This was supposed to be "our year." In early January my wife, Linda, and I were riding high on life. Work wise, we both were heading in good directions. She was killing it in her sales role and we planned to branch out a build a new career path for her with yoga (I know, it's not a millionaire opportunity but we had a plan.) Our marriage was strong. Our kids were learning self-sufficiency. As a couple, we were enjoying the world of being empty nesters. It takes time to pay those dues to get to a spot where you feel in control, confident, team-focused with a plan. We set some goals. Stay committed to our faith. Pay down our debt. Spent more time looking at each other than at iPad screens. Off to Costa Rica for some fun - surfing, hiking, watching sunsets, dreaming. Then March came.
Wrestling and The Final Four
As an avid college wrestling fan, the one month of the year I look forward to is March. It's the Final Four of college wrestling. Conference tournaments with the climax of a three-day national tournament to close out the season. Our son was planning his first spring break trip. We both were young and wild once so we gave him the family hall pass. Spring was coming after what seemed like a longer than normal winter. The birds were chirping and there were patches of green grass.
When the first signs of the plague that is now ravishing our world surfaced, I took it in stride like most of the world. Things happen in China. It's different over there. This will all work out. I met my brother in early March for the conference wrestling tournament. There was a mild level of fear but still 8,000 people crammed in to a 1970's basketball facility to enjoy two full days of fantastic wrestling. We hung out at bars. Shook each others hand. Shared life stories. Agreed to meet in two weeks for the national tournament. Then, it happened.
Is This In The Bible?
I look at the way God tested societies, cultures, people in the bible and wonder what the thinking was. Lessons in humility? Simple outright torture? A plan with an end that those participating were supposed to understand? We've heard that God works in mysterious ways. And then there is poor old Job, who caught every ailment known to man but couldn't catch a break. OK, fair enough. If He's in charge, he can do what he damn well pleases.
What Are We Supposed To Do?
A text from a good friend hit me hard this morning. He feared he was going to lose his job. The state was going to shut down. I was powerless. Still am. Only words of encouragement could offer any level of comfort and care. I thought about how to respond to this difficult message. Then I realized millions of us are thinking the same thing. There is no easy answer. I can't affect change. We're on this wild ride that is taking us to a place we don't know yet where that will be. Prayers? Don't have time to pray. Anger? Sure. Our society is being crippled. Sadness? Of course. I'm living in a bubble, only traveling outside of my little private domain when I have to. A plan? Can't think that far ahead. This is a day-to-day adventure, which usually begins with the presidential address and his plan of attack.
Hope? Yes. I can't put a timeline on this. A month or months, it is what it is. Depression. Recession. OK, so be it. The outcome? Many really, really smart people have said the end is we all become better people, learn to respect the dignity of one another, care about our neighbor, get out of our individualistic, self-contained social media lives. Is that in the Bible? No. Does that life lesson make sense? It does. Back to Job. God tested the living hell out of this poor guy. And in the end, after significant trials of testing his faith and commitment, he came out on top. Maybe we are all Job's right now. Being put through a test. Some will lose, some will win. I'm going with that. I'll accept the test. And pray that I'll come out on top, whenever that might be. And Linda will be alongside me on this wild ride of uncertainty.
Remember, sweetheart, this is our year.