Greetings from Quarantine Town, USA! Since the media is bringing us a steady stream of mostly bad news, it's understandable if no one even reads this column. But for the tens-of-readers who might, I'll try to bring hope instead of heartache, and some peace to calm your panic.
True fact: we are all being pummeled with news reports from other parts of the country and world. Combine that with unprecedented levels of worldwide connectivity, and we have an information overload phenomenon that humanity has never experienced before during a crisis of this magnitude. It can be enlightening or paralyzing, depending on which end of the emotional spectrum we find ourselves from day-to-day or moment-to-moment. But one thing we can all agree on, is that less-is-more when it comes to consuming the news (and maybe junk food) right now. And if we simply must share something on Facebook every day, cat, dog and cute baby videos are, hands-down, the most innocuous and loving thing we can offer up to our fellow followers and friends. That's my polite way of saying that conspiracy theory posts are neither helpful nor hopeful. So, stop it.
For starters, let's not lose sight of how fortunate we are to live in a region that is doing a phenomenal job of flattening the virus curve. Let that thought sink in for a minute and flatten our emotional curves a bit.
Then, look for the inspiring folks that are spending less time scrolling the internet, and more time finding little ways to help their neighbors and communities. They are proving that it's possible to socially-distance and still help someone else feel better. The food banks and church pantries are doing it, the grocery stores are doing it, the seamstress making face masks is doing it, and even the kids drawing chalk hearts on the sidewalks of our neighborhoods are doing it! The possibilities here are endless. Ready? Set? GO!
Finally, dear Reader, remember, our lives are no more in or out-of-control than the good old "Pre-Quar" days when we, naively, thought pandemics only happened a hundred years ago. Our human "illusions" of control, over outcomes that we've never been able to influence anyway, have been wholly exposed, leaving us shaky and uncertain about the future. But what some are calling the "new normal" is just what real life looks like when we awaken to the truth that the same hands that form mountains are the hands that also formed each of our beating hearts! And those hands have never stopped holding the planet in a steady rhythm of seasons as reliable as the round-the-clock breath in our lungs. This assurance, and our blank calendar, presents each of us with a unique opportunity to take stock of our purpose on this planet (and yes, we all have one), and consider how to best care for the people in front of us, and examine what faith looks like when life isn't a bed of roses.
Hope that helps a little. But also, summertime is just around the corner. Ask me how I know.
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