By Betty Streff
The Corona Virus, when viewed through a powerful microscope, looks for all the world like a grain of pollen. By now, we’re all way too familiar with the spiny little red sputnik-like images. They show up every time we turn on the television or scroll through our phones. Pollen can raise havoc for people with allergies and hay fever, but the virus has proved to be deadly.
Sadly, the damage to humans is far more insidious than just the physical illness. Covid-19’s side effects have exploded into epic issues across virtually every aspect of our daily lives. The economy, education, sports, weddings, funerals, and family life look completely different today than when the calendar turned over to 2020.
Somehow, this microscopic organism has magnified a lot of things that we knew were broken. Our lives have been careening along at a breakneck pace for a long time. Despite that, we proudly displayed our busy badges as if there was a prize for juggling the biggest load. Stuff, activities, appearances, you know. Deep inside, we knew some things were wrong but we never took time to step off the merry-go-round to take a look at how we could fix them.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Inertia. Remember that from science class? An object in motion tends to stay in motion. Years of waste, over scheduling, over-spending, over commitment, and over extending became a powerful cultural spin cycle that kept right on spiralling until something external stopped it.
That something, Covid 19, put the brakes on the centrifugal force that kept us all suspended on the ride. And lots of things we took to be true fell apart.
HOW WE’RE WIRED, WHAT WE’LL DO WHEN THE CORONA VIRUS IS BEHIND US
Now, once the dizziness has subsided, we will do what humans always do, we’ll pick ourselves up and take the next step. God made us that way because we are made in His image. We are born co-creators.
Human beings are incredibly resilient and can spring back strong and bright after the most tragic circumstances. A whole generation of Holocaust survivors is a testimony to our innate ability to heal.
“When you go through disappointments or tough times, you may feel like you’ve been buried. You may feel like you’re in a dark, lonely place. You may feel like it’s the end; but in reality, it’s only the beginning. The fact is, you haven’t been buried; you have been planted. That means you’re coming back.”~Joel Osteen
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
Master motivator Jim Rohn holds a special place in my heart. His hayseed-style wisdom touched me deeply and cemented my optimism. He taught that we must always look closely at any situation and try to find the good.
Because, in every crisis there is always a seed of possibility. Every time. When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. His encouragement to “stay fascinated instead of frustrated” rang true for me the first time I heard it. That philosophy has carried me through many gut-wrenching disappointments.
There is a gift inside every obstacle. Sometimes it takes a long time to find it and unwrap it. And, sometimes we only see the gift for what it was in the rearview mirror, but there’s always a gift. Setbacks can grow into comebacks. We need to see life with new eyes.
There’s nothing as exciting as a comeback – seeing someone with dreams, watching them fail, and then getting a second chance.” ~Rachel Griffiths
THE CORONA VIRUS, FINDING OUR WAY BACK
As we weathered the Corona Virus and sheltering in place, many of us suffered. If human beings had a low battery indicator on emotional reserves, ours might have dipped near zero. If there was a gauge on our spiritual tank, we might have found ourselves barely above “E”. A long, hard winter, disappointments, difficulties and discouragement can find us grasping for a lifeline.
But when I look at the opportunity we have before us to rethink, re-chart and redirect the trajectory of our lives, I find it exhilarating! We have the opportunity for a re-do! And personally, I serve a God who delights in second chances.
Recent publications suggest we are beginning to look at life differently. Isn’t it fascinating? Repurposing and upcycling instead of dumping things in the landfill are hip-and-with-it concepts today. Growing our own food, raising chickens and farm-to table dining is cool and trendy.
Glossy magazines have even featured mending as an art form, honest. (Take a look at Pinterest if you think I’m making this up.) It’s now considered a noble pursuit to rescue favorite garments with artful, creative, visible repairs.
What if the last several months have left us feeling overwhelmed, defeated, and broken? Here’s a final thought on this chance for a do-over.
Wabi-sabi is an Asian philosophy that embraces “finding beauty in broken things or old things.” It refers to an awareness of the transient nature of earthly things and an admiration for the things that bear the mark of this impermanence. Many of us believe broken objects have lost their value. It’s the way we’ve been enculturated here in the “modern” world.
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. This technique conveys a philosophy not of replacement, but of awe, reverence, and restoration. The gold-filled cracks of a once-broken item are a testament to its history and become the most beautiful elements in the object.
Why not upcycle, repurpose and mend broken people and highlight our own broken places with gold? Our greatest value often comes from making it through the dark places in our journey. What’s more, faults, failures, and flaws are quite often the most intriguing parts of anyone’s story! We should honor the lessons they’ve taught us!
MAYBE IT’S TRUE WHAT THEY SAY?
What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. We get better at life in the process of working through difficult circumstances. And that makes us better equipped to serve others. God is the ultimate kintsugi artist and often uses broken people to make other things (and people) beautiful again.
If we will see things through the eyes of possibility, right now may be the perfect opportunity to become the person we were created to be! What an exciting future!