WITH, Not WHAT
by Katie Davis
Saturday, March 21, 2020, 9:59 am
Day 7 of quarantine for my family. I’m texting my friend:
“I think today is going to be the hardest for us. Weekend, cold, quarantined . . . it’s going to make for a loooooong day!”
Mind you, my boys are quietly playing with kinetic sand like it’s the greatest thing ever. While watching them play peacefully I start thinking that I might as well find more activities to order online to keep them entertained and happy while in quarantine. My mind starts racing about all the things I can do to make this fun and memorable. I begin adding items to my Walmart pickup order.
As I’m adding items to my cart two opportunities to donate come up. I take a break from my Walmart cart and make a donation to a person at church to get more food for a food drive my church is doing and then send a donation to a single mom in need of some things.
When I get back to my cart I notice that the donations I just made equaled the same amount I would now be spending at Walmart. Ok, walmart.com, you’re going to have to wait. I need to see how the rest of the day goes before spending anything else.
Best Day Ever
The rest of the day with my family goes well. We didn’t do anything over the top. Nothing flashy, no brightly-colored charts, handmade, or purchased activities. We got out of the house for a drive in the afternoon and got the boys milkshakes. Quarantine fun! They laughed and had so much fun driving up and down hills and my five-year-old commented, “This is the best day ever.” (I’ve heard that several times in our week at home.)
We arrived home, ate dinner, and spent some time together playing on the floor as a family. Rocking my little guy to sleep that night, we both said our prayers that we listen to and repeat nightly. Tonight I focused much more on the words we were praying and listened as the sweet pray-er thanked God for such simple things: “rest, food, loving care, and all that makes the day so fair.” It finishes by asking God to “help us grow more loving every day.” After our prayers I usually pray silently over my boys and tonight the simplicity of the prayer stuck with me.
I sat there and snuggled a little longer than usual and realized I have no reason to order the items waiting patiently in my Walmart cart. Those things aren’t going to make us grow more loving, it’s simply being WITH each other that will. WHAT activity we’re doing doesn’t matter.
WHAT Doesn’t Matter
It doesn’t matter if I set up the perfect homeschool classroom, create the most eye-appealing colorful charts and activities, have the most fun science experiments, art projects, or toys to stimulate and occupy my boys’ minds.
In thinking about life on the other side of this quarantine it doesn’t matter WHAT house I have, WHAT activities I plan with friends, WHAT thought I put into details of a party. Simply being WITH each other is all that matters. There is something about WITH. WITH can only happen together.
I feel like God is teaching me the true power of being WITH my people in this strange time. I needed a wakeup call to just focus on being WITH each other and not on WHAT we’re doing to occupy us and bridge us from one moment to the next. I believe that God is shaking things up right now in this uncertain time to show us that we need to change. For my family, that looks like not making this time of quarantine a fantasy world for my kids. Yes, I absolutely want them to have all they need to be comfortable but I do not think that I should strive to make this the most exciting time in their childhood by creating a ton of over-the-top activities to create memories.
But WITH Does
I believe it’s more important for them to understand that we should truly thank God for food on the table because hunger and deprivation is more prevalent in the community around us than ever. I want them to enjoy simply being together and reading, cooking and eating meals, resting, and not hearing me yell at them for being late to the next activity. This is a season of uncertainty and I believe this could change this instant gratification culture that my boys are living in and that I have contributed to.
I also realize that all Jesus wants is to be WITH us. To be WITH me. He doesn’t care WHAT that looks like. He doesn’t care if I show up for my quiet time at the right time every day with my beautiful Bible and perfect journal. He doesn’t care if my prayers are constantly interrupted by this chaotic life surrounding me at the moment. He just wants to be WITH me and he wants me to choose to be WITH him, draw near to him, and walk WITH him in every step I take. Jesus, Emmanuel, God WITH us.
WITH, not WHAT.
Katie Davis is a stay-at-home mom to two boys that keep her busy. She is passionate about finding ways to create community for women so everyone can find a place to belong.