One of the most stunning and powerful moments in the Bible involves the prophet Ezekiel. In the book of Ezekiel, the readers encounter the powerful visions of the prophet as the people of Judah experience deportation after Jerusalem falls to the powerful Babylonians. It was a time when hope was lost, and no one knew what the future would hold for God’s people, their families, or even their own lives.
I remember when I first started in childcare management, I was young in my middle twenties. I was convinced I knew it all! How wrong I was. I was a new director at a center, and I had a lot of unhappy teachers. Instead of talking to them and trying to work through all the changes they had to deal with, new director, new rules etc., I just said, “Well, if you don’t like the way I do things, there is the door.” I learned very quickly that was not the way to handle conflict!
Wilma Rudolph had a difficult beginning to life. She was born premature at only 4.5 pounds. With today’s medical technology and advancements, premature births have a more positive outcome than when Wilma was born in 1940. Wilma also suffered from several childhood illnesses that were common in the 1940s.
As I sit in reflection lately, I cannot help but think of all the ways life will change or how we are all finding a “new normal”. It has provided me with quite the variety of emotions from sad to excited and everything in between. It would be easy to get bogged down thinking only of what I cannot do, so I am making an effort to daily think about how change has always been constant in my life. Some of my best moments have come to me in times when life has thrown change my way.
Jr. High is a difficult time for a teenager. Making the transition from being a child to a somewhat independent student is challenging. Students also face the task of finding their place. Jr. High is often a socially awkward time. To make matters worse, students often wrestle with how to treat one another. Students can be harsh, often using mean words towards one another.
For we all make many mistakes, and if any one makes no mistakes in what he says he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also. If we put bits into the mouths of horses that they may obey us, we guide their whole bodies. Look at the ships also; though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So the tongue is a little member and boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire!
“How lovely is thy dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yea, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at thy altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in thy house,
ever singing thy praise!”
We are truly living in different times. One of the most challenging things of our new normal is our limited mobility. Since COVID-19 became a household name, we have limited our travel, our time in public, and mostly, we have done our best to stay home. This has been difficult for so many people. Humanity is social. We need one another…
When 2020 arrived, I was looking forward to it. A trip to Iceland early in the year to visit my oldest daughter was in the works. My wife and I were also thinking about traveling to New York City to see a Broadway show or two. Funny how things can turn on a dime and change. Days before our Iceland trip, the government announced all U.S. citizens returning from European countries (including Iceland) would be quarantined because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Soon, cities and states began shutting down, and in NYC, all Broadway shows went dark.
It is often a struggle to accept the people who are different than we are. It is difficult to accept the people in our life who have not treated us well. It is a challenge to connect with the people who believe differently than we do. Jesus often encountered people who worked to exclude others in their community…