Not isolating isolation

Grace abounds, gratitude litters our days, and love binds us all together but flowing in undercurrent of it all, right alongside all the good, are such big emotions. Fear, uneasiness, disappointment, frustration, loneliness, and anxiety.  Yes, we have everything we need and love is not scarce but the exclamation points to provision and vibrant connections are lacking. The real human shells and resonant voices feel far away.  As a family we have cracked open the spines of new adventurous books, we have drawn with Mo, we have read with Oliver Jeffers, we have spent countless hours outside, we have nourished our bodies and moved them too.  All the good is still woven in with sadness.  We miss our friends.  We miss our family.  We miss the gathering of our faith community.  All the good marinates together with all the sad and it doesn't discriminate on age.

On the weekend I went for a run outside without earbuds just so that I could partake in the sounds of the outdoors: wind rustling, birds' lively chattering song, snow crunching underfoot, and voices conversing at #socialdistancing distances on and off the trail.

Certain things have gone cold and quiet: school playgrounds, parking lots, places of worship, gyms, and shopping malls.  Certain things I linger in and relish: eye contact, embraces with the family I can embrace, and deep breaths on my front-step.  Certain things are noisier than ever: our house at 5:30pm (a day's worth of stir-crazies with supper chaos everywhere), and the internet.  I am hungry for connection and yet it is easy to feel like my genuine longings get lost in din of all the collective storytelling.  Beauty is all around and I feel fire-hosed by it all at once.  The world is still a stage, comparison is still the thief of joy, and sometimes I still choose to fill the silence with noise.

And yet, and perhaps the biggest yet of all for me right now, is that the incarnate Word of God is alive and pulsing and close.  I love how Eugene Peterson put it,

"The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish."
John 1:14 (the Message)

I like that thought: that God is in the neighbourhood, walking our sidewalks, holding our gazes as we loiter on our front porches, grinning at all the kid-crafted-art on our big bay windows, and self-isolating with each one of us.