The more we explore worlds from a long time ago and galaxies far away, the more often our five-year-old asks the question, “Is this real life?” He is trying to understand the role of story and myth in his little brain while also trying to process through the way his life has changed because of a global pandemic.
I understand where he’s coming from. There are many times over the past year where I have thought, “Is this real life? Is this how we’re doing things now?” It’s those moments of remembering how things used to be that juxtapose and crash into our current reality often leaving us feeling disoriented.
It’s a feeling that I’ve carried with me over the past seven years as I stepped in the pulpit Sunday after Sunday wondering, “Is this real life? Do I really get to live a life I was called to?” The overwhelming gratitude combined with the weight of speaking on behalf of the Divine again and again.
This disorientation that many are feeling perhaps for the first time in awhile or for the very first time because life changed so quickly and so unexpectedly is the same feeling that appears again and again in the epistles of the New Testament:
3 In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel 6 that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God.Colossians 1:3-6
Perhaps as we are answering questions about whether this is reality for our children or our students, we are really answering that very same question for our hearts and minds. Is this reality or does our hope reside in another story? A story that transforms and transcends what we are living through and whispers of a new world and new identity.