Our last couple Shabbat encouragements have focused on some positive takeaways from such a worldwide challenge as the coronavirus. The virus brings home how the acts of each one of us matter, positively and negatively. It reveals the dangers of secrets and reminds us to be honest with others, and with ourselves. Health is the great equalizer of the rich and those with less material success. We are reminded that having faith is a blessing beyond words.
As the weeks have unfolded and new developments occur, we can see even more clearly how our choices, in life and in having faith, will dictate the outcomes yet to be. I in no way mean to make light of the very real hurdles that could unfold. Yet living in that space accomplishes very little. A more positive outlook in the here and now, brought into clearer focus by this disease, can move us even further into a place of peace.
This week’s positive takeaways:
As with any flu, the precautions to cover our mouths appropriately when sneezing and coughing, are in place. These are not just about lessening the spread of disease, but should be usual practice as a kindness to those around us. The other hygiene suggestions such as not going to work sick, and hand washing are best practices for living healthier lives all the time.
Those at greater risk are those with already underlying health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Your body is a temple. This virus is a good wake up call to those not taking good care of themselves, including not getting enough sleep nor eating well. Now is the time to be sure to take your medications, get sufficient rest and regular exercise, make healthy food choices.
More than at any other time, this is the time to put others and their needs ahead of your own. This is especially true when interacting with the more fragile populations, older people and those with compromised health. Make that phone call to make sure they have what is needed in the way of food and supplies before yourself.
It definitely hampers our American lifestyle to not be able to congregate in schools, events, gatherings. I am confident this is not a permanent change. I even saw coverage of a boy who had his Bar Mitzvah last week through Zoom! Kudos to creativity! Have the “We will survive!” (and well!) mindset.
During this season of less large group interaction and less travel, there is the opportunity to strengthen our nuclear families and neighborhoods as well as more time to work on our own inner healings. There are and for the short term will be less distractions from this important love work that we all need.
The financial challenge is real and will worsen, at least temporarily. Such a time provides the perfect training ground to learn to live on less, to buy locally, to cut some of the frills. We are a first world country with countless advantages we’ve come to take for granted. So many live so happily on so much less. Although I am confident those great times will return, having this period of reality check of priorities, to me, is welcomed.
As health care services may reach capacity in the days that lie ahead, perhaps our leaders will be incentivized to work together for positive solutions. Know the symptoms of the coronavirus to not overtax our already overstretched health system.
To the “powerful” who have felt they call the shots, this virus has perhaps been the only way those so inclined have been able to see the truth. None of us have control, only the ability to speak into our life’s path by the choices we make. Perhaps this season has given them new understanding of the suffering of others who daily live with anxiety and fear from feelings of lack of control. Perhaps both extremes are working closer to the knowledge that only our Abba is in control. The coronavirus has been the great equalizer.
As Thomas Paine so aptly wrote in “American Crisis”, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Not unlike seeking independence from a foreign country, we are being challenged to separate ourselves from some of the illusory idols we naturally have come to rely upon for happiness– group recreation, carefree travel, seemingly unlimited resources, good health, easy provision of our needs. As we learn to live with less, may our lives be filled even more with what truly sustains us, all that we really need and especially so during these times, the love of our Abba.
As we each do our parts, as we share His Love, our very souls are being tried, and tested, for we have many choices in how to respond. Perhaps the best contribution we can make is to bring our light to others, the light of Yeshua who takes away all fear, in whose arms we rest. Stay encouraged.