If you are anything like me, the idea of staying at home, distancing yourself and isolating your family is an uncomfortable way to feel like you are making a difference during these uncertain times. I find myself wanting to do more, to add more value, to bring more hope, to share something that will uplift and encourage. I feel rather useless and a little guilty that the most I can do is stay home while others are on the front lines of this new evil, protecting, healing, serving and fighting back. I feel a little out of sorts.
As a dad, a husband and a man, something inside is calling me to war, to take a stand, to declare that as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. When I think of this my mind conjures up a scene where I am the gatekeeper to myself and my loved ones preventing the onslaught of an invisible enemy called Covid-19. My minds creates a battle of magnificent proportions where I am the victor and I end the day having given hope and conquered against all odds.
But then I look up and see my kids in the lounge, my wife reading a book and my front door locked. I am reminded that in this frustrating time, the most I can do is also the least. We find ourselves in a situation where our greatest efforts will result in the smallest movement. As a father, where will my great victory come from if I can only go as far as the end of my driveway?
But then I look up again and see my kids and my wife and remember that the very first battle I have been called to fight, the greatest war I will ever wage, is the one on my home front. As Fathers, we are called to lead, to guide, to protect and to love our families. What does this look like in the presence of Corona and during a time of lockdown?
We have been given the gift of 21 days, as challenging and uncertain as the consequences of this will be on our businesses, communities, churches and nation, these next 21 days are a gift. The quote by J.R.R Tolkien has gone around in the last week and I think it quite accurately sets the scene for our come back:
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
We have been given an opportunity to love on our families like never before, to rock them to sleep, to read them stories, to learn that game, take that moment to see into their world, to sit and learn with them as schools have closed and possibly teach them something new. We have been blessed with a window into their daily lives, to see what they love, to experience their struggles, to set the tone and manage the atmospheres of our homes in a time where fear, anxiety and uncertainty seek to wrestle the hope and joy from our hearts.
As Dad’s, we may not all be on the front lines of the fight against this sickness, But we can stand in the gap and war against the things that will come to kill, steal and destroy our families hope, their joy and peace. We can set in place a pillar of calm against which those around us can cling when the storms of life seek to crash over us. As Dad’s we can offer a kind word, a reassuring hand and a glance that instills in our kids that no matter what the storm brings, it will have to wash over you first, it will need to move you before it can ever think of moving the atmosphere of calm and safety that we as father’s command.
We may not be going off at dawn in the next 21 days to save lives, but we can wake each morning with a renewed desire to raise our sons and daughters and instill in them a hope and a certainty that they are not alone, that they are deeply and passionately loved and that we seek a deep and lasting connection with their hearts. At the end of Lockdown, if we can do this, we would have won a victory that our lives a week ago would not have allowed. This great evil may seek and successfully destroy many things we have little control over, but it will never steal our hope or our ability to love our families like never before. As Gandalf said, we may not have had a choice in deciding this time, but we can decide what to do with it.
Stay safe, be blessed.