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I must admit, my present-day picture seems less than ideal, and, right now, my real life does not resemble a Norman Rockwell painting. Frankly, it’s easy to regard my current situation as one that must be endured, rather than lived. I’ve heard Covid-19 described as this generation’s defining moment and I have to admit we’ve had a pretty cushy go of it up to this point.
Norman Rockwell actually lived through the Spanish Influenza of 1918, as well as, WWI, WWII and Vietnam. He, like many of our grandparents, lived through hard times and continued on.
In 1916, the 22-year-old Rockwell painted his first cover for The Saturday Evening Post, the magazine considered by Rockwell to be the “greatest show window in America.” Over the next 47 years, another 321 Rockwell covers would appear on the cover of the Post.
The last six weeks of strict home quarantine has me asking,
“Where’s my Norman Rockwell?”
This surreal experience colors my world in a completely different way; almost as if a new filter has been applied to my life picture. Just like sunglasses on a sunny day, this filter has removed the glare of must-dos and appointments and shifted my gaze to new priorities…to keep myself functioning and whole.
I am also closely examining my daily routines as they are now completely of my own design. How do I use my time? Am I doing things to nourish my body, soul and spirit? What are my real priorities and does my daily life actually reflect those priorities?
This season of forced solitude has also challenged me to focus more on others, which is quite ironic since I find myself alone more than ever before. The computer that used to draw me away into an endless stream of projects is now my primary tool for reaching out!
However now, without the distractions of “normal life,” I am keenly aware that God alone can replenish and renew my innermost being. Not only can He do it, but He longs to live with me and He promises to be the source when I come to the end of myself.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Rockwell said this about his art,
“Maybe as I grew up and found the world wasn’t the perfect place I had thought it to be, I unconsciously decided that if it wasn’t an ideal world, it should be, and so painted only the ideal aspects of it.”
Undoubtedly, Covid-19 has broken all illusions of the ideal, perfect life. There’s not a camera filter that can remove the reality out of this picture. We are not impervious to disease, nor can we hide behind our own human ingenuity or scientific achievements. We’re just not as smart or invincible as we thought we were.
God is still God and we are not Him.
We see the reality of daunting statistics and troubling headlines. However, God’s word promises that there is a new day ahead when the skies will clear again.
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
So, I’ll trust God with my picture.
I’ll give him my days and wait to see what brush strokes he adds and what new colors he reveals.
And, I hope…when the virus is finally checked and I walk out into a world where I can hug who I want; where uncertainty no longer looms in the corner of every waking moment…
I hope and pray that the rest of my life will reflect a greater reliance on God by allowing Him to color my everyday life with His masterful hand…my own unique Norman Rockwell.