For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NASB
It has been a time of transition for the Hjelmerviks this past month as it has been for many others, I know. With our oldest starting kindergarten, our middle son starting pre-k, and our youngest starting to scream at piercing levels at arbitrary times, we are all in a state of transition. Even Mark and I, with my school year starting again and ministries starting up for fall at Creekside, have found ourselves in a bit of a sprint attempting to find our new rhythm.
Autumn has always been a joyful time for me. Though the leaves are dying and falling off the trees, a sense of newness has always met me in September. This year though, things have felt different. I find that even though we are nearly a month into our new routines I feel like we are all still transitioning. I think this is partly because we are still adjusting to all these huge changes in our lives and I know things will feel more settled in time. But I cannot shake the knot in my gut that says some things may not ever feel settled.
There is a constant tension in our world right now. A tension of reveling in meeting “in person”, but still needing to be wise with spacing and masks. A tension of wanting children to grow up and stop shrieking, and buckle their own seat belts, and also grief when they say, “No, mommy I can do it by myself”. A tension of celebrating new births in our Bible study and new marriages at work, and yet also mourning the loss of beautiful souls we deeply miss.
I know this tension has always been present here on earth and I love how someone wiser and more eloquent once stated it: “We live in the now and also the not yet.” Jesus has rescued us and yet we wait for complete restoration. It seems everything in 2021 is pulsing with this tension and sometimes it feels as the pulses get stronger and more frequent, the world might just implode and take everything with it. It has had me wondering if changes need to be made. Are we too busy? Should we simplify our schedules? Will things eventually feel easier?
Last night at the dinner table we read from Luke 4:14-30. In this passage Jesus stood up in his hometown synagogue, unrolled the scroll, and proceeded to read from Isaiah 61:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
We talked for a bit about the wildness of Jesus saying these things in His own time. How life-changing and world-changing it was that Jesus said He was the one whom the Spirit was upon. Jesus was and is the proclaimer of good news, the binder of the broken hearts, and the bestower of liberty to those who are oppressed. It’s just hitting me now…what a tension.
As the conversation was winding down, Tommy said, “Hey, remember how we have that scroll? That purple one that you unroll?” It took me a bit of deciphering to realize he was thinking of an activity we do from Godly Play every Christmas in which we roll out purple felt each Sunday of Advent and go through the story of the birth of Jesus. Throughout Advent, the focus is on the prophets, the waiting, and the mystery. Essentially, on the tension.
As I’ve been pondering that connection between the crude unrolling of our homemade purple felt reel and the holy scroll of Isaiah being unfurled and mysteriously yet perfectly fulfilled by its reader in Nazareth, I think I have found a new name for my tension. Though our season is busy and truly full of change, I don’t believe it is stress nor anxiety that I am experiencing. I think it may just be the quiet unfurling of waiting; waiting for something to be completed, something to be restored and renewed once and for all. Maybe nothing in our routines and rhythms needs to be tweaked or simplified or changed. And maybe this tension within me is something I need to see as a friend. Perhaps we are just in that long and earthly season of Advent.