Thinking Outside

Today started out like every other day has for the last week and a half. After my normal morning routine, I ate breakfast and cleaned up the kitchen. Then I tricked Fluffy into getting into the cage to go visit my dad. I stopped by the McDonald’s, where they now know me, and got my dad a sweet tea.

He seemed to be doing well today. He was sitting up, wearing his blue shirt that makes his eyes look the clearest blue water. He was happy to see Fluffy and drink his tea, but didn’t have much to say, so we sat in silence; he would occasionally look over and smile. Fluffy and I could only stay for a little bit, so we left right before his lunch arrived.

I drove home on a mostly empty road. I was able to make the left turn out of the nursing home easily. Usually, I sit for awhile because I have to cross three lanes on a busy road. There is such a strangeness in the air with all of this. I don’t really feel worried or scared; I think I’m still trying to process what’s happening around me.

I came home, ate lunch, and began to answer the 10,000 emails and texts from school. Each asking a question or explaining a small task that needed my attention. I then posted my assignments for students. Thankfully, there is a lot of grace coming from administration because we are all trying to figure out how all of this is going to work.

Then it started. The grumbling and complaining in my heart. It started with just one irritated thought when my phone signaled I had received another text- and not a fun text from a friend- but a work text. That thought led to other negative thoughts about wanting to feel free to leave my house, to spend as long as I want with my dad without having to wear a mask, to maybe go to a coffee shop downtown to work without the distractions of my house. Small inconveniences, but it boils down to the fact that I want to live my life how I always have. My own selfishness because I know these measure are in place to keep everyone safe.

I looked outside and realized it was finally sunny and my grass was looking high. Several neighbors mowed their lawns this past weekend, so I have been feeling pressure to not be the only shabby house on the block. I decided I needed fresh air and sunshine to crack this mood. I’m thankful I made that choice because my grass was ankle deep. It makes sense because it has rained for 40 days and 40 nights, but I was still a little shocked at how much it had grown.

I was mowing for about two minutes when my sour mood lifted. There is just something about being outside and moving that works wonders for the soul. It was a day where it’s hard to tell if it’s late October or early spring. The sun was warm, but there was a slight chill to the air. I mowed and swept the driveway. Afterwards I put on my favorite summer sandals and sat on the porch. I listened to the birds singing their songs and closed my eyes as the sun warmed my face.

It was easy to think that nothing had changed in the world. I wondered if maybe I have been feeling more stressed than I realized. I know being outside won’t change reality, but I do think it will help me keep perspective. I was reminded of a Ray Bradbury story called, “There Will Come Soft Rains.” In the story, an automated house continues with it’s routine even though all the people and other houses were destroyed in a nuclear war.

Encouraging, right? What I take away from that story, and the Sara Teasdale poem he includes, is that life goes in cycles. We have good times, bad times, fun times, scary times, and uncertain times. Regardless of what’s going on with me or the world, the sun is still going to come up, the seasons will change, and the birds will sing.

While on the porch, I reminded myself that we are in uncertain, scary times, but I believe that good times will return. But then so will all the other kinds of times.

Mark 1:35 states, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.” Jesus knew of the hard times, mixed in with the good times, that were coming. And He took time to get away and pray. Since He is the Son of God, why in the world would I not follow His example- especially in times like these? I need to also step out of my house, get some fresh air, and pray. Despite all the uncertainty, we can rest assured that God is the same. Always.

The desperation I feel for the Lord reminds me of “Love Alone,” a favorite song by Caedmon’s Call that seems fitting to the situation that we find ourselves in.

Give me your hand to hold

‘Cause I can’t stand to love alone

And love alone is not enough to hold us up

We’ve got to touch your robe

So swing your robe down low

Swing your robe down low

The prince of despair’s been beaten

But the loser still fights

Death’s on a long leash

Stealing my friends to the night

And everyone cries for the innocent

You say to love the guilty too

And I’m surrounded by suffering and sickness

So I’m working tearing back the roof

“Love Alone” by Caedmon’s Call

Author: The Chronicles of Ms. K

I enjoy drinking coffee, reading books, listening to music, playing board games, and hiking. I have three indoor cats and a growing collection of stray porch cats. I teach middle school English in a public school. I have a crazy, amazing support system of family and friends. When I was younger, I thought I would grow up and stick around my home town. One summer at camp changed all that when I met Jesus and decided to follow Him. That decision brought about the stories that I'll share here.

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