Yesterday, I shared an ‘air hug’ with a woman I didn’t know. Today, I found out that there are no identified cases of this latest virus in my county.
Here’s the thing.
After the world stopped on 11 September, people were a little kinder: folks let other folks go first at four-way stops. Young people helped older people across the street or carried their groceries or mowed their lawns or shoveled their snow.
And here we are, in the midst of something, a nearly unknown ‘thing’. People are panicked, buying all sorts of weird things that won’t keep them healthy (unless they are going to make a zillion pounds of chicken and rice soup or beef burgundy).
The senior pastor at the congregation I am part of shared a few messages over the past few days, all hinging on scriptures related to not having fear.
I have been sharing, in various ways, the verses about being anxious for nothing and about being smart but gentle.
I went to the store yesterday; I usually shop on weekends, so the trip was in my mind more of the same. I did go much earlier than usual because I’d caught wind of the nonsense going on out there. The lot was full and the shelves were empty. The woman I air hugged told me, despite that opening hour was 6am, people had been lined up at 5. We’d been saying ‘scuse me’ and ‘pardon me’ all through the store as we’d weaved our way through the empty shelves and workers doing their best to fill them with what little there was to put out. When we got outside, I saw her and said ‘You made it!’ and we laughed. It was a kind conversation, as were the others I’d had in the past few days.
For me, being smart means not being in crowds unnecessarily. I’ve felt that for the past few months: maybe it’s my inner hermit surfacing more in my aging years. For those who really know me, they will tell you that I have more than an inner hermit, but I digress.
Illness happens. Troubles happen.
But we survive.
The Creator always makes a way.
Even in the worst of times, a remnant of the creation remains.
The remnant are most often those who hold tight to their belief in the Creator.
But here’s the thing: I don’t believe by any means that this is the worst of times.
I believe that my county doesn’t have any cases of the virus yet because that’s just how it is.
Will it show up here?
Or maybe not.
I believe the saying ‘what is for me is for me’ — I don’t think that’s biblical. I’ve heard plenty of people who claim no faith practice, as well as those who are Christ-followers, Hindu, followers of Buddha, Muslims, and others say similar. The point of the saying is that people tend to accept their fate, either because they believe it’s in their own hands or because they believe their future is dependent on Something bigger.
As a Christ-follower, I believe that Something is my Creator. I look forward to the day I get to stand before the holiest of spaces and into eternity. I don’t know the day, cause, or hour. It could be due to a global health crisis. It could be to genetic issues, diagnosed or otherwise. It could be due to a piano falling from the side of a building (think Laurel and Hardy, if you’re old enough), or a pot of cooking with poison in it (according to my Nana, her sister was killed by a pot of greens that had been poisoned).
Regardless, I have to Go, someday. I’d prefer it be peaceful — like slipping into a nap — instead of something horrible or painful or drawn-out. I want to live a very long life; in fact, I’ve already told my beloved that when I turn 100, I want a really cool walking stick (he suggested a staff, like a wizard … how cool is that?!?) and will start smoking a pipe whilst sitting in my rocking chair (I have my Nana’s, which by then will be well over 200 years old).
But however and whenever it happens, no doom and gloom for me. If you could see my last wishes (I’ve already written my will and the wishes are in a book I bought just for that purpose titled something like ‘I’m Dead, So Now What’, which should give you an idea), you’d know that is very true.
No so-called virus is going to put a cloud over me.
Where I come from is greater than that.
Where you come from is greater than that.
So live your life. I mean, be smart — wash hands, be careful — but live.
Air hugs for all.