How the Pandemic Has Taught Us to Play

For over a year now, the world has been more topsy-turvy than usual. In addition to wars, famine, ethnic cleansing and political turmoil, we’ve all had a pandemic to face together. We’ve been told to stay inside, don’t visit your friends or family, wash your hands. And we haven’t even gotten to see people’s faces behind those masks! It’s been a year of isolation, depression and uncertainty.

Many people here in our little Oklahoma town lost their jobs or worked from home. Students at the local college were forced to stay in their tiny dorm rooms; some could no longer afford their dorms, so they had to go home or sleep on friends’ couches. The streets of our town were quieter. Churches shut down or streamed online services.

But God blessed us with some of the most beautiful weather I can ever remember witnessing in Oklahoma. And people went outside.

We live near the city park. As I worked from home each day, I looked out the window and saw folks outdoors. People walked. People ran. People gave each other six feet of distance on the path, but waved or loudly greeted one another. People watched birds. People had picnics.

As spring danced through the trees and breathed on the earth, people were outdoors to get caught up in her magic. As summer unfurled her banner in a riot of hot, golden color, people went outside to witness it. As fall shyly painted the leaves in vivid autumnal shades, people watched her at work. As winter crafted a record snowfall, people plowed through the drifts to build snowmen.

We’ve fooled ourselves by thinking we have conquered Nature. We live in our air-conditioned houses, work in our sealed-up offices, and drive in our comfortable cars. It’s possible to stay out of the weather for days on end. But when we grow sick of our houses – when we have no office to go to – when there is nowhere to drive – God reminds us of one of His greatest resources: Nature.

“I’m bored, Mom.” “Then go play outside.”
“Gym’s closed… I think I’ll go for a run.”
“Let’s grab some food and sit at a picnic table.”
“I harvested the first veggie from my garden!”
“We got 10,000 steps today at the park!”
“Did you see that bird?”

Yes, the pandemic has made the world more topsy-turvy than usual. It has taken lives and changed many others. As churches tentatively meet again or continue to stream online, congregations pray for healing in the world. Everyone wonders what will come next.

It has been one year. Once again, spring is stretching her legs to begin the dance of life. Because of the pandemic, people have discovered the joy of watching Nature at her work. The pandemic has taught us how to play.

Will we continue playing this year, and the next, and the year after that? I pray it will be so.

Author: The Random Mind

In order of importance: The Lord Jesus Christ gave me life and a song. The English degree got me joy and a job. The tickle to write galvanized this weird blog.

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