By Sara Lynn Holbert
We’re in the same ocean, different canoe. I’ve come to realize that more and more as I ponder what I have learned from the last few weeks of sheltering-in- place. I cannot imagine what other folks are dealing with but can only speak to my own experience. I’ve learned that people need purpose during times of uncertainty and for some, times of darkness.
I have watched in awe as folks have begun to slow down and take the time to tap into their God-given gifts and talents that get so frequently buried under all the obligations we carry on our backs day to day. This tapping into creativity has changed the world, I believe. We are finding alternative ways to shop for groceries and getting creative with recipes based on what ingredients we have handy. Gifted musicians and artists are providing online shows free of charge for others to enjoy. Our doctors are just a video away. Preachers and dedicated teachers are using large-scale modes of communication that we never thought possible a few weeks ago. Gardeners have been born. Folks that never thought it possible are sewing, and some folks are now writing their life stories through prose and poetry. My husband has used this time and his talents to transform a storage building into a home office for me.
When we started the project tin and wooden beams were visible, but in less than four weeks, the transformation is now complete. As I helped him the best I could (Carpentry is not my talent…) I thought a lot about what each of us possesses inside if we only take the time to slow down enough to develop talents that we all have. The project required us to be resourceful. We used our energy and supplies we had on hand( with a couple of trips for him to Lowe’s.) With each nail that was hammered, each board that was sawed and planed, each roller of sage green paint that was spread, I was thankful for this time that we were given to be together and to seek God’s hand as we decide what changes we plan to make once we are free to venture out again.
Choosing purpose over aimlessness makes way for a productive life even when the world isn’t understood quite the same way it was six weeks ago. We do not have to go back to the hustle and bustle. A lost job doesn’t have to be the end. Maybe this experience can be the catalyst to that job we’ve always dreamed of having based on the talents we’ve kept hidden from the world. Let’s not stop dreaming once this nightmare is over. Let’s not bury the good that has been on display. Yes, we are in the same ocean, but different canoes. However, all of us have been given a gift of deciding which direction we want that canoe to travel.
Sara Lynn Holbert is a life-long resident of Apalachee, a retired educator, and owner of Studio WISE.