When my twin daughters were newborns, they kept me moving. Seeing as how they were helpless in every way, there was always something to do for them. After a few months of being their mom, I realized something funny—they mostly alternated in their fussiness. One would be happily staring into her blurry void, a slobbery, toothless grin plastered on her face, while the other one would be screaming bloody murder. Then, a few hours later, they would change it up. Happy Baby would morph into Grouchy Baby and Angry Baby would switch to Cheerful Baby. It was as if they were professional wrestlers, tagging in and out of the ring (where I was the all-time opponent).
This memory about my now almost 18-year old daughters recently surfaced to my mind as we were all quarantined together. I noticed that all of the people in our home have been alternating in their emotions. One of us would begin to feel hopeless and scared about the virus and the shortages and the cancelled events, but not all of us felt these emotions to the same extent at the same time. Slowly, the frightened one would breathe deeply and pray silently, and the wave of nauseous panic would subside. Without verbalizing it, we were tagging in and out. It was as if we were announcing, “It’s my turn to cry in the bathroom, so ya’ll hold down the fort and play a few hands of Skip Bo like we’re just on Spring Break, without a care in the world.”
1 Corinthians 12 talks about this idea of all of us coming to the table with different strengths and weaknesses, different skills and challenges. The Apostle Paul uses the analogy of a body:
“Yes, the body has many parts, not just one part. If the foot says, ‘I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,’ that does not make it any less a part of the body. And what would you think if you heard an ear say, ‘I am not part of the body because I am only an ear and not an eye’? Would that make it any less a part of the body? Suppose the whole body were an eye—then how would you hear? Or if your whole body were just one big ear, how could you smell anything? But that isn’t the way God has made us. He has made many parts for our bodies and has put each part just where he wants it. What a strange thing a body would be if it had only one part! So he has made many parts, but still there is only one body. And some of the parts that seem weakest and least important are really the most necessary. If one part suffers, all parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. Now here is what I am trying to say: All of you together are the one body of Christ, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it.” (TLB)
We were never meant to be alone—just a pinky toe or an earlobe, disconnected from the body—and this is more true now than ever, even if it might be more difficult to practice in our current situation. When I alternate in the peaks and valleys of the next weeks and months, I’ll need to be encouraged by the strength of the part of God’s body (or person) at the opposite side of the curve. Then, when my strength has been renewed and I can mount up with wings like eagles and run without being weary or walk without being faint, I’ll be able to be that source of encouragement to others.