Clearing Away the Debris and Starting Something New
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and –streams in the wasteland. [Isaiah 43:19]
I have been passing by a new condo development on my run each morning for the past few weeks. What was once an overgrown meadow has been cleared of brush, leveled, and filled with gravel. An elevator shaft now sands off to one side towering approximately 8 stories high but other than that there does not seem to be much real construction happening on the property – yet.
Growing up I took part in my share of construction projects. My dad is a do it yourself kind of guy. When I was four years old, he built the house I grew up in. When I was ten, he built a barn. We were always building something. It often seemed as though our entire life was one big construction project.
At the start of anything new there is always a phase of preparation that involves demolition and clean up. It might not seem like much is happening in this phase, it might even seem like you are moving away from positive change. But clearing away the old, used up or broken bits it a critical part of creation, you have to clear the pallet so the speak, for something new to rise in its place.
This past month has felt a lot like the preparation phase for a big construction project. We are being forced to clear away the unproductive, unimportant and unnecessary bits of life. It has been painful for many. Some, who work in secondary and tertiary industries may never fully recover. But through it all we have been reminded of what really matters. We have gained a new appreciation for emergency services, medical professionals, consumer staples, transportation infrastructure, farmers, and the entire food supply chain. Our forced isolation has also reminded us of the importance of family and community.
Isaiah 43, which I quoted to start this post is not a happy chapter of the bible. It was written to rebellious people, soon to be exiled from their land as punishment for their sins. But regardless of the dire circumstances these folks would soon find themselves in, the tone is one of hope and renewal. Even in the wilderness God makes a way.
I am not saying that COVID19 is punishment for sin. I am not qualified to make such a statement and even if I were, it would not be helpful. The apostle Paul said that our fight is against bad ideas, (Ephesians 6:12) not each other, pointing fingers and talking about sin at a time like this is an extremely bad idea.
What I am saying is that as we rebuild from this time, we have been given an incredible opportunity to reset our priorities and right some wrongs of the past, prioritize the things that matter, family, community and the core requirements of a healthy and sustainable life.
Much of what we are seeing in the news and online today is generating fear and judgement. That is not helpful, and it is not the voice of God. Mr. Rogers once responded to a child in his audience who had questions about scary things with the gentle reminder, “look for the helpers”. In these challenging times we would all do well to not only look for the helpers but to look for opportunities to be one. One of my weekly motivational goals is to give something back. Whether that is as simple is donating a few dollars to the children’s hospital, buying a few extra groceries for the food bank or something else on a grander scale, everyone can be a helper.
Our post COVID19 world is under construction. Let us build something we can be proud of. Take a minute right now to think about how you can contribute and let me know in the comments. I would love to hear about it.