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Not the same
Amber Albee Swenson
by Amber Albee Swenson
June 1, 2020

Since 2013, I’ve worked as an elderly companion. While caring for my first client, I met a lively British lady who lived through WWII. She never forgot the air raids—diving into the bomb shelters, running through the streets, the terror of not knowing when the next attack might come. It changed her.

Every generation has catastrophic events that change those who live through them. The question is: How will I be different on the other side of this?

I don’t want to go back to the way things were because in the last few months, I’ve seen myself and my family in a whole new light. We have idols, are selfish, justify our bad behavior instead of dealing with it, and have filled our lives so full of activity we neglect the basic maintenance our house and yard require. When the frantic routine we’d grown accustomed to came to a halt, we began to deal with all of it. Several months in, we still have a ways to go.

The craziness of the last months has shed light not just on the bad but on the good. Kindness goes a long way. It showed up when a neighbor delivered tulips in an Easter snowstorm, when a friend left a box of food on our steps, when a neighbor texted every time she went to the store to see if she could pick something up for us. It appeared as the friend who calmed my craziness and in the myriad of emails and texts from friends asking about my husband as he worked on the front lines.

We’ve found for the first time in our lives that church is not a building, and we can worship anywhere and anytime. We’ve discovered voices other than the voices we heard week after week as we’ve searched and found messages of hope and truth in the storm.

And in the chaos of the pandemic, we’ve found ways to keep in touch with people we love. We’ve moved to opposite ends of the deck, put chairs in a wide circle in the driveway, Zoomed and FaceTimed and remembered we’re made for relationship and determined we wouldn’t take our friends and family for granted when given the chance to be together again.

And maybe the greatest lesson I’ve learned is that we’re all in different places. The restrictions, the isolation, the virus affect all of us differently. Some have worked harder than they’ve ever worked before, while some haven’t worked since all this began. Some have stocked up on food, while others can’t buy food until the check comes in. Some are well versed in technology and are breezing through this, while others feel more left behind than ever before. Love is meeting people where they are.

Only looking back will we see how COVID changed us and the way we viewed the world. What have you learned? How have you changed? What will you do to make sure the lessons you’ve learned aren’t pushed under the rug in the days, weeks, and months ahead?