We were a couple months into the pandemic when the questions from my six year old started pouring in...daily.
“When will I be able to play on the playground again?”
“May I take my mask off now?”
“Why can’t I play with all my friends?”
And the toughest one of all: “Why hasn’t God answered my prayer for things to go back to normal?”
I don’t think her questions are too far off from those of an adult. And like a child, the answers, or lack thereof, can leave one weary.
So I made up a game while she peppered me with more questions on one of our drives around the neighborhood. I called it the “I Miss, but I Love” Game. The rules are simple: tell me what’s one thing you miss from the past, but love in the present.
I went first. “I miss hearing you tell me your stories from school, but I love getting to spend more time with you.”
She thankfully caught on, and made her daddy participate too. While there were parts of us still missing what was “normal,” our moods had been elevated in a way only gratitude can. It’s been a challenging season, no doubt, but we were also incredibly blessed with many new wonderful experiences and memories. We just had to look for those thoughts in the sea of despair, regrets, and frustration.
Our social media newsfeed is proof that it’s possible to curate good news. We’re more likely to share photos with our smiles than those that show our tears or anger. So our minds should be able to do the same: to upload positive thoughts. Grateful thoughts.
Studies show that our brains can more easily recall bad memories and negative thoughts. We literally have to reprogram our brain to do the opposite. Oh but when we do, our grateful heart overflows. To our friends, family, and neighbors. In the same way they want to know where you got that cute mask, they’ll want to know where you got that glow. Blessings, joy, and all things good come from God, and He can multiply even that.
So while I miss getting to see our Cornerstone family early on Thanksgiving morning, I love how God created technology so that everyone who might not have experienced the Thanksgiving service when we were in person, has that chance now.
Now, it’s your turn to play!
I miss ____________.
But I love ____________.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8