We are inclined to think that everything that happens is to be turned into useful teaching. In actual fact, it is to be turned into something even better than teaching, namely, character. The mountaintop is not meant to teach us anything, it is meant to make us something.Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For HIs HIghest. October 1 – The Place of Exaltation
So, Lord, what is the purpose of all this?Me
If you, like me, are someone who believes in purpose, who believes that things happen for a reason, who believes there is meaning and order in a seemingly random and chaotic universe, you have to be asking yourself, or God, or someone or something else, or the universe itself, what the meaning of 2020 is. What is the purpose? What does it mean for you? And what is it telling you to do?
2000 feels like a call for change, not just national change or policy changes, but personal change, as well. There is no better time for stability and normalcy. Fair enough. But, there also is not a better time for change, to change jobs, addresses, mindset, habits, behaviors, to stop and really look at your life and yourself and alter your course. 2020 feels like the year I should have changed everything. It feels like, perhaps, the most pivotal period in my life. If i am still where I am today, five years from now, I will have missed on, and messed up, the greatest opportunity in my life. That is how it feels.
Now. Now is the time for change.
But, this quote from Oswald Chambers, this lesson, this message he received from God, tells me something else. From God’s perspective, the point of the coronavirus, quarantine, shutdown, economic upheaval, massive unavoidable, unstoppable change, is not to teach me anything. It is not meant to be given meaning, to be turned into a lesson, a blog post, to be turned into something useful for other people, to help them in our time of need. It is meant to be turned into character. It is meant to “make us something”, not teach us something, to shape our mental and moral qualities.
The coronavirus, unemployment, social isolation, are forces shaping us, throwing small and large hardships hardship into our privileged lives, giving us the opportunity to become more resourceful, compassionate, and, maybe, to rely on God.
We aren’t only meant to learn something – about other people, about ourselves – from 2020. We are also meant to become something in, and because of, 2020.
Everything touches and shapes us: birth, death, love, loss, success, failure, unemployment, pandemic. Am I being who I want me to be? Or am I using the upheavals and struggles of 2020 as an excuse to justify my worst impulses and behaviors ?