Last week, I finally took on the task of clearing my desk. In general, I am a “stacks” kind of person when it comes to organization. I stack papers on my desk when I am done with them. The stacks can get quite large, but I also know enough about the stacks that I can find papers if I need them. Eventually, when the stacks get a little too big, I take a day and go through the whole assortment of stacks, tossing things or filing them when necessary. But even though I love the satisfaction of the clean desk, the stack method is never really eliminated.
My periodic purging of the stacks normally works fine. But when you’ve been through eighteen months of a pandemic and were super busy before the pandemic hit, let’s just say my stacks had gotten taller than my head when I was seated at my desk. Because I had precious little time in the office in the last eighteen months, giving up a whole day or at least half a day purging seemed like a luxury I could not afford. And so, week after week, I would promise myself, “Maybe next week…”
Sometimes, I think our relationship with God is a lot like that – especially during this pandemic. Maybe we have prayer books we like, devotionals on our nightstand, or even a little prayer station at home with items like prayer beads or inspirational photos or trinkets. But the survival patterns we have developed during this pandemic have meant the normal things that helped us feel close to God – the physical things or even the people from church we have not seen in eighteen months – have been absent for too long. Maybe we have even made those same promises to ourselves, “Maybe next week…”
I wonder what that “thing” is for you: What have you been putting off during this pandemic because you could not let it be a priority like it once was? Maybe it has been taking care of yourself physically or emotionally, maybe it has been caring for others in ways that bring you joy, or maybe it has been connecting to a church community. Whatever the “thing” is for you, maybe this week is the week when you take a deep breath, drop the things that have seemed essential until now, and give yourself a moment to take care of yourself – in ways that maybe seem luxurious, but in the end, might just be sacred necessities.