Be a different person today…

April 24, 2021

A quote that I’ve kept around in my collection of quotes to write about seemed very appropriate today – “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” ― Lewis Carroll

Carroll was not thinking about the impact that the CORONA Virus pandemic would have on us all and certainly could not have foreseen the changes in us all caused by the George Floyd verdict; however, he puts in words a truth that many try to avoid accepting – there is no going back to the way it was, because we are all not the way that we were.

We hear a lot about “getting back to normal” when the virus pandemic is discussed, and it usually involves returning to the way things were before this all started. Yet, we know in our hearts that we can’t go back to the way things were. Just in the U.S. alone, we are missing almost 700,000 people that were there before all of this started, and over 3 million worldwide. That means there are over 3 million holes in “the way things were”; over 3 million opinions, actions and reactions missing from the way things were. We are all different people today because we are missing those people and our interactions with them.

You are a lot different if one of those missing people was a husband or wife, a parent or child, a relative or a close friend. Those holes loom larger as voids in the lives of those left behind. For those left behind, life is different today and they are different people today. There is no going back to the way it was for them.

We must all accept that there is no going back to the way is used to be and instead focus our energy on making the future look more like we would like it to be. We cannot change yesterday, but we still have time to influence tomorrow.

For a while, we must still observe the guidelines about wearing masks, washing our hands and social distancing. The pandemic isn’t over, yet; and, we must all get vaccinations. And, we can take steps to better control gun violence and we can do things to slow or reverse global warming. Those things have huge impacts on our lives, too. We can support police reforms and help in the fight against systemic racism and prejudice and hate of all types. In short, we can become different (better) people and not who we were yesterday or even today.

If you need a touchstone, something unchanging that you can cling to that is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow; look no further than to God and Jesus. We are told in the Bible

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6)

AND

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

Yes, we are all different today that we were yesterday; however, our faith can remain unchanged and that is a reassuring thing. Lean on your faith for the strength to get through this pandemic and to give you the resolve to move forward. We know that change is inevitable and that death is inevitable; however, we also know that death is not final and that gives us the hope and courage to face even that change.

From the shifting sands of uncertain change, climb on the solid rock of your faith and be safe. Be a different and better person today than you were yesterday.


Hunkered Down in Milford…

March 15, 2020

Like most Americans right now, my wife and I are “hunkered down” in our home in Milford, Michigan. It is not that we are too afraid to go out. In fact, we went to dinner last night (in a mostly empty restaurant I might add) and we will be venturing out to do some shopping today. However, we did not go to church today; because church services were canceled, as a precaution against the spread of the Corona virus.

The governor of Michigan has now called for the cancelation of almost all events that would gather a group of people together, including school, church, sports and other spectator/participant events. The Oakland County government issued a directive yesterday instructing restaurants and bars to cut their occupancy capacity in half, as a way to insure sufficient space for “social distancing”.

All of this is both unprecedented and necessary to try to slow down the spread of the virus. None of it will stop that spread from occurring, but the hope is to slow the pace of the spread enough such that it does not overwhelm the American health care system. If the disease tacks along the same growth curve as has occurred in Italy, our hospitals would be quickly overcrowded and overwhelmed (or such is the theory).

I’m out of TP!

There have been alarming, if somewhat amusing, developments locally. The runs on toilet paper and hand sanitizer in our local stores have provided opportunities for very amusing Facebook posts. One can postulate that we make end up with lots of sick people locally who will have some of the cleanest rear ends in the nation.

News of the economics of this pandemic has mostly focused upon the highly visible impact on airlines, cruise lines and events (sports and conventions) businesses; however, it is the millions of small local businesses, like restaurants, retail shops and health and beauty businesses that stand to lose the most. Many will not make it through even a mild recession and the impact of this may be anything but mild.

The messages meant to calm the populous, which proclaim that we will get through this together, are certainly true. We got through other crises like 911 and the Great Recession and we will survive this one, too. What life looks like on the other side of all of this is still to be determined. Life after those earlier crises that I mentioned was nothing like it was before them. We will not “get back to normal”; rather we will have to get used to a “new normal”.

While all of this have interrupted the public practice of religion, I suspect that the underlying faith that is within most people is stronger for it  In times of crisis, one needs something to believe in that is bigger than the crisis itself. It does not get any bigger than a strong belief in God. Focus upon your faith and not your fears. Remember what the Bible tells us –  

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:6-7)

Your faith doesn’t give you permission to do whatever you want or prevent you from catching whatever it is that is threatening you; however, it does allow you to go on with life by giving you the assurance of your fate, should the worst occur. What happens now is a lot less scary if you believe in what happens next. So, hunker down wherever you are, keep the faith and ride this thing out.