If your family is anything like ours, this whole “shelter-in-place” thing has taken some getting used to. Just when we think we’ve found our groove, some dynamic changes and reminds us that this is definitely an ongoing learning process.
For me, the first couple weeks were particularly challenging. Just to be frank, part of the way I’m wired is that I’m driven by production. I love to have a goal in mind and make things come together to bring that goal to fruition. As a result, I felt a real tension in the early days of quarantine between my desire to “produce” at the same rate that I had been prior to this new chapter of life and wanting to be the best parent I could be to our three children who we were now schooling at home.
On a regular basis, I found myself saying things to my kids like, “Hold on. You need to wait until I’m done with my work,” or, “I’ll play with you in a bit. I really need to finish this up.”
But then I had an epiphany.
I remember the day it happened. It was right after breakfast. The kids were still in their pajamas when they ran out to the backyard. Our two youngest children got down on their bellies and started staring intently at something on the ground. When I asked what they were doing, one of them said, “Daddy! You have to come here! Check out how fast this slug is moving!”
…”check out how fast this slug is moving”…
That is when I realized that things had changed. Our pace of life had decreased dramatically…. and it was good.
It was then that I was reminded of my need to slow down and appreciate the blessings right in front of me. I had been doing everything backwards. Instead of saying to my kids, “Hold on, I need to finish my work,” I should have been saying to my work, “This can wait; I need to finish playing with my kids first.”
There’s a beautiful story in Genesis chapter 33 when Jacob and Esau reconcile after being separated from each other by anger and animosity for over 20 years. As they meet together on a road, Jacob tells Esau, “I know you need to get to the city. Go on ahead of us.” When Esau says, “No, let’s go together!” Jacob insists, “No, you go on ahead of us. I have all of these children with me. You can travel much quicker, but I plan to ‘slow to the pace of the children.'”
I love that line. “Slow to the pace of the children.” What a beautiful reminder of the importance of dramatically decreasing our pace in life. It’s no wonder Jesus constantly told people to have faith like a child. I’m not sure child-like faith has as much to do with lack-of-knowledge or naivety as it does with simply slowing down and sitting at the feet of Jesus.
During this time of quarantine, I’ve needed these reminders. Am I still getting work done? Of course. But this change in perspective has challenged me to reorder my priorities. What are the blessings right in front of me that I’m missing because my focus is in the wrong place? How can the time I spend with Jesus look less like a race to get something done and more like a toddler in pajamas, lying on her belly, staring at a slug in utter amazement?
Let’s all do our best to “slow to the pace of the children” and see what blessings we may notice right in front of us that we’ve been missing out on all along.