15.3.20

Painting Beauty with Time

Every so often there comes a time when I think to myself, "I'm so grateful that I live here".  I think of that when I read of school shootings, presidential elections, (although Malaysia's politics is just on a different level of crazy), and hurricanes, to name a few.  There's just a different set of ills to deal with here.  But regarding the current health crisis: we've been feeling pretty safe in our neck of the woods, relatively speaking.  We went to church this morning (with strict no handshake/hugs/holy kisses guidelines in place).  Schools are still in session.  So far.  But the stores have been emptied of hand sanitizer and wipes, toilet paper (oddly enough, very few people use toilet paper here), and sugar.  Priorities.  
Part of the beauty of homeschooling is that I have learned to cope with interruptions and change.  I know I don't need to panic when missing a week of math.  I've made peace with my kids being home with me all day, every day.  As I've thought about the near future and what it holds, I read the quote below by C.S. Lewis, written in 1948, that has been circulating on social media.  If you haven't come across it yet, read the excerpt below substituting "atomic bomb" for "coronavirus".   
"In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.
This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds." -C.S. Lewis, 1948
There is really nothing new under the sun.  I love the little phrase, "let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things". The beauty of having little kids is that it's hard to avoid doing sensible and human things.  We are still getting to enjoy our usual dose of fresh air most mornings.  We’re isolating ourselves on beaches and scorching ourselves with sunshine.  

I know there's a lot of fear going around right now.  I have friends in level 3 lockdowns around the globe wondering about the future and when and how they will get home.  Our community here has welcomed dozens of families who have been told to leave their homes in other parts of Asia for the near future.  I just lent part of my homeschool curriculum to a family who was on vacation several months ago only to receive the news that they couldn't return home and are now living out of their holiday roll-on suitcases.  It's given me a different perspective on things for me.  Things can change in very sudden and unexpected ways, none of which we can really prepare for.  This past month, and completely unrelated to the current health crisis, I've felt a sense of urgency to pray for strength and grace to face the unknown.  That when the unexpected and unforeseen does come, I won't shatter into a million tiny pieces.  God holds this world together.  We do not, as much as we like to try.  "When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars". -Psalm 75:3.
All that fear has met its match with a lot of beautiful things.  Generosity.  A sense of duty and consideration toward others.  Rallying for the marginalized.  Time spent at home with your family. These are unprecedented times for my generation and God is up to something, and my fervent prayer is that the Church will step up to its task.  
I'm going to end with a song called "Time" by John Lucas.  I cannot count how many times I have played it in the past month.  I'm going to copy the full lyrics below, but click here to have a listen to the song and his other work.  I can't think of something more reassuring and timely right now.  
My heart has known the winters 
And my feet have known the snow 
But mine eyes have seen the glory 
Of a seed begin to grow 


There is a time to uproot, darling 
But most days just hold on tight 
For there’s a time for darkness, honey 
But dawn will always beat the night 



Sometimes death will come calling 
When you’ve been good and warned 
And other times its cold hands will cradle 
Dreams yet to be born 



There is a time to dance on sorrow 
And a time to kiss her cheek 
There is a time to mourn in silence 
But justice aches to hear you speak 



And I don’t know the end, or tomorrow’s story 
But I have found the one who gives me rest 
And I will make my bed in His promises 
For He holds true when nothing’s left...When nothing’s left 

There is a time when laughter will echo 
Through your halls of peace 
But war is known to change your locks 
And carry off the family keys 

There is a time for healing and pain 
A time for drought and a time for rain 
There is a time for everything 
Until we crown the risen King…Until we crown the risen King 

And I don’t know the end, or tomorrow’s story 
But I have found the one who gives me rest 
And I will make my bed in His promises 
For He holds true when nothing’s left...When nothing’s left 

So crown Him in your mourning 
And crown Him in your laughter  
And crown Him when it all turns dark  

Crown Him when you bury 
And crown Him when you marry 
And crown Him when your faith finds a spark 

Crown Him for He’s faithful 
And crown Him for He’s worthy  
And crown Him for He is good 

Crown Him for His promises 
Cut through the blindness 
Of children that have barely understood 

The beauty that has come 
And the beauty yet to come 
And the beauty that is yours and that is mine 
And that death produces life 
And that we are made alive 
By the King who paints beauty with time 
By the King who paints beauty with time 
By the King who paints beauty with time 

And I don’t know the end, or tomorrow’s story 
But I have found the one who gives me rest 
And I will make my bed in His promises 
For He holds true when nothing’s left...When nothing’s left

-Time by John Lucas



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