“Now, listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend an year there carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” ~James 4:13-15
I know I posted this on my birthday but I’ve been thinking about it a lot this week.
Pre-corona, Jane, Mommy, and I were headed to Milford, New Hampshire for Bluebird to participate in the New England Inspirational Dance Collective hosted by my good friend, Robyn and her company Saving Grace. I was going to teach a master class and we had two pieces to perform in the culminating performance — a super cute premiere with prop chairs, swishy skirts + pointe shoes, and Ella Fitzgerald as well as our classic Beautiful Things. After that, Mommy and I were going to spend some time in NYC visiting my brother and sister-in-law, taking classes (me, not Mommy), scoping out a potential venue for a future show, and exploring like BFF adventure buddies do.
Needless to say, no one performed this weekend. Am I bummed? Of course! And if I’m honest, as a dancer, I get really sad thinking about the prospect of no performances (or at least performances like we’re used to) in the near future. It’s finally sinking it that life as we knew it, is no more.
I’m learning a few things.
It’s ok to grieve. From hangouts with friends to church gatherings to celebrating life milestones to jobs, we’ve all sustained significant loss over the past few weeks. I tend to either stuff my feelings down or rush past them to charge ahead and be a problem solver and move forward. But I’m recognizing that it’s ok to admit that “I really wanted to have that experience” or “I was excited about those plans.” And it’s ok to be sad about it; the feelings of loss are valid.
Yet, going back to the scripture in James, I’m also reminded that we serve an omniscient God. He’s ordained our days in eternity before we were even thought of. And if we believe that He is sovereign, then maybe we weren’t supposed to experience those things in the first place. We only have this current moment we find ourselves in—the future is not guaranteed — and maybe, just maybe, we’re exactly where He needs us to be.
On the flip side of things, we should also look at where we are going. How can we steward this time well? What can we cultivate now, that will only help us down the road? There’s a lot of discussion floating around the internet right now about the American addiction to productivity and inability to slow down — not quite talking about that (another discussion for another day). I’m thinking not just physically but spiritually. A friend of mine sent me the fruits of the Spirit the other day with a prayer to “tune into the frequency of holiness” (thanks, Hannah! You rock!). We can cultivate kindness, loving others, patience (oh patience, why art thou so hard?), good habits, regular words of encouragement, practicing joy, proclaiming hope and peace, gentleness, self-control (ooh, big one on so many fronts), and so much more.
Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom, Lord ~Psalm 90:12
Lastly, I’ve been praying and thinking about what it means to lead well in this time. Brainstorming ways for Bluebird Uncaged to continue to bring hope and dignity through dance when our previous business models have been absolutely blown out of the water (and most likely shattered for the next 12-18 months). On one hand, it’s scary but on the other, it’s refreshingly freeing. It’s forcing creativity, it’s forging a stronger community (check out this video collab we just released!) and facilitating more connections. I’m excitedly terrified to take some faith steps. (Would love your prayers).
“Everything’s just so weird,” Caleb and I keep saying to each other. Unprecedented is the fancy name for it, I gather. Yes, it’s weird, it’s unprecedented — but none of it is a surprise to God.
What are you grieving? What are you going to cultivate? How are you going to lead well? What are some faith-steps you need to courageously take?
May we trust Him. Let us grieve what might have been but not remain stuck there. Let us also gather the strength to pick up the pieces to move forward. Lord, give us the wisdom to make the most of every opportunity (Eph. 5:15,16) and let us cultivate goodness for the future. We trust you. Be glorified.