I couldn’t believe my eyes! There it was, right in front of me on the shelf. I was reaching for the yogurt with the cherry fruit, my second choice substitute since the mango yogurt had mysteriously disappeared some time ago. And without warning, I might add. But today my mango yogurt had magically reappeared! A miracle amid the mundane just for me.
Funny how such a small thing could make my day. But it did. I thought back to when this mystery of the missing mango yogurt first began and realized it was mid March. That was the same time everything shut down, including my school, due to the COVID crisis. There followed empty shelves where toilet paper, hand sanitizer, paper towels and Clorox wipes had been, but I made no connection between the disappearance of my mango yogurt and the appearance of COVID-19 on the world scene.
What possible connection could there be? But then the toilet paper scarcity took me by surprise as well. What was the connection to COVID with that one? So at first, I just assumed my mango yogurt was temporarily out of stock and would return soon. I mean, this happens with all kinds of products. On any given day I go to the store and they are out of my favorite brand or flavor of whatever. But the next time I go, it is again in stock.
For awhile, each time I went to the store, I looked with eager expectation for my mango yogurt. After all, it had always reappeared in the past. But not this time. Months went by. Six of them, to be exact. But who’s counting? I wasn’t anymore. I confess – I had stopped looking for my mango yogurt at some point. I can’t even say when that point was. All I know, is that I no longer looked for it. I no longer held out any hope that mango yogurt was coming back to a store shelf near me.
But today it did! How easily I gave up hope. How quickly I found substitutes and told myself I liked them just as well. This got me to thinking about other things for which I no longer hope, things I no longer expect to magically reappear like my mango yogurt. One would be Clorox wipes. Why aren’t they back yet? If we can make ventilators, why can’t we make wipes?
Something else I quickly substituted, was zoom for the face to face. I told myself I liked it just as well but I could only lie to myself for so long. When the real thing was possible once again, even in a limited form, I was reminded how far superior it is to its stand in and would be replacement.
How many things, like my mango yogurt, have I quit expecting to return? What other things have I given up hope of finding once again? What is lost that I no longer expect to recover? What is gone that I no longer expect to experience ever again?
Churches and schools are not fully open and functioning. Both fulfill their purposes more truly and more fully in person. That’s how they were designed to carry out their callings – in person. Birthdays and baby showers, weddings and wakes, parades and plays, movies and musicals, concerts and sports contests of every kind – all were designed to be experienced in community. Not in isolation.
Have I stopped expecting the return of these things? Have I no longer any hope? Former president Ronald Reagan said something sobering and sad and alarming all at the same time. It was this,
“Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”
Have I given up hope? Just like I was no longer looking for my yogurt, am I no longer looking for those freedoms lost to COVID-19? Am I no longer expecting those freedoms to be returned to me, to you, to each one of us? Are our freedoms to be reinstated? Will they reappear in the fabric of our daily lives? Or do we have to demand our freedom all over again, just as those in 1776 demanded their freedoms, their unalienable rights, rights guaranteed to them by their Creator, rights no longer to be withheld by any government? Am I content to remain silent while every freedom falls away from me, from us? “All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good people to remain silent.”
Where are the voices that would speak up before it is too late? Free speech is one of those freedoms being taken while we are busy pursuing other things. Now speech is taken down from Facebook and YouTube, while college campuses censor and silence any voices of dissent as well.
Still Galatians 6:9 tells me, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
And Psalm 31:24 instructs, “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”
The unexpected return of my mango yogurt today reminded me that other lost things could yet be returning as well. I don’t have to give up hope. All is not lost. Anything is possible.
“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’ ” (Mark 10:27)
sincerely, Grace Day