I’ve known for a while now just how fragile life is. How no matter how strong we are physically, mentally, even spiritually, life can change in an instant never to return to what it once was.
I caught a glimpse of it during our military years when we were sat down as just a couple of 20-year-old newlyweds to discuss death beneficiaries and final wishes before my husband’s deployment to Iraq.
I witnessed it firsthand 11 years ago after a head on collision with a drunk driver. And seven years ago, as my grandpa had a stroke and gradually faded away from the complications of Parkinson’s.
Three and a half years ago it was a slap on the face as my strong little sister was attacked with the most aggressive cancer and again just a couple months ago as my father-in-law was struck down by COVID.
Life is fragile. It doesn’t matter how in shape you are, how healthy you eat. It doesn’t matter if you wear your seatbelt or if you have plans for the future… none of us are promised tomorrow.
But what do we do with that realization, when we know that all we have is the here and now?
In the previous world, we would say things like…
Seize the day…
Love your people…
But that is not the world we are living in now. We are now living in a pandemic, in a world where caution is king, and fear is everywhere.
In the past when we have walked through crisis, it has typically been secluded to one thing… health, finances, employment, caregiving… not everything at once.
So many people have mentioned to me recently that everything feels so heavy right now. Never before have we been fearful for our own health, for our parents and grandparent’s wellbeing, our children’s education, our employment, our small business, our marriage, our finances, our mental strength, our healthcare, and our community all at once.
The world is heavy because it feels like every single structure we stand on is in jeopardy. It feels like we are traveling on an iceberg and chunks keep falling off. We are running out of solid ground.
Lately the word that keeps popping up for me is sustainability. How much longer will this be sustainable? How much longer can we go without loving on our people? How much longer can we go without having our “normal” before we lose sight of what normal is? How much longer will it be before we feel like we are living again? How many more days will I waste on worry?
Psalm 51:12 popped into my inbox this morning as part of a daily devotional I am subscribed to. It says, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
There is that word again… sustain.
But also finally an answer… restoration.
I love old things. Old houses, old cars, old furniture… all of it. And there is always something magical about the process of restoration. Cleaning off all the old gunk that has been building on the piece for decades. Sanding it down, removing the paint, stripping it back to what it once was. Then rebuilding it with a new layer of paint or stain, resealing it so it is once again shiny. Giving it a new life.
God is in the business of restoration.
So perhaps my prayers of sustainability need to be changed to requests for a willing spirit to sustain me, as Psalm 51 says. After all, in the middle of winter we don’t pray for a summer day, we just simply put on another layer to sustain us until it is over.
By Jessy Paulson, Purpose + Grit
Originally Published on the Choosing Faith Over Fear Blog 11/25/2020
Hi! I'm Jessy, one of the co-owners of Purpose + Grit and co-authors of the book Faith Over Fear: Walking Angie Home. I share my life with my husband Kyle, our three kids, Ally, Charley and Rad and our German Shephard, Roxy. You will usually find me with coffee in my cup and paint on my clothes, tackling one of my many projects 15 minutes at at time.