Danielle Heckenkamp contemplates the gift of a change in perspective on the events of 2020.
The past seven months have been a continual stream of transitions for our family, as it has been for most of us. I can’t say that 2020 began calm, because it didn’t. We had an unexpected death in the family within the first week of January and from then on, it has been a steady stream of adjustments. I have to be honest -- it has been a total whirlwind. The ups and downs have been numerous, and I’m honestly not expecting them to slow down anytime soon. But it isn’t just my family –- we are all in the same boat, maybe slightly different situations, but all adjusting to God’s plan. It’s not our “new normal,” it’s ultimately God’s plan for our lives.
This may sound odd, and I definitely didn’t have this perspective during some of the days when I felt lost or sad with the state of our world, but I am grateful for the many ups and several downs over the past seven months. During this entire process, I have come to one very concrete and meaningful conclusion for myself. It was something that I knew all along, but don’t always acknowledge … I need a refresher … in Christ. I need to find Him again, not just in myself, but in those around me and in what He chooses to send me.
As many of us removed the clutter from our homes during quarantine, we were also given an opportunity to remove the clutter within our hearts and souls. It’s a painful, but necessary transition. We may acknowledge our willingness to accept the daily crosses sent by God, but when it comes down to the day in which we must pick them up and carry them, it isn’t so easy. We all became quickly aware of this during the months of restrictions and isolation. Yet, looking back, it was painful but a necessary step that many of us were diverting for a future date. We were saving those crosses for a rainy day. We spent too many months or years pushing God onto our timeline rather than accept His Will. It took a worldwide pandemic to move many of us closer to Him. He’s been asking for that love and attention for so long, but how often we ignore His invitations.
Transitions are difficult and change can be extremely messy that brings tears and loneliness, but if we search for our true purpose then we can fulfill our void in Christ. We will never find true peace on this earth – that is not our purpose here. But we can find Christ on this earth, whether it’s by accepting the crosses He sends to us, by finding His love in those around us, and by removing the worldly desires that fill our hearts. I have grown too comfortable living near Christ, but not in Christ. We will only survive this road on earth by accepting His daily crosses of love. Not the crosses we envision He should send us, but the crosses that He chooses to send us for the sanctity of our soul.
If 2020 has taught me anything, it is to remove myself from the equation. Yes, we all need to care for ourselves, respect our bodies, and foster the spiritual needs of our souls. But ultimately, I am referring to the removal of our earthly desires. The “things” we think we need – 2020 has proven that we don’t. These “things” are different for every person, as we all have our individual flaws, but God has given us a gift this year – to turn our selfish nature towards His love, which is far more generous and loving than anything we can imagine.
I can’t say that I’m ready for what the rest of 2020 holds. The cards just aren’t falling the best right now, but I pray that God continues to give us all confidence in His love and perseverance in the Faith, which will ultimately bring us closer to Him through our daily crosses towards an eternal reward in heaven.
Copyright 2020 Danielle Heckenkamp
Image: Jeffrey Czum (2020), Pexels
About the Author
Danielle Marie Heckenkamp is a stay at home mom and freelance writer who lives in the beautiful state of Wisconsin with her husband and five children. Motherhood has allowed Danielle to re-discover her love for writing. It is through her daily experiences as a mom and the love for her Catholic Faith that show forth in her writing. Danielle is the co-author of a nonfiction book about manners and common sense. She is a coffee-drinking, Midwest girl, who loves to spend time with her family, attempt outlandish recipes, and read any book she can get her hands on. You can find more of Danielle's writing at Loving These Days or step inside her daily life at her instagram account (@dmheckenkamp)