I think we have grown accustomed to doing really hard things on a daily basis. I know it’s a never-ending topic of conversation, but when I stop and try to process what our world has gone through this year, it seems entirely impossible to do so. It is insane how quickly things were turned upside down: Things that seemed so important one moment were completely overwhelmed and tossed to the side as large-scale and wide-reaching events began taking place.
My emotions surface sporadically and unsystematically, and lately, I have been feeling the weight of the past several months really catch up to me, realizing that I tend to carry a posture of “survival mode.” A lot of times, I catch myself feeling as though this season is something to be endured until we can finally make it to the other side, rather than a time to flourish or even enjoy.
I follow a writer on Instagram named Mari Andrew, and the other day, she posted something that stopped me in my tracks: “Who I am in line is who I am in life. I guess. Because the line is part of my life.” She then went on to say that although standing in line — at a grocery store, the DMV, etc. — often doesn’t feel like real life, it still is.
Similarly to living through a senior year of college amid a global pandemic, it is easy to feel like these times are transitory and exempt from the rest of life; however, they are equally a part of our lives as are the so-called “glamorous” or “noteworthy” ones.
Andrew said that who you are in line shows who you are in life, and the way you stand in line can shed light on the person you currently are and are becoming. When I think about this, while somewhat disheartening, it is completely true. When I think about standing in line, I feel as though it accentuates whatever attitude or mindset I’m assuming in that moment: If I am stressed or impatient (both in line and life), it becomes abundantly clear while each minute seems to drag on; if I am frustrated, it seems as though the slightest wrong move from a stranger can set me off; if I am content, I hardly think about the line; if I am complacent, I am numb to the line and fail to pay attention to its surroundings or opportunities.
I have found that how we handle the transitional or in-between seasons of life is often most indicative of our character and who we are becoming. I wish this wasn’t true. I wish I could be judged based on the times I felt most carefree and at ease. But I guess that would be letting us off the hook pretty easily.
These times are hard, and I don’t think we need to pretend otherwise. But these times are equally a part of our lives, and, although seemingly unfortunate at times, we are not exempt from still pursuing goodness and revolting against apathy or resignation.
Likewise, challenge yourself to observe your time waiting in lines, as a reminder of the bigger picture and as a reminder of who you can still become: Those moments don’t have to be transitional or exempt from every other moment, but they can offer opportunities for grounded and present rituals. Take notice of the person perusing magazines in front of you; pray for peace for the mom juggling her four kids and paper towels; say “Hello” to the person who helps you checkout — because who you are in line is who you are in life.