There are changes that alter our view – a devastating storm, someone close passing away, a new baby or marriage or move to a new place. All of these are common to most and while they may be disruptive for a while, we eventually find a way through or around to a place where we can say we have been there and done that and move on. We learn a lesson or two and are better prepared for challenges that lie ahead. This not the kind of change I am talking about.
WWI and WWII. The Great Depression. Pearl Harbor. Man on the moon. 9/11. And now Covid. World changing events that instill wonder and fear and create a new paradigm of life as we know it. I remember my parents and grandparents who came through the WWs and the depression saving all kinds of stuff for reuse: bread bags, twist ties, glass jars. I think this is probably why most of us have a “junk drawer” in our homes. Clothes were never thrown out but given away to other family or friends or cut up and made into patchwork blankets or used as rags in the garage or barn. Nothing was wasted because in their time everything was expensive and much was in short supply. I was barely born for the man on the moon but was 31 when 9/11 happened. I remember the feeling of fear that day as we all watched the events unfold before our eyes not knowing where they would lead or when they would stop. I had been married for 5 years and had a 2 year old and 1 year old at the time and was working as an associate pastor. There was just this feeling that the world would never be the same…like something had been lost that we would never get back and we didn’t know how to live without it. But at least then we had each other.
Today…now…whatever this is that is happening…has done more to separate us than at any time in our history. You can say that it is a good thing we have the internet and social media at this time, and that may be true to a certain extent. But being online can only go so far. We humans are social beings and there is no connection like an in-person connection where you can touch someone, hug someone, shake a hand or pat on the back or whisper in an ear. You can say what you like but social media cannot take the place of being there with someone…for real. It is a poor substitute for the intimacy we all need in times of trouble. Online sources tell us to look here…believe this…hate that…don’t trust them…you can’t read that…we know what’s best for you…trust us, not them. In the extreme it causes us to feed on one another through the safety of a screen rather than reach out to one another in the vulnerability of shared moment.
I am not the most social person: I don’t have a large circle of friends, don’t like crowds, can be happy just watching the wind blow on the front porch with my wife or puttering alone in my shop, but even I can see that this isolation cannot go on for much longer without doing permanent damage to all of us. Who wants to live in a world where everything is done through a computer or phone screen…with no interaction with real live people…where those you must come in contact with are wearing masks and keeping their distance afraid of you and you of them? They tell us we’ll give it to someone or get it from someone so we cannot be together anymore: close our banks, our schools, our stores and restaurants…tell us we cannot be close in our own homes…close our churches. For nearly a year we have been taught to fear and canceled if we ask why…especially if we’re conservative. I hope this is not all planned…divide then conquer…I hope.
I’m not trying to be negative, just honest thoughts…do justly, love mercy, walk humbly. I do not believe this time will last forever. The vaccine will hopefully help move us forward and restrictions will ease. And I do believe there is a plan, not to divide us but bring us together – a plan beyond any of us can see or understand fully and not orchestrated by those in positions or power. It began with “let there be light”, was put in motion when “unto us a child was born”, and was sealed with “it is finished”.
Those three statements were the most defining moments in this world’s history. They changed the world more than any war or surprise attack or technical achievement…or world-wide pandemic.
Hope is built on nothing less…