Loss of the Familiar

By Jamie Wiechman

Do you remember what it was like before life started throwing us so many curveballs? When work, school, sports, restaurants, churches, etc. were a standard part of life – not perfect, but at least not cancelled or closed every time you turned around. When we could mindlessly scroll Facebook for hours – not energized, but at least not angry and keyed up? When we didn’t have to ask everyone the question on the way out the door, “Did you remember your mask?” Sometimes I long for the simplicity of my pre-Covid life.

The funny thing about my pre-covid life is that I don’t remember it feeling simple when I was living it. I thought it was crazy and chaotic. For the last year, I’ve regularly found myself stuck in my home with more time on my hands than I know what to do with. Yet somehow, life has not felt simple.

Maybe the crazy we know is easier than the crazy we don’t know.

Have you ever wondered why the Israelites wanted to go back to life in Egypt after only 6 weeks in the desert (see the story in Exodus 16)? “At least there we had pots of meat and our fill of bread,” they complained. How easy it is to glamorize the past in a time of uncertainty, remembering only one part of the picture! The Israelites remembered the food of Egypt and forgot the horrible conditions of slavery.

Maybe their complaints were the only way they knew to release the tension caused by all the newness they were experiencing. Their lives weren’t great before, but at least they were predictable. Some of us are feeling that, too. I just wish I knew what to expect. Nothing is ever settled anymore. When will life get back to normal?

The loss of what was familiar made it difficult for the Israelites to appreciate all the amazing things they were experiencing. Every time a page is turned on their story, we find them grumbling again. That’s true for some of us these days, too. And who could really blame us? There’s been so much to complain about.

In a time of transition, sometimes what we really need is a chance to tell what we miss, what used to seem easy, and what’s currently hard. This is different than a complaint. It is an acknowledgement of how much we appreciate the good things we have experienced in the past and how hard life is without them. It may feel vulnerable and even a little sad. That’s okay. It is this kind of honest sharing that can open us up to compassion and understanding that will be soothing to our frayed nerves.

What do you miss from before? Is it consistency, friends, safety, a sense of control? Feel free to make a list. Then I encourage you to tell someone – either Jesus or another friend. Let them know what has been weighing on you.

Do you want to hear something cool? God gave the Israelites food miraculously, even with all their grumbling. The Father’s understanding of our stress responses is amazing to me. He is attentive, patient, and helpful to our situations in practical ways, even when we don’t know it or believe it.

Lord Jesus, thank you for helping us to tell you, trust you, and see how you provide for our every need. Amen.

This blog was the first installment of Breathe Life Ministries’ 7-week email journey of Making Room. To receive future installments in your inbox, sign up here. Originally published at https://breathelifetoday.com/loss-of-the-familiar/. Used by permission.

Breath Life Ministries also set up a Making Room Facebook group. You are welcome to share your thoughts there if you wish. Join the group: https://tinyurl.com/MakingRoomFBGroup.

What I Miss: A Stained Glass Prayer

A Stained Glass Prayer Response from Justin Rossow

I thought this first Making Room reflection on what you miss from life Pre-COVID went really well with the Visual Faith™ practice called a Stained Glass Prayer.

As you can see in the picture, I started listing things I miss and talking to Jesus about them as I added color and design. I didn’t “finish” and that’s OK: I will be able to come back it this later or tomorrow or the next day.

When I started, I only had one or two things listed, but as I worked on one thought, several others came to mind. This guided my reflection and also gave structure to my prayer. Thanks, Jamie Wiechman, for this invitation to make some room in my heart my noticing some of what I have been unconsciously grieving. And thanks, Valerie Matyas, for showing me the Stained Glass Prayer.

You can see Valerie teach this practice in The Stained Glass Prayer blog and video tutorial.

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