This morning the bible app on my phone sent me Matthew 6:34:
“So don’t worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring its own worries.
Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
Staring at the screen I thought, “Huh. Well, I don’t have the capacity to worry any more this year anyway.”
Not exactly a great spiritual insight, but it’s where I’m at. Any space previously available for future worrying is simply filled up by today.
This is not for lack of worrying opportunity. 2020 has done it’s best to throw all of us in a tizzy. I’m not challenging the validity of fears we’ve experienced living through a worldwide pandemic, they just don’t belong to us heaped up together all at one time. Today has enough trouble of it’s own.
If there’s anything 2020 has been teaching us, it’s that we can throw predictability out the window. What will the world look like in six months? I don’t know. Six months ago I certainly didn’t see worldwide shut downs coming. Neither could I have guessed a surprise pregnancy during this pandemic would leave us displaced, unable to return to our overseas home.
Living overseas does tend to throw enough unpredictability at you on a regular basis that you gain a sense of the future not really belonging to you. Every year we face the possibility of losing our visas. Every summer friends and colleagues leave the field (including those I counted on staying forever). Every school year we face new challenges in meeting the academic needs of our children. Every month brings the possibility of changes in financial support. The list could go on and with time you learn to loosen your grip on the future and what you feel ‘should’ happen.
Still, despite all our familiarity with unknown futures, it’s easy to feel like 2020 is a push too far. We shouldn’t be experiencing loss of work, home, and connections. My children shouldn’t be suffering through mandatory isolation and social distancing. I shouldn’t be at risk for a potentially life threatening illness. My husband shouldn’t be experiencing loss of meaningful daily work.
Grief is an appropriate response, but as the months tick by I can’t help but wonder – Isn’t life just on loan to us anyway?
This brief existence, these few fleeting years, are all we have. This notion of life being temporary is exactly what lead us to live our lives the way we do in the first place. Life is precious, but it doesn’t occur decades at a time. Life only lends moments at a time, I only have today.
We may wrestle with the disappointment and sadness of our lost hopes for the future, but may that sadness not consume us into worry. May we not miss the time we have been given or lose sight of the treasures in front of us in this very moment.
I don’t know what the future will bring, but the future never really belonged to me anyway. I do have today, though. And today will bring enough worries of its own.