Thought for the Day: It was this week in 1806 that Lewis and Clark returned to St. Louis at the conclusion of their travels. They had been gone for more than two and a half years, and during that time there were many moments when it appeared they would not make it, though in the end, only one member of the expedition actually died during their travels. What must it have been like to return? I imagine it to be dramatic, like moving from one world into another. The new world (St. Louis and home) was in fact the old world, yet after being gone that long, it had to have felt unfamiliar and strange. In fact, Lewis struggled with depression in the years that followed. Returning to what was, even when we are longing for it, is often more difficult than imagined. For Esau and Jacob, the return was better than imagined, yet it was because these two men had changed so dramatically in their time apart. And though the reunion was joy-filled, the two families felt it was best if they went their own separate ways. This pandemic is changing us, whether we recognize it or not. Like Esau and Jacob, the change might be healthy, providing a needed perspective on life. For others, it is a daily struggle that has left them lost, angry and bitter. The path to the post-pandemic world will be more challenging than expected as people will have changed. They will emerge from this time having different priorities and values. I believe we will navigate it, but be mindful that the change in you may not necessarily match the change in someone else. There is going to be a required time of reorientation, a time to explore the old world which will be a new and unfamiliar world in many ways.
Prayer: Teach me, O Lord, to be more gracious. Give me a heart that appreciates how this pandemic has impacted people differently. Change is not necessarily good or bad, sometimes it just is. Allow my spirit to be patient as I grow to recognize the change within myself and others. Amen.
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