Yesterday was the first day of spring break for the boys. It’s different this year. In case you’re reading this 20 years from now, our world is going through a pandemic. Nothing like this has happened in over one hundred years or so. But enough about that for now, because it is such a life shifting event, I don’t think much explanation is required to explain it’s effects on daily life. I’m don’t want to give time elaborating on what is seen in what can feel like overwhelming waves. Rather I want to share about a new experience that my boys and I had as a result of this historical event.
Since all the typical spring break destinations, both local and abroad, are closed, social distancing is the expiation and a stay at home order is in place, limitations are thick to find a place to go to just breath. Thankfully, I was introduced to a “new to me” park in my local area. New Quarter Park is an amazing little oasis; it has several biking and hiking trails along with several other amenities to enjoy. A unique amenity this place offers is a butterfly habitat. The idea of seeing something like this sounded intriguing on a normal day but more so today because, well I’m not exactly sure why yet. So the boys and I went.
Since this park was new to me, I had a difficult time locating the butterfly habitat. Thankfully, after making a couple of phone calls, a park guide came to meet us and point us in the right direction. As she explained where to go my unawareness of the terrain created anxiety for me. She sounded so confident in description of how to get to where I wanted to go. She sounded so familiar with the area and her description made the walk ahead seem so easy.
I felt like she could sense my uneasiness and did her best to calm me with more than one way of explaining how to get to the destination as well as an attempt to point out some of her directions on my map. Unfortunately I could not receive this aid due to the six feet of social distancing requirements. I felt guilty as I had to step back as she moved towards me. “I don’t want to seem weird but…” I said. She replied, “Oh yeah. Sorry.” With that I had to take her words and the map I held in my hand to forge ahead.
Leading my boys, we began to walk. I didn’t like the trail that the map had planned out. It looked longer than I wanted to walk.. I just wanted to take a few minutes to see some butterflies and move on. It also had a deep curve to it that I was nervous to take. I wondered why it was designed that way. It upset me somewhat. It seemed so unnecessary. It seemed like the trail could have continued on the straight path it initially set out for. It wasn’t until I walked on it that I saw why it was designed that way.
As we came to the curve I wasn’t looking forward to, I noticed that the terrain next to the path grew steep. It was then that I realized that the if path would have continued straight we would have had to walk down a steep grade, risking unnecessary dangers. Rather, the path’s curves lead down a gentle descending curve that eventually came to the destination I desired.
At the beginning of this post I didn’t want to focus to the current pandemic the world is in. There is so much about it that I would prefer not to acknowledge – it’s unpredictability, it’s unfamiliarity, it’s impact on life and death. Specifically this week’s news has posted that it will be the hardest week yet. Not something I want to hear. For my family personally, we have not experienced a great impact. I do not know anyone who has died from this virus but I do know a couple of people who have gotten sick. Even still, their level of sickness was not to the extent that required hospitalization, thankfully! Still, I don’t like that this week is predicted to be the hardest thus far.
This week is also Holy week; the week before Easter. This year we won’t gather in church buildings to celebrate the greatest event in history. This is a mark in history. It is a curve in the path of what has already been laid out for us to journey down.
Like the beginning of the trail I walked on yesterday, I didn’t like the unfamiliarity of it but the idea of seeing the butterflies pushed me on.
That same path has caused me to consider this path were on with this virus. It is new. It is uncomfortable. It requires walking a way that is uncharted (social distancing, staying at home for an unforeseeable amount of time). It is sad. We were not designed to walk alone. But just like I walked on that path, taking one unfamiliar step after another, I began to notice something. Intermittedly I began to see one butterfly go past me. I hadn’t even arrived at the hoped for destination yet. Still, the butterflies showed up unexpectedly. It gave me hope to keep going even though they didn’t show up all at once or even more than one at a time. They flew alone as in small waves of encouragement. “Keep walking. Come this way. Where you seek to go is just ahead.”
As I reflect on this experience of a new trail to hike to simply see some butterflies and experience some fresh air I can’t help but sense God gentle whisper, much like the flutter of a butterflies, as they gently moved past me on the path; “Keep walking. Come this way. Where you seek to go is just ahead.”
As we go into what is predicted to be the hardest week thus far I am reminded of the similar words He speaks in His word “Come to me, all who labor and heavy laded, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn form me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Keep walking down the path, not only will he meet you along the way with gentle whispers of hope but remember you can trust that He is leading you is to a place of rest.