We are all doing life differently.
A friend is having a drive-by birthday party for her husband, where those who love them have a half hour to drive past their home and acknowledge another milestone passing without the opportunity to celebrate in person.
Birthday celebrations meant to be fun.
Mason turned two this past weekend, a milestone of his own. He’s discovering his autonomy, making sure everyone knows who he is.
We have a tradition of celebrating family birthdays together, for whoever lives close. With close being the problem now, family members who are hunkered down together held cell phones as we FaceTimed and sang Happy Birthday to the little guy.
His mom had made a beautiful cake with Cinderella’s castle in blue fondant and the monorail streaming around the base of the cake. Creative and cute.
Mason is a huge fan of the Mouse.
When it came time to blow out the candles, Mason, in his fascination with flames and eagerness to snuff out the small fires, dipped too close to the candles. He singed his hair and barely burned a bit of his forehead.
Not what he expected from his birthday cake.
Not what anyone would expect from a birthday cake.
He popped upright, and the tears and wails came quickly. Being a phone-distance away, it was hard not to chuckle a bit and still feel sorry for the little guy. Neither response seemed fully appropriate.
In a time of continued isolation from others and needing to communicate over screens and devices, I’m finding that my emotions have lost some of their strength. It’s a numbness that’s uncomfortable. My empathy, joy, sadness, delight all seem to be on mute. Or have hit a rough patch of complacency.
Yet this is a time when our compassion needs to be poured out to others. Our hearts need to be touched by the plight of those hurting with the disease and lost jobs and confusing lives that don’t make sense anymore. Many families are hurting because they’re not used to being together all day, every day. Couples are struggling because they have no space to be individuals and no capacity to be kind. People are reacting to personal pain and discomfort and are causing hurt to others without meaning to.
When Jesus hung on the cross for a punishment He didn’t deserve, He called out to His Father to forgive those who had put Him there. Because they didn’t know what they were doing. They didn’t know the ramifications of their actions, nor were they privy to the greater plan of God.
There are so many out there who are truly giving of themselves during this hard time, sacrificing time with family, health, and convenience for the rest of us. Those of us who are in forced quarantine need to rethink our attitudes.
We need to see others through the gracious eyes of Jesus.
Our compassion toward one another needs to be real. Generous hearts are required right now to be kind, caring, and focused on other’s needs.
We can do this with the help of Jesus.
The struggle isn’t over. But hope is still alive.
Will we choose hope?