With COIVD-related restrictions and choices an omnipresent reality of the 2020 holiday season, it’s easy to become frustrated by how abnormal everything is this year. While it’s true that things look different this year, I want to encourage you that this is not how Christmas, or any other holiday, will look forever more. Remember that this current state is indeed temporary. Before we know it, we will be celebrating holidays with family and friends again.
My pastor signs all his emails with a phrase that I think is especially fitting for this year, “Believing the best is yet to come”. I think that true. We only have to be willing to cast our gaze beyond what’s happening today.
I’m currently reading a book about the SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft. It was developed in the 60s and was way ahead of its time, with regards to engineering and performance. This plane could travel at altitudes of 80,000 feet with a speed greater than Mach 3 (3X the speed of sound). Were it in service today, it would still be ahead of it’s time and considered futuristic.
As I was reading a chapter last night about the people involved in the design stage of the SR-71, I was impressed how all these people came together and gave the best of their abilities to bring this aircraft from an idea to a reality. The technology to build an SR-71 didn’t exist, so they had to figure it out as they went. When you consider all the obstacles, it’s an amazing feat that the SR-71 became a reality.
Imagine if the members of this group didn’t give the best they were capable of. Suppose people on the team just gave minimal effort that was far below their intellectual capacity. If that were the case, the SR-71 would have fallen far short of the requirements presented to the team. Even more likely, this project would have been canceled and considered an impossible feat, if not an outright failure. The difference was the people on the team collectively gave their best.
While we my not be part of a team designing supersonic reconnaissance aircraft, we are all a part of some team where we have an opportunity to give our best effort. That team may consist of a family, a group of co-workers, a band, a sports team, or any other group of people brought together to achieve a common goal. Regardless of the type of team we’re on, the members of the team counting on us to give our best. In my opinion, if we’re willing to be on a team, we should also be willing to bring the best effort we’re capable of.
So why should we bother to bring our best effort? There a several good answers to this question, but for me, there is one reason that stands above all others. During the Christmas season, I’m again reminded that God gave His best for me in his son Jesus. Out of gratitude, how could I offer anything less than my best back to Him?
“But look at you, with the gift of memory. You can time travel to the good stuff just by closing your eyes & breathing.” Lin-Manuel Miranda – “Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You”
I’m amazed at the number of memories each of us can carry between our ears. What’s more amazing, is how quickly we can recall our favorite memories. Within nanoseconds, we can be transported to an event, a person, or a place in time. Lin-Manuel is right, our memories are indeed a form of time travel.
I think the recalling of memories is best done in the in the company of others with the same shared experience. To time travel with others via fond memories is a great blessing. The only thing more pleasing than recalling fond memories, is creating what will become fond memories with others.
Let’s make sure that as we’re traveling through life, were constantly doing both: recalling our fondest memories in the company of others, and creating some new ones as well.
Last week my wife and I spent some time at the beach in Bandon Oregon. The weather was unseasonably sunny warm for the Oregon coast in late November. It was beautiful!
While in Bandon, we spent a lot of time walking on the beach. One thing to be mindful of at the beach is the tide. When the tide is out, there is so much to see and so much more beach available to walk on. However, when the tide comes in, what’s available to explore and the volume of beach to walk on is significantly diminished. We experienced that during high tide, when parts of the shoreline we walked during low tide were no longer accessible once the tide came in. Not to worry. We simply looked at our options, adjusted our high-tide walk and had a great time.
Our experience with the tides in Bandon made me think how we often have high tides in our lives; when things change and what was once a normal part of our life is no longer available. Sometimes these high tides are expected. Other times they’re not. Regardless, we get to choose how we respond to them. We can be angry and complain about what’s not available, or we can look with gratitude at what we still have available to us, make adjustments, and move forward.
That’s great news, because even when the tide comes in (as my recent walk on the beach reminded me) there are still plenty of options available to us. We just need to see them.