I write this feeling extremely overwhelmed. It’s a feeling I’m sure many of us have experienced in the past weeks. Life has shifted in ways we may never have thought possible. Our responsibilities remain, still reshaped by our new context.
Yesterday, I shared a little bit about what it has meant for me to focus on a single day during this time. Today I’m thinking through what it means to plan ahead in a time of such uncertainty. What should I be planning for? How can I even know?
Let me say this first. We are supposed to be planning. Even in the midst of uncertainty, we are called to be imagining possible futures, and make choices for the care of the people and resources that have been placed in our sphere of influence. I believe this to be true regardless of our official roles or capacities or contexts.
We can look at our spheres of influence in concentric circles. The innermost circle might include family, close friends, and immediate resources, with work colleagues, neighbors, and resources we have access to in the next one, and so on.
As I have attempted to do some planning of my own, I’m struck by the following realizations:
- How I see the world fundamentally frames what I see as possible futures
- Whether I feel hopefully or distraught informs the quality of my planning (and my ability to even start)
- I am continually confronted with grief as I go through this process
A friend recently pointed me to this article by the folks at Praxis Labs. Praxis Labs is a really cool organization that cares for leaders from the context of a Christian Worldview. As evidenced in the article, that worldview (combined with the most current scientific research) is key to the way the authors process our current situation. This is true for each of us as well. Our own worldview is going to provide the guiding principles, values, and informed imaginations, that will guide our planning process. (Taking on others past experiences, as well as history, can help expand our imagination as to possible futures, as well.) These principles and values can stay constant while the context in which they express themselves continues to change. We should be able to lean on them as a solid foundation.
On the emotional side, it has been amazing to witness myself hold both the hopeful, almost opportunistic, view of our current time, and the dystopian, end of the world as we know it, view at the same time. I have recognized that in order for me to plan well, I have to hold tightly to the hope of a future in which the principles and values I hold dear may still flourish. Love can still reign.
Still, the world will not be the same as it was when this particular time has passed. For every dream that we have invested in, planned for, and worked towards that will not come to pass, there will be grief to process. Many dreams will die, many will survive for a time, and many new ones will be born. Even in the midst of the hope I hold to and whatever dreams may be born in this time, I know I will surely need some time to process the grief I am experiencing. That’s okay.
So, as I get to planning, I find myself holding loosely the dreams of work, projects, and achievement, while holding tightly to the values of hope, trust, and love.
What is giving you hope as you plan for the time ahead?