The struggles are real at this moment of time. Cancelled plans, grief for moments lost, fear of uncertainty, the list can be so overwhelming. And trying to find joy in the midst of a pandemic crisis is difficult. Yet, the joy I found myself searching for was right in front me the whole time, I just didn’t realize it amidst my own world of fear and uncertainty.
I am a nanny to an adorable three year old boy and his sweet fifteen month old brother. Their parents are just two of the many, many parents who are working from home these days. So, when the parents asked if I could spend a few hours every morning with their kiddos I of course said yes. I decided in that moment, of saying yes, that even though I was feeling overwhelmed in the midst of my own struggles, the Holy Spirit was moving me (more like pushing me) to help this family who I love so much. Who knew how much joy would actually come from that one overwhelming moment of saying yes.
Joy comes each morning when I arrive and the three year old is at the door joyfully yelling “Catharine’s here!” and his little brother is banging on the door, smiling from ear to ear. Joy comes from watching the three year old running in circles around his brother, singing as loudly as he can the words to, “Hakuna Matata” from the Lion King - which for anyone that may need translation, “Hakuna Matata” means “no worries for the rest of your days.” How fitting are those words for this uncertain time we find ourselves in? It is the joy in their smiles, their laughs, their silliness and their innocence.
After spending just a few mornings with them I quickly began to see just how innocent young children are during this pandemic crisis. I look at this three year old and his fifteen month old brother and realize life for them is not filled with the overwhelming stress I and many of us are feeling these days. For them, they don’t know what COVID-19 is, they don’t know that outside their door people are living in fear and uncertainty. For them, their joy and their laughter never went away and I find that their smiles and their laughs became my way of finding joy in the midst of my own fear and uncertainty.
For a few hours every morning I get the chance to see the world through the eyes of these little ones; a world filled with imagination, silliness, and joy, so much joy.
While the struggles have not gone away and the uncertainty is still very real, the joy that I am finding in these uncertain days is spending time with these two silly and adventurous little boys. Watching them play in the dirt in the backyard, watching the fifteen month old take his first steps and begin walking, and playing superheros with the three year old. These are the moments that are bringing me joy in these uncertain times. It is from these moments I now realize that joy is still out there, and it was right in front of me the whole time.
So when those moments of fear or chaos happen in the midst of this uncertain time, I encourage you to pause, take a deep breath and look around, because sometimes the joy you find yourself searching for, ends up being right in front of you.
Catharine Weiss May 9, 2020