Several weeks ago I was chatting with a neighbor. She asked how school was going for the kids. I told her that despite my mental distraction, homeschooling was going well and that my high school freshman was excelling in her classes.

We enrolled our ninth-grader in public high school last spring – having no idea what was coming. She’s been homeschooled since the fourth grade and was eagerly anticipating getting to go to school again. Fast forward to a seemingly never-ending pandemic in a highly locked-down state, and she’s still doing her work at home.

But, something my neighbor said has stuck with me. Her words hit me like a ton of bricks, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them.

After telling her that Hannah was taking her Zoom classes very seriously and working hard to learn as much as possible, my neighbor said this, “Good for her for recognizing that this is her life.”

This is our life. This. The masks. The closures. Zoom. Everything happening right now – regardless of how we feel about itis our life.

I think so many of us are stuck. Stuck in the what was or what could be. We’re mentally living in the “before” or obsessively thinking about the “after.”

Don’t get me wrong – this world we’re living in right now is far from ideal. It’s been eight months of chaos, division, and heartache. And we’re tired. Our bodies and souls are exhausted – weary from navigating our way through swirls of grief and change.

We’re all craving the life we knew – wanting to be anywhere but the path we’re on. We hate change and will do just about anything to avoid hard things. We’re angry because we didn’t choose this. We just want to skip ahead to the ending. Fast forward. Wake us up when it’s over.

But in our frenzied fight for the before and after, we’re missing out on today. 

Yesterday is out of my hands. And, I don’t know what tomorrow holds. But, today is up to me. And in a world where so much is currently out of my control, I’m tired of yielding what is. We are in control of our attitude, outlook, and response.

Grumpiness, division, and despair have not been mandated. We get to choose how we’re going to respond. And I choose joy.