When Things Don't Happen As You Expected

by - April 03, 2020

I committed to 40 days of writing, and then coronavirus crawled across the globe.

This is how life happens. Plans are made and circumstances chart their own course. Unexpected things, incomprehensible things, things we never heard of become our new normal: social distancing, global pandemic and thus, shutdown.

My professional life tripled overnight. I began working 50 hour weeks, and writing and life as we knew it went the way of the past.

But the fasting for Lent? My Lent, as in Lent-ish?  It has quietly continued, even without me, because we, as a society, have been fasting in some magnificent ways.

1. The Church is fasting from buildings and programs and has been living as sent, rather than gathered. We've retreated to neighborhoods and the internet. Spontaneous worship on social media, from the recognizable to the unknown girl with the messy bun, leggings, and a beat up guitar becomes a cathedral for the world on a screen.

2. Gone are the soapboxes and judgy posts on social media of those who have an opinion of everything and are happy to share it with you.

3. Families have fasted from extra-curricular everything and are eating home-cooked meals at the table together. It's like a Norman Rockwell painting with all the puzzles and games and togetherness while sideways rays from the sunset slant through the window, turning everything golden.

2. The women in my neighborhood walk with chalk and fill driveways with pastel scripture verses. They now "prayer walk" several nights a week, praying for protection and neighborly kindness and provision.

3. I've walked at dawn in my neighborhood before work because my statehouse walks at lunch are no longer possible. With the overload in my office, I'm fasting my lunch hour and working straight through. But a boss has generously brought lunch in for two weeks for good measure, morale, and in support of local small business. He has quietly led with generosity and grace. He has fed us, literally and figuratively.

4. In 10 days it will be Easter. We will celebrate a resurrection that interrupted life as everyone on earth knew it. It was a fast from mortality that will hold us in everlasting hope until he comes again.

People have been sick. People have died. We suffer from loneliness, isolation, and fear. The economy has suffered. But there are some good things if we are brave enough to see them.

Just maybe there is life behind a stone that was rolled in front of a grave that gives us something to look forward to, something with which to tenaciously stand up against the fear and the dire situation it stems from.

On the other side of death is resurrection. Until then, I will keep looking for light, finding the good, and discovering the beautiful surprises that come when things don't happen as you expected.

Jesus will be with us now, and there on the other side, too. There may be a measure of discomfort, uncertainty, grief, and loss for a time, but good and hope shine through in the midst of the suffering.

And maybe that's exactly what fasting is for in the first place. That we might go without the things we know so well that comfort us, in order to see the world with new eyes and hunger for that instead.

Photo Credit: ST, my neighbor

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  1. Food for my soul this morning. Thanks, Dawn.

  2. Everyone has a unique perspective on the Coronavirus lockdown. Thank you for so openly sharing yours!

  3. Lovely. Timely. True. I stand with you, friend. Shine on!


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