How's your quarantine going? Today was the day to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and we all got to celebrate just like the disciples did on that first Easter - huddled together inside our houses! OK, probably not huddled. But, certainly not gathered at our places of worship spreading coronavirus to all our friends and neighbors. (And if you were, please don't tell me about it!)
Patrick and I are watching tons of TV and movies during this quarantine. We've been watching The Handmaid's Tale in the evening. Wow. That makes the quarantine look like a walk in the park. Talk about dystopia.
This weekend, we watched the entire Lord of the Rings extended version. Maybe later in the summer, if we get stuck inside with summer storms or something, we'll watch it again with commentary. I love the commentaries!! My pastor asked on Facebook if they held up over the years, and they really did!! The special effects were so well done that there were only a couple that looked out of place. And, even though Patrick and I have watched all of "The Making Of" and the commentaries, the movies are still so enjoyable.
I realized something interesting today. I cried at the end of the movie. OK, that wasn't new; I always cry at the end of this trilogy. But, it has a happy ending, right? The main plot is to destroy the Ring, and they do that. So, it has a happy ending. Yet, there is so much sadness. And that adds to the richness of the story. A monotone happy story is bland because it's not real. Tolkein (and the screenwriters) let us feel that there is real evil in the world and that Frodo can no longer bear life in Middle-Earth because of his experience with the Nazgul (the Witch-King of Angmar).
When I read scripture when I was younger, I tended to skip over some of the hard stuff like Job, Lamentations, Jeremiah, but I've learned that those books have some of the best stuff in scripture. They are very sad. Job says some really rotten stuff to God. But it's there. It's real. And, God then answers Job. Granted, God says, "Where were you when I created the world?" But, it's an answer.
When I first quit work because of chronic migraine, it took me a while to learn how to lament and that God honors lament. He's OK with us crying out to him in our pain. It's all right there in the Bible. But, then Jesus walks with us through that pain. It may never go away, but we have comfort.
We're living through a really hard time in our country. It's not nearly as hard as places like Ecuador (seriously, Google coronavirus in Ecuador - you'll be on your knees thanking God that you're here, also, consider donating to an international charity), but it's harder than we've lived through in a long time. People have income insecurity. And people who are working are concerned about virus exposure.
And we are all dealing with the internal stress of not knowing when things will go back to normal. And will we have "normal" again?
And that's where the Lord of the Rings and stuff in the Bible comes in. (Yes, I do have a point!) Life is not good right now.
This is the time that I like to read Lamentations. But, in the middle of Lamentations, there's this gem:
Lamentations 3:22-24 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
When we're about to give up and think the end is near, maybe it's not. The love of the Lord never fails.
But, there's also always some good. Spend some time lamenting with Job, but then try the Gospels and be reminded of how much Jesus loves you and wants to walk with you. Or 1John and read about love.
Yes, we're in a pandemic. Yes, it's snowing outside (in April!). But, I'm knitting a lovely shawl. Patrick is doing some nice carving. We're working on a puzzle with Minh. It's not all doom and gloom.
What are you doing to pass the time during quarantine?