Rest in the Time of Corona

“But I never got to ride on a plane.”

This was the first thing my five-year-old mumbled to me as I roused him from sleep. He’s been asking to fly for as long as he could ask questions, and we had finally planned our first “just us” family vacation, a quick trip to Boston for a Red Sox game and an exploration of the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

He’d been counting sleeps for a week, preparing for his first flight, but in the span of one day of kindergarten, all of those plans were canceled by a virus. There is nothing novel about novel coronavirus, not for him, for his sister, or for me.

We are a family forged in trauma, and trauma loves the safety of routine and predictability and the mere appearance of control. So when our routine is destroyed by unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances, our uncertainty and anxiety are palpable. All three of us process in fits and spurts, and his grief, verbalized as he floats into consciousness, showed me that his little heart and mind were processing while his body tried to rest.

As I laid next to him, he snuggled up in my arm and sighed deeply, a crooked grin and look of peace and contentment smoothing his furrowed brow. And as we rested in the pre-dawn silence, I thought about how many ways Jesus promises this peace and rest to me in the midst of any and all of life’s crises. He calls himself the Good Shepherd, who makes me lie down in green pastures; a mother hen, who gathers her chicks under her wing; a father who provides every good thing for his children; and a God who is sovereign over nature and time and the human heart.

So I rest.

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