I’ve been pretty quiet through this season of quarantine, social distancing, pandemic life. I haven’t had much to say because I’ve been watching. I’ve been listening and absorbing and looking at the way so many people have handled this season of adversity. I’ve also enjoyed the extra time with J, as he’s been working from home for six weeks now. I’ll admit, the first two weeks were quite interesting. The littles and I have our own routine from 8-4:30 and its not one that requires any input from J…so, I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was definitely an adjustment period to him being here with us, all day, every day…while working…
For our family, that’s been one of the major changes.
The other major change is that we haven’t been allowed to visit our partner churches. I touch base with pastor’s wives and our Navajo family throughout the week, I’m still working on supplying them with Sunday School lessons they can use at home, we’re coordinating the distribution of over 1,000 masks, bringing in donations of wipes, diapers and non-perishables and navigating getting them to the appropriate pick up sites, all while staying quarantined in our home. Ministry doesn’t stop just because the world does and so we’ve found multiple ways to reach out to our beloved Navajo while also following the law of the land.
Many of you, my readers, have reached out to me, as you’ve seen major news outlets reporting on the virus on the Rez..the spread, the lack of testing materials, the lack of water and other much needed resources, the lack of PPE…many of you have asked if its really true that 30% or more don’t have running water and an even higher percentage live without electricity. The answer is simply, yes.
I’ve had many of our supporters ask how our kiddos are adjusting in this season. I can honestly answer by saying that social distancing is something they learned three years ago when we moved West. The girls and Little Man are best friends. They are very much accustomed to being home during the day and creating adventures for themselves in the yard. Their imaginations are exponentially bigger than they’ve ever been and they can problem solve with the best… bicycle is broken, turn it into a scooter…need some string to make a swing for your doll, hay twine can hold just about anything together. We have a family rhythm where we ask each other, each night at dinner, what the best and worst part of our day was and how we feel about the day. Each night, we have different things. Since the quarantine began, Little Man’s best part of the day has been that he didn’t have to go anywhere, he just got to be at home.
I have pondered that over the past two weeks. I have stressed out and worried that maybe my introverted ways have tarnished his view of the world. I have asked him why he doesn’t want to go anywhere. I have thought through ways we can get him out of the house, safely, to let him see something other than our house and our yard. Last night, as he again announced that his best part of the day was that he got to stay home and didn’t have to go anywhere, it occurred to me that this four year old fella gets the crux of this quarantine in a much more real way than his mama…
Don’t get me wrong, I have LOVED every minute of being home and not feeling obligated to be anywhere… (I’d be lying if I said I’m not looking forward to having my hair cut and colored AND a mani/pedi would be amazing right now) but again, I’ve worried that we’re missing something. You know what I’m missing? Truly?
I’m missing the way the sheep call for my boy when he walks to the corral at Masani and Grandma E’s house. I’m missing the way my babies and their cousin brothers and sisters play together. I’m missing the elders who long to teach my family the Navajo language. I’m missing laughing with Jaah and Tap. I’m missing studying the Word with Mrs. Verna. And despite knowing we’ve made the best choice for our ministry, our family, the Navajo…I am already missing VBS this year. I’m missing those sweet faces worshiping with me. I’m missing those bright grins as we determine who gets a pie in the face. I’m missing the teams of people who love the Rez, who have a heart for the Navajo and who have loved my family fiercely over the past three years. And yet, Little Man said it best. We are BLESSED to stay home. We aren’t stuck. We aren’t ill-equipped for social distancing. We have the privilege of being at home, together, as family, while so many others do not have the luxury.
Please understand, I do know the economy is hurting. I know there are so many people who are struggling. I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs of opening America back up. I don’t envy those who are making those decisions nor do I wish them any ill as they are doing what they feel is best for each circumstance. I will not pretend to understand the ramifications of such a large scale shutdown.
What I am saying is that my son’s outlook has benefited mine. His four year old brain is comfortable, secure in being at home with his Mama, Daddy and big sisters. He is sure that there is nowhere else he’d rather be and no other group of people he’d rather be with during this season.
If I can turn my own perspective from one of disbelief, from an outlook of despair and boredom into one of gratitude, grace, love and adventure, this season will impact my family in such a way that it can only be explained as God’s grace and love. If I shift my perspective, it causes a shift in my world. And right now, my world is very small. At some point, it will grow bigger again and my appreciation for the small will be even greater than before.
And you know what, living on the Rez taught me so much of the shifting in perspectives. What I used to contend as essential to my life, was quickly replaced with those things God called essential. Three years ago today, I thought my life had ended as J interviewed for his job on the Rez. Three years ago, I would never have believed I’d be able to find joy in a desert breeze. I never would’ve believed I’d find joy out West…and yet, God changed my perspective and He’s changing it again.
Will you let Him change yours?