“something that tends to move from one position, condition, etc., to the opposite extreme and then back again”
Have you ever seen those desk top pendulums? They go back and forth for what seems to either be an eternity or a non
consequential period of time… until they finally settle in the middle. Little does this device know, but it represents our relationships, our lives desires, our goals, hobbies, theologies, and social possibilities.
This morning I am sitting at my desk, reading my advent reflections for the day.(Zahand’s, The Anticipated Christ) To be honest, it is just December now, but I am bombarded with Christmas. Looking for videos of past Christmas to ensure I don’t repeat myself, all of a sudden, I was struck with the reminder of last Christmas. The Christmas when the Covid wars were strong in my province, the Christmas when we were forced online and kept our distance from human interaction. That was weird. It was awkward and weird.
Now, we are pretending to be on the other side, even though our lives are affected by the thing that shall not be named (in most social situations). But the pendulum seems to be different for everyone. If you don’t want to analyze yourself, think about the people around you.
Some people are adding everything back into their lives from before covid, maybe even more activities, while the other extreme is still self-isolating at home.
One group is focusing on deepening pre-existing friendships while others are attending every social event that exists.
Some are taking this new lease on life and freedom to try new things, while others want to keep their plate empty.
I am sure you get the idea. For me, I have started protecting my personal time more so than before 2020. However, I am also trying new things, taking archery lessons, returning to school, and painting. I respect those who are holding tight to their beliefs of being cautious, but I wonder what the cost is.
As an introvert, I thought I liked the isolation and slow pace more. But as life opened up, I realized that even as someone with introverted tendencies, I needed people around me. Interactions with friends, neighbours, and especially people at church. I have even found myself wanting to create more times and places for meaningful conversations in my everyday work life. Instead of Bible studies, where I would talk, I am leaning toward group discussions. Instead of just giving answers, I am trying to give options and ask more questions. The last one is the hardest for me.
Here is the problem. As different as our personalities are from one another, so are our handlings of the pendulum. For some, it is going far too fast, and for others, it takes forever to settle in the middle. Some welcome the extremes, and some still hold on for dear life.
There is a solution, though. Be patient with the people around you and put yourself in their shoes. If you truly do care about them, you care about the trauma they are walking through as well as the future you know they are going to live. But in that respect, you don’t need to limit your reaction time. Everyone will get to the centre of the pendulum. It is inevitable. It will take some of us less time, and for others, it will take more time.
Just be patient and enjoy life one day at a time. At your own pace and not at someone else’s. We need people, we need each other.