Epic Times -Just Ask Charles Dickens
April 9, 2020
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness,
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
— Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
Our normal day-to-day lives have been interrupted, delayed, postponed, or suspended.
It’s like watching a really great television series. The writers draw you into the drama, and week after week, you glue yourself to the tube to see the next plot twist. Then the season ends with a cliffhanger.
But in the meantime, you have that hour or so to spend doing other things. You have that ever-elusive time that we all search for, to spend with your family and friends.
It isn’t a lack of time. There are the same 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, 52 weeks a year there have always been. It is the way we have filled our time. We became technologically savvy, and that technology has drawn our attention away from one-on-one, face-to-face human interaction.
We text instead of calling, or we email instead of writing a letter. I’m guilty. It’s quicker and less small talk is involved. But here’s the thing: less small talk is also a lost opportunity to connect with one another. There is an art involved in small talk. Through small talk, if we listen, we learn little things about other people. The small talk becomes less forced, and you begin to have genuine conversations.
Email is the same. It is quick, easy, and generally straight to the point. Letters are personal. It is a glimpse into the soul. When a person hand writes a letter, they are giving you their time. They are sharing a part of their life with you.
Right now we are all struggling. Our routines have been thrown off track. Our days aren’t packed with activities from dawn to dusk. We aren’t rushing out the door in multiple directions to get our child to another baseball game, softball game, tumbling class, dance class, practice, or lesson. We are stressed, frustrated, and exhausted. We are worried about our tomorrows.
With the world now in a state of emergency, or maybe more accurately a state of distress, we have been forced to stop the daily chaos we created in our lives. And yes, I am one of those who spent years running from soccer to softball, to band, to football. I’m also the grandparent who has consistently suggested different after-school activities my grandkids should be participating in … but why?
When I was a child, our summers were filled with family trips to the lake or weekend gatherings with neighbors to play volleyball or softball. There were no age restrictions. Everybody played, and everybody had fun.
I did pack up to go spend a week with my grandparents.
They didn’t entertain me with trips to town or video games. The television was rarely turned on. Instead, we would work in the garden, can a few vegetables or even paint the house. But we also played board games, baked, cooked, and learned things only a grandparent could teach … our family history.
It IS the best of times as we all spend time with our families.
It IS the worst of times as we lose loved ones and can’t gather to grieve and console one another.
It IS the age of wisdom if we deem to listen to our elders. They probably know more about how to survive this than we think.
It IS the age of foolishness as so many still traipse off on trips without a care in the world.
It IS the time of belief as our churches share the word of God over the internet.
It IS the time of skepticism. We still search for the knowledge to help us understand all that is happening at this moment. We hear conflicting information daily.
It IS the season of light. It is the season of hope. Hope keeps us searching for the light at the end of the tunnel.
It IS the season of darkness. The darkness is overwhelming as we are bombarded daily with daunting statistics. But we cannot let the darkness win.
It IS the spring of hope. We each need to look for that glimmer of hope. My brother recently told me that even the darkest storm cloud has a silver lining. We just have to look for it.
It WAS the winter of despair. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says, “We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed, always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our body.”
As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, remember He is the eternal hope for us all. Stay well, my friends.