Waking Up from Playing Possum

“Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4b

When my kids were in early elementary school, my husband invented a car-ride game for them that we call “Laugh Possum.” To start the game, the kids pose with their eyes closed in a pose that attempts to mimic what a possum would look like when it is pretending to be dead or asleep. Once they are in their pose, Adam starts making noises and telling stories to get the kids to laugh. The winner of the game is the one who can hold out the longest; they must keep their pose while not laughing.

Laugh Possum is a great game for turning frustration or grumpiness into joy. The kids might have been uncomfortable in the car or hungry or tired, but nothing ever matters when Laugh Possum commences. By the end of the first round, the entire family is overflowing with laughter.

I have always been fascinated with tools that we can use to reframe, or change, our perspective on the world around us. Laugh Possum is a tool in my family’s toolbox for reframing a situation.

When we reframe a situation, we look at it differently. The situation doesn’t change, but how we interact with the situation does.

Reframing is an essential tool in the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us have lost a loved one to COVID-19. Many have lost jobs in the pandemic economy. All of us have been impacted. There is much grief surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. There is much grief, but also an invitation to look with fresh eyes on the world around us.

Much like the Laugh Possum game turns a long car ride into a joy-filled one, I believe that this pandemic offers us an invitation to reframe our situation. Instead of being frustrated with all that we have lost or changed because of the pandemic, we can be grateful for the invitation to newness and creativity. Because nothing is “normal”, everything is new.

Jesus was a master re-framer. Much of the New Testament shares how he offered new perspectives on viewing the world. He looked at a mustard seed and shared how faith that small could move mountains. He looked at a crowd of 5,000 and turned five loaves and two fish into a buffet with leftovers. Mourning his death was reframed as rejoicing in his resurrection.

One of my spiritual practices is searching for new frames for the world. I believe that when we are intentional in looking, Christ helps us view the world with fresh, new eyes. When we can’t seem to budge from the frame we are in, we can look around and remember that we are not alone. Trusted friends can also offer new frames for our frustrations.

This week, I invite you to challenge yourself in three ways:

  1. Pray and ask God to reveal parts of your life that need reframing. Ask for new frames to be revealed.
  2. Ask a loved one to help you find new frames. Brainstorm together.
  3. Do something that brings you joy, whether it’s a silly game in the car or sitting on a porch to enjoy the fall temperatures.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for walking alongside us, when we are stuck and when we are energized with newness of life. Open our hearts to ways in which we can look with fresh eyes on the world around us. Help us turn frustration into gratitude and joy. Thank you for inviting us to think differently. Thank you for loving us always.

Amen.

Rev. Sarah Boyette

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