the water in the river.
I saw the brilliant lush green of spring leaves and the equally brilliant green grass on the river banks. I saw fossils that must be millions of years old and pieces of river glass reflecting the spring sun. I saw early spring flowers and other families out for some exercise and adventure.
I saw the people I love most in the world at ease and delighting in God’s glorious creation and in each other.
And I remembered that I am deeply and wonderfully and gloriously blessed by God the Father. I remembered this deep down in my soul. Not just in an intellectual way – but in my heart too. My brain always seems to know that I am blessed. It is my heart that tends to forget. . .
William played in the river. He got soaked to the skin while he sunk the Bismarck and the Yamato and his mommy regained her perspective. Migraines stink – but little boys are a dazzling, glorious blessing from God.
Jack collected river glass and threw rocks from our side of the river to the other side of the river and his mom remembered her blessings. I miss worshiping with my church family – but I get to watch this boy grow into a man!
Jason patiently kept everyone safe and sound, and his wife just “was” for a while. Social distancing can be hard – but I get to negotiate life and social distancing with my best friend. . . and two very interesting young men.
How are you seeking God’s presence these days? I encourage you – especially on the hard days to take time to seek God’s presence. To do something that fills your heart with joy.
God is with us – even now – especially now. Our Lord has promised to hold us in the palm of his hand.
You are all in your pastor’s heart, thoughts, and prayers.
In Christ and with Love –