We were awesome at virtual school. And by awesome I mean terrible.

 While studying math my child could be found sneaking raw cookie dough. Googling taxidermy classes. Engaging in “chase the shirt” with E.B. (for more on that game it involves a) the taking of dad’s white undershirt and 2) him chasing you to procure that shirt.) 

At one point I played Liam Payne’s wise words: “ain’t nobody gonna be doing it for you” and then enacted a “you better listen to mom’s directions and each time you don’t you must memorize a painting at the Louvre” rule. 

Someone got a frigging PhD in Art History by day 3.

WSJ announced, as if this were somehow news, that (gasp!) math scores went down during Covid virtual school. In actual news, there is a man named Blippi who captured E.B.’s imagination during lockdown and I’m about to lose my mind. To distract from Blippi, Eric has taken his MBA to excellent use lately by spray painting yellow buses pink, blue, and black.

During virtual school breaks I taught my children important life lessons. Like how Sharkboy is legitimately the worst movie I’ve ever seen. That we can’t have a pig like the girl in Charlotte’s Web. That it’s possible for Shadrach to be thrown into the fire but not get burned. That a ghost really did write on the wall in the book of Daniel. That there are 2 kinds of people in the world. People who eat meat. And those who don’t. And the difference between toxic and untoxic masculinity. Cue Sebby’s sweet moment with Marnie:

Last March, pregnant with Marnie, I discovered Danish-drama Borgen, read my brother’s new book (I’m not a shiller generally but quick, buy one on Amazon for your kid!)  and while not feeling so good with morning sickness thought about an appropriate theme for the upcoming months at home. 

That theme is confinement. Joseph was in a well. Daniel in a den. Esther in a palace. Let’s acknowledge what this is. We are stuck. And when we are stuck we look up. And when we look up we remember why Gandhi’s favorite hymn resonates with humanity across time:

Abide with me, fast falls the eventide

The darkness deepens Lord, with me abide

When other helpers fail and comforts flee

Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day

Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away

Change and decay in all around I see

O Thou who changest not, abide with me

We’re just “ebbing out life’s little day” here. This is not all there is. And thank God. 

Because, to borrow from Daft Punk, so often days feel like this:

Buy it, use it, break it, fix it,

Trash it, change it, mail, upgrade it,

Charge it, point it, zoom it, press it,

Snap it, work it, quick, erase it,

Write it, cut it, paste it, save it,

Load it, check it, quick, rewrite it,

Plug it, play it, burn it, rip it,

Drag and drop it, zip, unzip it,

Lock it, fill it, call it, find it,

View it, code it, jam, unlock it,

Surf it, scroll it, pause it, click it,

Cross it, crack it, switch, update it,

Name it, rate it, tune it, print it,

Scan it, send it, fax, rename it,

Touch it, bring it, pay it, watch it.

Life feels pretty up in the air these days. Everyone’s moving around, unsure of their next move. Are we working from home indefinitely? Is school in person until the end of May?

Upheaval seems to be a good word to describe how life is. And this general malaise of uncertainty has a way, as all suffering does, of grabbing our attention. For those of you who love Jesus and Jerry Maguire, my meme’s for you:

All in, blessings have come about during these rather monotonous months cleaning out closets, trying to convince the kids that a “virtual zoo visit is just as fun, really!”, and treating my maskne – we’ve slowed down from our hyper-scheduled life and truly had to slow, and I mean slow, way, way down.

Marnie arrived. Christmas was a major breath of fresh air. I’ve had coffee breaks with my husband. Lots of time to discuss The Bachelor with my home-from-college daughters. Instead of plowing through my to-do list I’ve sat down at the table to eat raw cookie dough with my son. And have watched Trolls a few hundred times so that MJ can belt out “They don’t know” while wearing her pink Poppy wig.

I’ve been trying to get in the Word more. Emphasis on the word trying.

I even re-discovered my African Bible Commentary which notes that Samson had dreadlocks and cites the Swahili proverb “never share your secrets with a prostitute” or “ugiambie llaware sin zako.” Now that’s a proverb I’ve never read in my Matthew Henry commentary.

We also had an election. However you voted, this is a must read: https://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/vl/notes/havel.html. Havel notes that “being in power makes me permanently suspicious of myself”, a reminder that all power is a gift from God, a gift to be used in service, and one to be handled delicately. I’d say my 2021 resolution is to be “suspicious of myself” as well. 

To give others the benefit of the doubt while constantly checking my own motives.  Turning challenging people and difficult circumstances into prayers instead of criticism. And to trust God’s hand instead of questioning the One who knows all. Because He’s the One who “tells the sun to shine” per Tauren Wells. He’s got this.

 

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