Ever had a cancelled flight? A long layover? A 20+ hour journey home?
As you sit on the hard bench with the “ding-dong” sound of flight numbers being announced and passengers who are MIA, you watch the clock tick. The hands move slowly, too slowly. You might wander aimlessly though the shops, picking up things you can’t afford or purchasing things you don’t need to pass the time. All the while, you think of how nice it would be to have a hot shower at home and wash you hair instead of emptying a can of dry shampoo on your greasy head. You sip at a cup of tea in a paper cup, longing to hold your favourite mug in your hands instead and not have a lingering aftertaste of wet cardboard. You look at yourself in the airport bathroom mirror, brushing your teeth as someone flushes the toilet and the other person walks out at last and wish you could pop your toothbrush in the cup at home and not back in your toiletry bag. As you try to change out of your dirty clothes without touching anything in the toilet cubicle, you wish you could be throwing the dirty ones in the washing basket instead of stuffing them into a back pack. And instead of trying to sleep on a metal bench between flights in a noisy, overstimulating airport, you’d kill to be between your sheets in the dark, listening to crickets chirp instead of trolleys rattling past and airport announcements over the loud speaker.
You long for home. Normality. Comfort. Familiar surroundings. A place to relax rather than be on edge.
Last year felt like I was living in limbo. Waiting. On edge. Out of my comfort zone. Worried. Longing for a lift in restrictions. A decline in cases. A vaccine. The end.
At first it was fun. A world of families reconnecting. A time to slow down. Get to the deep cleaning and hobbies. Bake. Make memories.
And then the charm began to wane. Back-to-back Zoom meetings. Internet dropping mid meeting. Load shedding back. Calls dropping. Online school. WiFi cap running out.
And then it became frustrating. Annoying. Infuriating. We started to bicker. We threw caution to the wind. We were angry with people who obeyed the law or disregarded the law.
And there came a point where each one of us longed for normal. For our old lives back. For the days of braais and hugs. The days of kisses on the cheek. The days when we could go to concerts. The days where it didn’t take 5 minutes to enter a shopping centre. The days where we could have birthday parties. When our kids could share chips out of the same bowl at a party. Where we could go back to church and sit next to our friend. The days we could hold someone who cried and wiped their face while being in our arms.
If you were me, you longed for the end of the year. Because, maybe, like me, you hoped it would all be over. That we’d have weathered the storm. If you were like me, you longed for the vaccine. You wanted to press ‘fast forward’ to the day when everything would be ‘normal’ again. Christmas came and with it, a feeling of loss and disbelief. Disbelief that the year was over already when we had lived so much of it in limbo, waiting out the waves. Loss at the weddings missed, the holidays cancelled, the family far away we hadn’t seen and the loss of year. When the clocked ticked over to 00:01am on the 1st of January 2021, we all gladly turned our back on the chaos of 2020 and looked forward to a year of vaccines and relief.
With the hope of a new year and an imminent roll out of vaccines, we became hopeful. But then we felt crest-fallen when the vaccine that was supposed to roll out was packed up before it was even unpacked. Then the new vaccine arrived. People we knew started to get it. Then we heard the third wave would hit us 3 months earlier than expected. And so the rollercoaster began. Another year. Another period of uncertainty. Another year of lockdown levels fluctuating. Another year of plans made, plans changed and plans cancelled.
I find myself, yet again, in a state of wishing it were all over, tempted to hit ‘fast forward’ again. Wondering if it will ever end. If there will be a day when we can shake hands, sing with no masks in church, rub shoulders with someone on a couch at a dinner party and go to a show where a crowd is pressed close to the stage all together.
2020 felt like a year of waiting. A year of uncertainty and discomfort. I felt like a cloud hung over me during my waking hours and consumed me. I longed for a time when we forgot about Covid. A time when masks gathered dust or ended up in a rubbish bin. I am tired of living in limbo.
We met as a Bible study a week ago. We watched a Bible Project video and I realised that this is what God’s people had been doing all along. Sure, it was hectic then and now is mild in comparison to their struggles. But they had often been in a strange place. A land not their own where customs changed. Where lifestyle changed. Where home wasn’t home anymore. When they lived in uncertainty, longing for ‘normal.’ As the video progressed, two things became clear to me.
1. Learn to Live Again
None of us could have predicted how long the pandemic would last and we don’t know how long we’ll have to live with it around. We have to embrace the time we have rather than waiting for what was once ‘normal’ to be normal again. Things may never go back to the way they were before. We have to learn to live with this in our midst. We have to adapt. We have to live as if this will be the new ‘normal’ and embrace it. Live each day without waiting for the next. Enjoy each day. Still live to the glory of God. Wake up and thank Him for a new day to love and be loved. Live this new lifestyle. Archive the old ‘normal’ as history and learn to live again knowing that we’re not in limbo. This is it. This is our life. The new ‘normal.’
2. We are Foreigners
“They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland.
This is how we should view life on this earth. It is part of the journey. It is not the destination. This is not the be all and end all of our lives. There is more. This is not our home. We should not settle down. We should know that this is temporal and we should live longing for home with Him.
We need to be “in the world”. Live and enjoy the time God has gifted us – not wishing it away. The time is now!
We need to be “not of the world,” looking forward to an eternity in a place of perfection where there is a forever comfort with no tears, no disease and no death. Just glorious, eternal life in our true home.
Photo Credit: Jan VašekTags: 2020, 2021, airport, comfort, coronavirus, covid, covid_19, discomfort, frustration, God, home, hope, life, limbo, live, normal, normality, trust, unsettled