Day 20 – “PATIENCE”

Day 20 – “PATIENCE”

During the month of April, I’m writing 30 Words for 30 Days: Thoughts from Six Feet Away, one topic per day. Find out why here.

“PATIENCE”

All we need is just a little patience   – Guns N’ Roses, from Patience

Even as I was thinking about this topic and as I’m writing this post I can hear that whistling from the beginning of that GNR song.

But that line from the song is so true, especially right now.

I think I can speak for the whole world when I say “when will this be over?!!”

We’re like a couple of billion kids on Christmas morning, sitting in front of our presents and waiting for dad to get his coffee so that we can get to the things we’ve been looking forward to.

There are certainly things that are much more difficult during this time, form deaths, serious health concerns, job devastation, mental health and other issues.

But being patient for something when we don’t know when it’s going to come is beginning to drive all of us crazy.

Let’s go back to that Christmas morning example.

If you know that dad is just getting his coffee from the kitchen and he’ll be back in in a few minutes, we can probably deal with that.

But if dad drove off in search for a specific cup of coffee from some random coffee shop in another city and he won’t know it until he tastes it… that’s a little hard to handle.

So we wait.

 

A Little Help

When there isn’t a known date for when the virus will have run its course or when schools will start back up or restaurants will reopen… or, or, or… it can help for us to at least focus on some things that we can control.

Maybe set up some things on your calendar that you can look forward to, that you can almost guarantee will happen.

Family game night. Zoom with a good friend. Watching a movie. Ordering out from a local restaurant.

Or you can keep your mind off of the things you can’t control by looking for ways to make an impact or grow. Serve others, sew masks, reach out, smile, learn, read.

Truth be told, even the open or end dates that we think might be coming just can’t be counted on. Everything changes just about every day.

But we can help each other through this.

If you’re struggling to be patient, reach out to a friend. We’re all feeling it.

You’re not alone.

 

All we need is just a little patience.

Day 19 – “REST”

Day 19 – “REST”

During the month of April, I’m writing 30 Words for 30 Days: Thoughts from Six Feet Away, one topic per day. Find out why here.

“REST”

Our bodies need rest.

That’s not a popular sentiment in today’s culture where “busyness” is put up on an altar and worshiped.

I mean, if there is any hint of us not “doing” something, then that means we’re lazy, have a lot of time on our hands, are unmotivated or worse.

If you don’t believe me, then why is it so hard for us to not feel guilty about taking a nap, just sitting and listening to music, or taking time to just think.

And yet I’ve found that one gift out of this whole mess is that we have more time than ever to just… rest. To just be.

For many, it may be a difficult reality.

There is a comfort and familiarity in a busy schedule, in always moving, in having limited time to do trivial things.

But lurking in the shadows is the dark side of that. Behind the scenes, our bodies are stressed, our minds are cluttered, our spirits are uneasy.

Come to Me

When I’m feeling burdened or anxious or exhausted, there is passage in the Bible, an image that I love to come back to.

It is a promise from Jesus Himself. An offer to all of us who realize that we just can’t do it all, that we are worn out and weary.

It comes from the book of Matthew, chapter 11, verse 28:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

It’s pretty simple really. No “10 Steps To A More Restful You” or hoops to go through.

No course or habit or goals.

Just come. That’s it.

Come to Him and lay those burdens, that schedule, those fears and anxiety at his feet.

Take off that backpack and put it by the door.

And rest.

The Good Shepherd

I picture this passage tied in with one of my other favorites, the well known 23rd Psalm.

The first three verses read:

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.”

There is a peace and a comfort that I find there.

The thought that our Shepherd knows us well.

He knows we need rest and he makes us lie down in green pastures.

He knows we are thirsty and parched and he leads us to quiet waters where we are refreshed.

He cares for us.

And He invites us to come and rest.

 

Have you done that?

I hope you’ll take some time to ask God to give you that rest that He promises us.

Especially now.

In the weeks and months to come, activities and stores and gatherings will begin to open back up and schedules will want to get filled again.

Start now to develop a practice of rest.

Our souls depend on it.

 

Day 18 – “DELIVERY”

Day 18 – “DELIVERY”

During the month of April, I’m writing 30 Words for 30 Days: Thoughts from Six Feet Away, one topic per day. Find out why here.

“DELIVERY”

Delivery has quickly become one of the most valuable words in our culture today.

As we’ve shifted to lock-down and isolation, with many businesses closed and restaurants shut down or limited, delivery has taken on a new importance.

You’ve Got Delivery

For those cooped up inside, the site of a UPS, Fedex or Prime truck pulling up outside can mean not only the arrival of goodies but also a welcome interjection into the everyday sameness.

Even if the goodie is just a bulk package of toilet paper.

Almost like the old AOL email ding with an announcement of “you’ve got a delivery”, the sight of these trucks elicits an excited response.

I picture parents, working from home, helping their kids with school, exhausted and bleary-eyed, pushing their kids out of the way to rush to the door to not only retrieve their special package but to also utter words of thanks to the fellow adult bearing this gift of joy.

Perhaps we’ve started to order more online out of convenience.

But I argue that there is an equal possibility that it’s just to bring some excitement to otherwise lifeless days.

I believe that the modern Prime truck is now the parent version of the ice cream truck.

Amazon could just put random packages in the back of a Prime truck, drive slowly through the neighborhoods blasting 80s hits, and make bank by stopping and selling random packages to parents in the neighborhood through a side window.

Food Headed Your Way

When I was little, I can remember getting pizza delivered.

It was almost magical. This guy shows up at the door, you pay him some money and then you get to enjoy the cheesy, pepperoni-laden goodness without stepping foot into your kitchen.

Back then, even if the pizza tasted nasty, the fact that you could get it delivered in thirty minutes or less was enough to counteract for that.

For years, the pizza industry owned delivery. I don’t remember any other food getting delivered.

But in the past decade that has all begun to change, with the rise of Uber Eats, Door Dash and more offering delivery of just about anything you want.

Even so, I wonder how much they really accounted for restaurant sales.

And then this happened. COVID-19. Lock-down. Restaurants shut down or at the least forced to deal with a new reality.

Food delivery has suddenly taken on a new light and importance.

Knowing that you can’t physically go and hang out at that restaurant, why not just hang at home and still enjoy the same food?

I know this has much easier for some than others. Some are just not set-up for that.

But I have wondered how things will change when restaurants do open back up.

Along with offering the same ambiance, service, food and community within their walls that everyone has come to enjoy, perhaps they will be able to have grown an additional following in the delivery sphere; and so, grown their reach.

I hope that’s true.

 

I have so much more to share about this… but a truck pulled up outside and I need to run. Hope you understand  🙂

Day 17 – “SPORTS”

Day 17 – “SPORTS”

During the month of April, I’m writing 30 Words for 30 Days: Thoughts from Six Feet Away, one topic per day. Find out why here.

“SPORTS”

If you hate sports, I’ll save you some time. Enjoy your day and come back tomorrow.

This post probably isn’t for you, unless you want to better understand your sport-loving friend.

 

I miss sports. Playing. Watching. Seeing my kids and favorite teams compete.

I know in the whole scheme of things, they wouldn’t normally fall into the “essential” category.

But if you are a sports fan, I think you can agree that this stinks.

 

Kids sports

As I looked at our family calendar a few days ago and all the track meets that were just crossed off, it was a reminder of what could have been this year.

If you are a parent of a kid who plays sports, I think you’ll agree that it can be one of the most fun things in life to cheer your child on, encourage them and see them doing something they love.

And for the kids, it’s something that they love, that they look forward to.

It teaches them about endurance, teamwork, respect, goals, hard work, integrity.

The cancellation of this years track season is extra tough on Eli, my senior, who was looking forward to a huge leap from last year to this year and had been training for months to get where he was now.

Even when the rec center closed, he kept training, using what he had available.

And as the weeks slip by, it’s just this uneasy feeling as a parent. There isn’t anything I can really offer him or my other sons.

There’s no consolation. Parents of baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis… all in the same boat. No warning. Just done.

Even students who started off still hanging in there and training have to be close to giving up at some point, realizing that their season is possibly just done completely.

As much as it hurts me as a parent to see my kids deal with this, I also know that it’s building character, perseverance and allowing for talks here and there about how to deal with life when things don’t go as planned.

Still…

 

College and Professional Sports

I know this one gets a lot more controversial.

“Why do we need pro sports?”

If you’re not a sports fan, you won’t get this. But for sports fans, there is something that watching sports and cheering for your team and hanging in there even after your team has stunk for most of the last 20 years including a 0-16 and 1-15 season and you still keep cheering for them anyway because you love them and hope that this will be the year….

There’s something that watching our favorite teams compete (or really any teams at this point) that gives us enjoyment, something to look forward to, something to inspire us and spice up our lives.

I can’t imagine games without fans in the stands, but just to be able to watch a game would be amazing right now.

As a Cleveland sports fan, I’ve been through a lot. Cleveland fans are some of the heartiest and most loyal people on earth. And we’re positive that this fall could be when the Browns turn the corner.

And even though the Cavs have been blah this year, it’s still fun to watch them play. And the NBA in general. Any given night.

One other aspect to all of this is that we’re a sports family. We watch games together. It’s a way that we bond and share experiences.

The absence of the games to watch and enjoy has just become more evident as the weeks go by.

No buzzer beaters or big matchups. No “dad, did you see this!!” comments from my son.

It’s just weird.

So, I don’t know what it will look like for sports to get back up and going, but we need to find a way.

 

Rec Sports

One other way that I’ve felt all of this is missing basketball and volleyball.

My wife, two of my sons and I were all on a church league volleyball team this year and were having so much fun together with our team. Gone.

I would often play basketball at our local rec center on Saturday mornings with guys that I’ve played with for 15 years. Lots of fun. Gone.

I’m sure you have others that you can mention in your own life. Exercise groups, workouts, sports, camaraderie, community. Gone.

I know there have been some things that have gone online, and there will be some positives and new opportunities that come out of that. But it’s just not the same.

 

Sports. Please come back. We all miss you.

-America

Day 16 – “HOPE”

Day 16 – “HOPE”

During the month of April, I’m writing 30 Words for 30 Days: Thoughts from Six Feet Away, one topic per day. Find out why here.

“HOPE”

Like my daughter, who turns 7 today, I’ll keep this post short and sweet.

Celebrating my daughter Eden will always remind me that there is hope.

You can read more about the details in this post, where I share the backstory.

I’ve been so blessed to be a #girldad, to come home to her hugs and leave for work with her goodbye kisses, to laugh and play and tickle and wrestle and just enjoy life with her.

She makes me proud and I love the way she just attacks the world head-on, with a strength and zeal and love for life and the people she meets.

When I’ve had a tough day, she has a way of warming my heart and reminding me that things are OK.

Happy Birthday, precious one. I love you!

And along those lines, I’m so thankful that even when I’ve lost hope, I serve a God who has enough to spare and graciously pours it out on us.

And in these days of COVID-19 and quarantines and lock downs and masks and uncertainty… we can all use a little hope.

So, if that’s you, and you don’t have an Eden to remind you or fill up your hope jar, maybe this will suffice….

One of my favorite verses in the Bible related to hope comes from the letter written to the church in Rome. It goes like this:

and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

-Romans 5:5

Fresh off of Easter Sunday, one of the most amazing things about Jesus was that even though he would eventually leave this earth, he sent the Holy Spirit to be our comforter.

I love this verse because of the idea that “hope does not disappoint us”. Others maybe might think you’re holding on to false hope, but hope is something that is never wasted.

So, if your world is shaken right now, know that it hasn’t shaken our God. And hope in Him is never placed in vain.

Here’s to Eden. Here’s to you. Here’s to hope.