As teenagers, my two sons' bedrooms were in the basement where they had their own rec room complete with the current video game consoles, ping pong table, pool table and a bathroom. It was the Pre-Man Cave. They were adventurous lads and enjoyed many outdoor activities. One of their favorites was fishing. They could ride their bikes to a nearby creek and fish to their hearts' content.
One day as I was going about the never-ending tasks of motherhood, I passed by their bathroom and caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye. There was something in the bathtub. Something unexpected. Something long -- and brown -- and floating in the bathtub. The variety and intensity of thoughts racing through my mind at that time was as impressive as it was imaginative. OMG doesn't even come close. What the . . .? Who . . .? Why . . .? How . . .? Surely not . . . !
After several totally appropriate shrieks, I entered the bathroom with both rage and fear. Then it started moving!! Holy ****!! It was a FISH! The boys had caught a brown trout and had been keeping it alive in their bathtub for days! Be still, my beating heart. No, seriously. Be still. God tests us in a myriad of mysterious ways, but does it have to include cardiac arrest? Needless to say, "Brownie" was dispatched forthwith and returned to his natural habitat. The tub was cleaned to medical laboratory specifications, and life returned to normal. New rules were added to the list and future behaviors were adjusted accordingly.
At St. Theodore’s we have had to adapt to a new reality. We expected to be interviewing numerous candidates for Rector by now. We expected to be preparing for new Sunday School classes. We expected to be looking forward to the parish picnic. We expected to be worshiping in our sanctuary every Sunday. None of that is happening. We are all disappointed.
We have had to move to an online only service to be able to worship “together” at all. Last Sunday, after many weeks of researching, purchasing, installing and testing new audio/visual equipment designed to improve our online experience, something unexpected happened and we had no sound for the broadcast. We could have given up at that point and cried “uncle”. Instead, everyone paused, Chris Schaefer grabbed her phone and began broadcasting. Colleen Whitney tried her best to determine the source of the problem, and Jeff Goodrich rushed to the church to see if he could help. The viewing audience offered words of encouragement and Fr. Lowell continued to bring us The Good News. No one formed a committee to study the problem and offer a schematic for dealing with it. Everyone just jumped in a got busy working on a solution with all the abilities they had to offer. We adapted, adjusted and moved forward.
Unexpected things happen to us all the time. Some are more humorous than others. Sometimes they really throw us for a loop. Our reaction to unforeseen developments says a lot about us. The ability to regroup, reevaluate and respond is a blessing. Darwin tells us that the survival of a species is determined in large part by its ability to adapt to a changing environment. Resilience is one of the most important indicators of a child’s likelihood to succeed in life. We can’t control the circumstances around us but we can control our reaction to them.
Like it or not, we have all learned new methods of resilience as we navigate the uncharted waters in which we find ourselves these days. Patience and tolerance are two of the most valuable commodities in today’s world yet at times, they appear to be in short supply. Adaptation requires both while we learn what is different now and how to respond appropriately.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.
We have been made more than conquerors and that is how and why we overcome the unexpected when it comes our way.
As children of God, we roll up our sleeves and get busy. We adapt. We adjust. We create a “new normal” and we praise God that we have the resilience, given by Him, to keeping moving forward.