Putting Up with a Pandemic
I know, some of us are still convinced that it's all hype, media sensationalism, and there has been too much fear mongering. But, be that as it may, the stark reality is unchanged and unchecked. Many people are fortunate to live in areas not yet significantly affected, and so they wonder, "What's all the fuss?" Well, stay tuned, friends. It's coming your way and we can only hope that your indifference will not make things worse when Covid 19 shows up in your neighborhood.
Even more troubling to me is the "It's not my problem," attitude of many adults under 60. "Hey, it gets the old folks. I don't have to worry about it. Forget about social distancing, I'm not staying home." And so Covid 19 continues to hitch a ride from place to place, person to person, with younger adults who gleefully stick to their normal routines. Thanks a lot.
So, the isolation begins. Suddenly we find ourselves at home and just when we really need them, all the sports have shut down. No March Madness. No Caps hockey. No NBA playoffs. No baseball! ESPN can't even find a tractor pull to televise. I have two games on my DVR - the seventh game of last year's World Series (Go, Nats!) and the Super Bowl (Chiefs!). I've already watched them both three times. Thank God for Netflix, Prime, and HBO. Binge-watching does pass the time.
Or, maybe it's time to turn off the TV, shut down the laptop, and take a walk or have a talk or rediscover what we used to call family time. Have we forgotten how to be a family, how to just enjoy each other's company, now that we finally have time to be together? What a great opportunity to get reacquainted with those closest to us. So drag out the board games, do a jigsaw, throw a ball around the yard. Time is precious, even unscheduled, unrequested time.
Church certainly feels strange these days. Pastors like me are preaching in empty sanctuaries to online congregations. It feels a little silly, trying to imagine our people all in their usual places. At least we hope our people are out there, tuned in, and worshiping with us in this less than ideal circumstance. I do kind of wish the camera went both ways. How many of my folks are still in their PJ's enjoying a bowl of Cheerios while I preach? Just curious.
And in case your wondering, churches like ours have not made these changes because we are a bunch of fraidy cats. We are not acting out of fear, but out of love, love for one another, love for the vulnerable, love for all people. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)
Exile, isolation, quarantine are not pleasant words, nothing that we would ever choose for ourselves or anyone else. We can call our friends and family and that helps. We can work from home and worship from home and that helps, too. But after a while, as the days go by, aloneness may begin to get the best of us. The mist of isolation clouds our view. Our warm, comfortable home begins to feel like solitary confinement and even a walk around the block doesn't help much.
We're not wired for such things, are we? Even the most introverted among us need some human touch, some connection with community. So let's take care of each other, shall we? If not in person, let's find lots of creative ways to stay connected, to reach out to the most isolated, to protect the most vulnerable, and to pray that this pandemic soon runs it's course and disappears.