Years ago, when one of our sons was about 4, he would reach a point (and we all do) where he didn’t want to do a task in front of him, like cleaning up- or laying down for nap- and he would tell me “I can’t,” which of course, was not true. Or later, when asked again, he’d say, “I don’t want to” which drew swift consequences. So finally, one day, he’d had enough of everyone and everything and when asked to do the next thing, he collapsed into a small heap on the floor and whimpered- “but mom, I can’t want to!” I felt that one. Deep down in my knowing. And I got down on the floor and slowly, patiently helped him. Not to want to. Helped him to get it done, anyway. Because sometimes we just need someone to slow down and just patiently help us. To understand; to continue; to just do what comes next. Because it’s hard. Sometimes seasons in life push you to the point you feel you just can’t; and worse yet, you really don’t want to. This is why I’m here. To help. Especially right now.
I use his saying a lot these days. Because, when considering all of the big tasks ahead of each of us- rebuilding inside and out- it can truly feel overwhelming to ponder the days and weeks ahead. When I think about what we’ve missed as a family, community, and as a nation due to these months of quarantine- and what we may still have to forgo in the weeks to come? I get it. I so feel you on this, friend. Potentially not being able to see my son’s high school commencement exercises, and spending the majority of this spring soccer season for both boys being housebound due to an unseen killer lurking on the loose? I just can’t. The thoughts of loss and sadness can invade any time I allow myself to linger there too long.
But in thinking about how much we have “lost” I come to a hard stop. I also can’t want to with a full on pity party. Every single day, I see how hard this is for everyone, and I am instantly grateful that we have things to have “lost” in the first place. Mercifully, none of my immediate family or friends have fallen ill- much less died, from this virus. I realize how blessed we are to still have a roof over our heads, and food quickly replenished in our fridge and pantry. Employment fairly stable and finances that could bear the weight of an unexpected interruption. Sure, we had to cancel plans, and have had to release some things that we used to hold close. But even in all of that, we don’t have any major collateral damage as a family; and certainly no reason to complain. We’ve been given the gift of time; our most precious commodity. We have been “forced”to spend time with the very people for whom we ask time off for vacation. Them. Those folks. If just in that alone, we have zero to complain about. We have people. They may not be perfect, but they’re ours. We belong to each other.
This pandemic has given us the opportunity to see the very best and the absolute worst of people. From those who are selflessly giving of their time and resources to help their neighbors, even complete strangers- and those who are working on the front lines of medicine to care for the sick; we’ve seen hero after hero. God bless you, I’m praying for you all. And sadly, we too, have seen the supply hoarders, price gougers, and those who carelessly and cavalierly disregard the physical or emotional health and well being of their fellow man. I’ll pray for them, too. They need it most.
And despite all of this, the one thing that will not be lost in this pandemic? My hope. Or my light. Or my joy. Nope. Not. Never. Why? Because that’s way too high a price to pay; if I let them go I have nothing left. So I will not. I cannot. I simply can’t want to.