Issue 267 - Two Years Away
April 2022
We are two years away from the attack of a global pandemic. We reflect on how these past two years changed our lives and we suggest planning for the next two years.
Most people don’t need to be reminded that their lives have changed in multiple significant ways during the previous two years. Never would we have imagined that a medieval-style plague would thwart the plans held by citizens and nations alike. National lockdown ordered more than 2 years ago was the immediate stoppage of life as it used to be.

Since Spring of 2020, many of us have gotten used to a new way of life. Things have changed from suited-up in a corporate office to casual attire at-home officing; from socialization to isolation, from worshiping in a welcoming church to watching screens of rituals at a distance. For some, going to parties changed to attending funerals. Children were schooled differently. Some children were homed differently, recently orphaned by loss of parents from Covid.

An article in this week’s newspaper Living section, titled “Pandemic Updates Change the Way People Think of Home” made me realize that for many, if not most, home is different these days than it used to be. Updating is a good idea.

What needs to change in my environment? What do I want my life to look like in two years? Where do I want to be in two years? Unlike the March 2020 lockdown, we have the chance to look ahead to the next two years to consider new updates. Of course nothing is for certain, except that we can’t go back to 2019.

This Spring is a good time to think about newness, about making changes and adaptations to not only our physical home, but the home where our heart is. What changes can I make in my inner way of being to become more faithful, more hopeful, and more loving? Then, how can I reach out, to update my relationships that have been strained for two years? Can I call or visit or have coffee with someone who has been homebound?

Can I make changes, say, to remodel my soul and deepen my relationship with God? That might be a two-year update project full of surprises, peace, and joy.
--by Jan
Numbering Our Days
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12, RSV).

In the two years since the pandemic struck, plans have been disrupted, people I knew have died, and I have reached my seventies. These days, these months, these years have been marked by waiting and by worrying. I’m not so sure about wisdom.

Waiting. There has been so much waiting: waiting for vaccines to be developed, waiting for test results, waiting for the next shoe to drop. Waiting – Do we simply postpone the planned trip, or do we cancel? Ready to go out to eat this week? Let’s check the case numbers; no, not yet, maybe next month.

Yes, we have worried. Every cough or sneeze raises anxiety. Before we were vaccinated, every trip to the store prompted an assessment of risk and reward.
Waiting. Worry. And weariness. I am so, so tired of all this. I feel like I have become a more timid person, always hesitant, always thinking of excuses not to do something.

Of course, there has still been beauty and joy in these years. I took a wonderful trip to the Pacific Northwest last September, seeing great natural beauty while re-connecting with family and friends. I have served rewarding part-time interim ministries with two congregations. With our mortgage re-financed and an increase in my pension, I am more secure financially than at the start of the pandemic.

And yet: waiting, worry and weariness. These clouds never seem to go away. The psalmist prays that an awareness of our own mortality – of the limited number of our days – would lead us to wisdom. May that indeed be so. May I greet each day as a gift to be treasured. May I savor each bite of food, each breath of air. And may I not live in fear, but walk by faith.

Another translation of that Psalm reads “Teach us to make use of our days and bring wisdom to our hearts” [ICEL]. That is my vow, as I face the coming years.
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Bill Howden and Jan Davis
Soul Windows Ministries