There will be a day, years from now when the sounds of children’s voices have long left our home, when I will look back and remember an unfortunate time in the history of the world that brought some beautifully unexpected blessings.

I will remember a time when the everyday actions of the world were put on hold. I will remember how it seemed that time slowed down. How it was almost like we went back to the old days. Where the values from another era were suddenly taken on by the majority. Where people took others into consideration. Where prayer and God made a comeback. A time where generosity was shown by so many. And sacrifice was offered by others. A time when nature was revered, pollution lessened and love was the word of the day.

I’m sure I will remember how over the course of the first 10 days, I, like so many others, did not like what was happening.

I did not like what I felt was being forced upon us. Which, in reality, was really me saying that I didn’t like the fact that I was going to have to change how I did things. I’m a routine guy. And I don’t like it when that routine has to change. I don’t like it when the rhythms of life suddenly change. I don’t like it when there is no NCAA basketball tournament or when the start of the Major League Baseball season is delayed.

But I hope I will also remember how, after a while, something in me changed. How, suddenly, I didn’t care so much that we were without baseball or that we had to miss a concert we had planned to attend or that my life rhythm and routines changed.

I will remember how the slow, simple life I had always longed for was given to me. A life that included plenty of time with my family. A life that allowed for afternoon walks through the neighborhood amid the cherry blossoms and wisteria. Where one could witness the reawakening of nature as God spoke to us through the blooms and the array of colors and said I’m still in control.

A simple life where the pace slowed, and we had time to pay attention to the things that were really important. Things like building a tree house or going on a family hike.

A simple life that allowed for Sunday to truly be Sabbath. A day for God, rest and family.

I will remember a summer break with our children that lasted 5 months. A time that included puzzles completed, movie marathons, LEGO sets built, our children learning to cook, our daughter’s beautiful art projects and our son learning to ride a bike.

A time when we received countless blessings that we had not expected. Years from now we won’t see this period of time in history as a burden. We will see it as a bonus.

2020. The year of the bonus.

Joey Haynes is a follower of Jesus, married way out of his league, has two of the coolest children in the universe and is blessed to work with an amazing community of believers known as The Church at Rome.

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