We took a family walk last night.
Though my oldest was complaining from the onset, I pushed us to take a longer walk all the way down a road that led to a pretty white bridge. As we began our trek, we saw another family across the road doing the same thing.
“Hey!” I yelled across the street. “You have three boys just like us! Mine are 5, 5, and 7! Yours?”
“3, 3, and 5!”
We smiled across the way a knowing smile – the smile of people who get what three crazy boys close in age can feel like.
In another time, we would have crossed the road and had a conversation. I would have asked them where they lived and seen how close our houses were to one another. But, in this time and space, we simply waved even when we crossed paths again twenty minutes later. We kept our social distance and shared only a safe nod and smile.
Last night, after our walk, we learned that we would officially be sheltered in place after midnight Monday… the parameters of this strange world shrinking a little bit more.
Knowing this, it is so very easy to stand on the street corner, 8 ft from your neighbor, and breathe in despair. It is so easy to see only darkness in the shrinking circle of our reality.
It is harder to see that darkness begets light and that suffering is temporary. It is harder to breathe in the beauty that can be possible in the days ahead, beauty we can’t even fathom as we close our doors to the world outside.
But, as Mary Oliver once wrote, there can be tremendous beauty in darkness… if we only look for it.
“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.”
It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.
There will be gift here. Let us be patient. Stay at home, love on our families, and trust in the gift of God’s grace that never is out of stock.
Unlike, apparently, toilet paper.