We call something that happens at an appointed time an appointment. We put it on our calendar and we plan our lives around it. Sometimes our calendars get so filled up with our appointed times we have little room for things that are not appointed. Our culture is okay with this because we all live this way; from activity to activity and event to event.
Our appointed times take up so much of our lives, our friends now send Save-the-Date cards months before an event, so we can appoint the time for it. Weddings, graduations, proms, reunions, parties, trips, games, sporting events, concerts, shows, and performances are among the events we appoint a time to. They are important. Each takes tremendous time and effort to plan. Each takes working with logistics, details, vendors, venues. Some take months of practice, rehearsals and in the case of graduations, years of classwork, to make them happen. They are worth the slot they hold on our calendars.
When something monumental happens and our appointed times are cancelled we are filled with dis-appointment. All the work. All the effort. All the planning. Down the drain, or so it feels. Our hearts are broken at the wasted time…months if not years, just vanish in an instant. We lose every bit of ourselves we put into the appointment. It’s like a big empty space in our lives. Those little words on the calendar don’t compare to the huge hole in our heart.
Emotions rise up declaring, ‘It’s Unfair!’, which it is. They scream ‘This is not right!’ and it is not. They cry out, ‘Are you kidding, me?’ and we are not. The tears roll uncontrollably. Eyes get puffy and noses run. The heartbreak is significant. The grief is real…and deep. Sorrow comes in like a flood. Between feeling outrage that this could really be happening, and despair that it is, the loss is palpable. It is a tangible feeling with a life of its own, apart from us.
The enormity of so many appointed times being cancelled at once only adds to the trauma. Acknowledging the pain is critical. Allowing the feelings is vital to our mental health. But when we add the questions in this Corona Virus circumstance and it makes our current situation frustrating beyond what we can bear. Is all this really necessary? What if we are overreacting? Should I have my event anyway? What if it is really as bad as they say? What if someone gets a disease or dies because of my decisions? Can I live with that?
All of it is spirit crushing. Dis-appointment can suck the life from us. This weariness which is mixed up with the unknown makes the pressure bearing down on us a heavy weight sitting in the middle of our chests. The suddenness of it all rivals 9-11 or Pearl Harbor. One day life is one way, and the next, the world is in chaos.
But the good news in this unprecedented crisis, is we are all in it together. We are experiencing corporate dis-appointment. The wedding that hangs in the balance in my family, is as hard as the show you had to cancel. The graduation that might not happen for me, is much like the yearlong mission trip that got cut short for you. We share the pain and heartache. We can show empathy for one another and support one another because we really do know how each other feels.
It is not unlike the older generation sacrificing their appointed times to go to war. Life interrupted. Young men leaving education or careers to serve their country. Young women working in factories. It was a shared effort, but also shared dis-appointment. Pain was involved, things didn’t go as planned. The whole country came together and it bonded them. It made them strong.
The current generations haven’t been tested like previous ones. The ability of the younger generation to be resilient has been questioned, but it is events like this one that create that ability. Our generation hasn’t had a whole lot more practice than theirs in recent years, so our ability to lead through a crisis is being tested as well. We are all in the midst of major dis-appointment. Our ability to rise from the ashes is being formed. Hard things lead to strength of character.
On the other side of this crisis, when we look back on history, this will be a defining moment. It will be another before/after time marker. We will be able to say remember during the Corona Pandemic when we had to put aside all our appointed times? Remember our dis-appointment? Remember how we came together and sacrificed all our calendars for the greater good? We will be able to answer those questions and be stronger for it.
We ask for your intervention in this crisis. We ask for your healing for our hearts as we give up our appointed times. Help us to know that our appointments were not yours. This is not a surprise to you. You have known from the beginning this was coming and so we trust you with the details. We lay our dis-appointments at your feet. Help us to use our hurt to support one another with empathy. Give us your eyes to see the new opportunities you are placing before us. We know you have not given us a spirit of fear. We know your love casts out fear. We know you are the God of hope. Your ways are not our ways. You are moving even in this crisis. We cannot see it now, but you are always moving in our midst. You are above the storm and so we trust you. Even when we are dis-appointed, in Jesus’s name amen.