Do you wish you could snap your fingers and everything would fall in line?
That grace would come… almost instantly… and right everything that has been upended?
But that’s not how it works, is it?
I had a very unexpected deja vu moment yesterday afternoon. It was the Tuesday before Spring Break, and I was sitting in a classroom listening to seniors practice their retreat talks. They were preparing to lead a group of juniors on a Junior Kairos retreat the week after Spring Break. We have only one of these per year.
I was sitting listening intently to one student talk about his personal journey through his life, and in particular, the last two years.
And that’s when the moment happened.
I was suddenly sitting in the same type of desk but it was two years ago in a classroom down the hall from this one. It was the Tuesday before Spring Break, and I was listening to another group of seniors prepare to lead our juniors in this annual Junior Kairos retreat. The timing of everything was the same. The day of the practice, the upcoming days of retreat. Even half of the adults in the room were the same.
I don’t think I would have been surprised if I was wearing the same clothes!
But there was one difference. Two years ago, after the students finished their talks and we remarked on what an incredible job they had done… after we said goodbye, issued reminders, turned out the lights, and offered each other a “Wow this is gonna be an incredible retreat”… the world around us started to shut down.
It began with one text message for me the next morning that eventually led to the quick closure of everything over the next 24-48 hours. Eventually, the retreat was indefinitely postponed. The talks were filed with a promise that their words would eventually land on eager ears.
Back in the present, I listened intently to the rest of the student’s journey while simultaneously seeing flashes before my eyes of all the things that occurred between that Tuesday and this one. I was struck by his obvious growth and change… and mine… and all those around me.
I was struck by how quick it seemed now but how excruciatingly slow it was in the midst.
There was so much “clog and slog and scootch” like Anne Lamott describes.
One inch at a time…. Or even less.
But we did it.
We are doing it.
We are back in the room once again, planning the next thing with more normalcy than ever, awash in grace and hope.
I often want God to say “abracadabra” and make everything right.
But I am grateful for the reminder there can be beauty and healing and light right there in the slog.