Seventeen Months

Seventeen months ago, everything was different.

Seventeen months later, we are all different.

I have struggled during these months. As a pastor in a relatively new call, I have struggled to lead my church. As a family member of people who have varying levels of trust in science and medicine, as well as diverse political views, I have struggled to care for my loved ones. As a confident decision maker, I have struggled with decision fatigue so much, I don’t think I can say I’m a “confident decision maker” any more.

And I know I am not the only one.

This week I have been reminded of this because of conversations (confrontations?) with two of my loved ones.

In one situation, after 6 months of no conversations, we were able to have a conversation and find our way to reconciliation. Guess what? It was not about our relationship or anything either of us did to the other. It was all about the stress and struggle of seventeen months and both of us working uniquely hard jobs and managing family difficulties and making so many decisions. One one side, it had led to paralysis and self-preservation in the form of not engaging in any extra stress. On the other side, it had led to paranoia and hurt feelings.

In another situation, I have become kind of snarky and unforgiving as I assume the other person has become resentful and uncaring and I don’t think they are being fair or kind and I’ve started to let those thoughts creep out of my mouth. This morning as I was allowing myself to get a little worked up about it, I felt the tug on my heart.

Everyone has had an incredibly difficult seventeen months. Maybe you should pray for this person instead. Maybe you should assume they are doing their best and are having an even harder time than you have had. Maybe instead of assuming the worst about someone else while you give yourself grace upon grace, you should extend a little of that grace to this person.

So I’m trying to do better, because it’s not fair. And we all need a bit more grace all around. It’s easy to cast blame and snark and assume the worst about someone’s intentions. It’s harder to think of people and situations as complicated, multi-layered, and not all about “me.”

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)

p.s. I don’t really know how to get back into blogging, but I know I need to start writing and reflecting again. So receive this as a first offering after a long drought.