Each morning when I wake up I have a blissful 30 or so seconds where it feels that the world is its old self, I can hear the hum of humanity and I’m free to roam about my city. Thirty seconds is such a short time before reality sets in of our new way of living.
A little over a month ago, I was serving as the Maid of Honor at the wedding of my best friends Pam and Dave. It was a absolute perfect, beautiful wedding full of love, happiness, and dancing. Lots and Lots of dancing. Yet, Pam and I both agree, it feels like a different lifetime.
Three weeks ago, I went out to dinner with a few friends, where we all sat at the same table to enjoy our favorite Mexican meals and a few margaritas. We threw a few jokes around about the coronavirus, but we all knew as long as we didn’t lick the table or touch our face, we would be just fine. Now eating out feels like an alternate reality.
This past Thursday, we had my grandma’s “funeral,” where the only immediate family came to support one another and say our goodbyes without hugging or touching. What should have been a room full of people was mostly empty as we asked others to send condolences and pray from a distance. During this virus age, even a funeral feels taboo.
In a matter of six weeks, the walls of society have closed in on us. All the while, we are suffering some death. A physical death due to or because of this virus; death of our jobs; death of our 401Ks, and death of our freedom. Much like my grandma’s funeral, we are told to keep our distance, yet our very nature as humans is to comfort each other, to be near each other, to hug each other in times of crisis, which is why this particular social distancing and self quarantine is so difficult.
9/11 brought us all closer because of a common enemy of flesh and blood. The 2008-09 crash hurt us in the pocketbook because of failed economic policies, which are still the result of humans. This new crisis, however, is a unseen invader and running rampant in our country. This time our enemy is fear.
So what do we do? How do we go on without letting fear overtake us?
Fear, they say, can be worse than the disease itself. Fear overrides our thinking and keeps us captive to irrational thought. I know because earlier this week, I, like the rest of the country, was trying to figure out what was going on as fear consumed me.
Full disclosure, I’m a Christ-follower, albeit not a great one, but over the last year or so, I’ve been drawing closer to Him each day. I have to say that before the world went on lock down the most soul-quenching times that I sought Jesus was when I wanted to just be near Jesus. Nothing more. Not to ask Him for a favor, or a blessing, or a pardon. Just to be in His presence.
Then the virus showed up on our shores, and life began to get scary. Naturally, I started to pray, and this time I came to His feet with a whole list of questions. In His grace, God reminded me of my favorite Bible verse Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will set your path straight.” I can say this verse is a great comfort, but as I opened my eyes after praying this verse, I saw the answer to my question, “No fear. Keep going.”
A few years ago, I was going through some crazy personal stuff (which now seems like kids play) and decided to get a tattoo to remind me no matter what life throws at me, I will not have fear, and I will find a way to keep going. So that’s what I intend to do. “For God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
In the words of the great orator Samwize Gamgee
“It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened. But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something. That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.”
It took me a while to find my footing and give my fear to Jesus in this coronavirus world. I’m sure as the weeks progress, there will be setbacks and fear will try to creep in, but as Samwise and Jesus teach us, we need to hold on to the good in this world, and the good of God, all of which are worth fighting for.