The words “unprecedented” and “uncertain” have earned the distinction of being considered “2020’s Words of the Year.” We have seen and heard them repeatedly these last 9 months. In a year of this pandemic, we’ve experienced sickness, death, lockdowns, mandates, curfews, shortages, lines, closures, increased suicide, quarrantine of the healthy, travel restrictions, masks, closures of schools, fitness centers, small businesses and places of worship. Families of seniors in care facilities have been denied physical access to their loved ones. Victims of abuse are quarantined with their abusers. Substance abuse continues to increase while isolation leads many into increasing depression and anxiety .
I acknowledge that I have not suffered greatly. Worst case scenario, I have been inconvenienced. I have not lost an income, been ill or been isolated from those I love. I have listened to good, smart people of opposing views and humbly admit, I am never 100% certain of who is exactly right. I have made a decision to live life with care, kindness and wisdom, and to respect those who disagree with me. In doing so, I have alienated some and found kindred spirits in others. I am a firm believer that long before I was born, the Creator of the universe appointed a day for me to enter this world and a day for me to leave it. God has numbered my days and I don’t believe they will be extended or decreased by any efforts of mine geared toward self-protection at the cost of distancing others in need. Consider this:
“You are immortal until God’s purpose in you is complete.”
I embrace this belief. It doesn’t mean I live foolishly or carelessly, but deliberately. I take care of my health because it’s a gift to be honored. I wash my hands often. I keep things clean and sanitary. If I’m ill, I’ll stay home to protect others. I am protective of those with conditions that put them at risk. I am not gathering in large groups with people I don’t know. I wear a mask inside where it is required. I respect those who disagree with me. That said, I have chosen to be with my people, to hug my grandchildren and those I love or who need love and who are also comfortable with it. I have oft repeated this year that,
“I would rather die with my people than to live without them. ”
As I sat down to review what the year has produced for me personally, I was taken aback by all the good things I saw. In spite of the sorrows of this world, I can see that circumstances needn’t determine our ability to smile at the future. Truly our responses are of paramount importance. They pave the way for us to live wisely, kindly and with intention. Let it be known that I in no way dispute that the virus is real and that many have suffered greatly in it’s wake. There has been a significant loss of life and a great deal of suffering has ensued. I, too, have friends and family members who have contracted the virus and are recovering as well as a cousin who lost his life from it. I grieve as we all do. None of us will remain untouched by it. Even so, good can come from the chaos if we respond well.
“Two weeks to flatten the curve” they said, but here we are now nine months down the road, still facing curfews, shutdowns, failing businesses, unpaid mortgages and continued sickness. “How then, shall we live?” How long is long enough to follow mandates from politicians who can’t balance their own kingdom’s budgets? How long do we hunker down at home while those ordering it hold themselves exempt from their own mandates? Is it any wonder that more and more of us are proclaiming “enough!” ? We all live with our own consciences and will give an account one day of the choices we made. I stand ready to do so. As far as I’m concerned, I proclaim “enough.” As far as it’s up to me, I am choosing to:
Walk in faith and not fear– Love generously and not merely self-protect–Respect when reviled–Give sacrificially when tempted to hoard–Breathe fresh air and not the inside of a mask–Frequent small businesses vs big box stores/chains–Hold loved ones closer vs holding them at arms length–Be confident that God can use me as long as He wills–Serve where He leads without hesitation–Trust God to take me home when He calls and to enter His gates with joy–Believe He is good even when the world looks bad–Remember, we are aliens here, this world is not our home–Live intentionally to fulfill God’s purposes as long as He keeps me here–Walk in hope and not fear–Trust His Everlasting Arms will always catch me and finally:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7 (The New Living Translation)