Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘#coronavirus’

I remember one year ago, today. I was so excited that our son was returning from his six months at YWAM in New Zealand, where he had also travelled for a mission short mission trip to Thailand. We had missed him and were so excited to learn of his experiences.

We were also eager for him to get home, on Canadian soil, for the word Coronavirus spread was quickly becoming a common topic in the news. Days later, on March 11, 2020 the WHO (World Health Organization) declared Covid-19 a pandemic.

I remember the days after our son returned, as each day closures and cancellations were taking place, from concerts, to flights, to cruises, to Disneyland. By the time that week ended, our Spring Break began … in lockdown.

Can you believe it has been nearly a year?

A year of challenge, and change, and adjustment.

We have learned to worship together by Zoom, YouTube, etc … hopefully we have learned that, though the doors to the sanctuary are closed, church is not closed, for we are the church.

Some have lost jobs, others have lost loved ones. Some have lived in fear of leaving their homes, others have lived in fear for they work in the public places, while others have lived in fear of running out of toilet paper. We have all adjusted to (at least) temporary isolation, so as to avoid the virus, to learning to live with the virus with our applied armour of hand washing, masks and physical distance. We have had schools zoomed into our homes and back to class again. The home office has become the norm … perhaps this will be a permanent norm. We have learned to shop following arrows on the floors (and we all know that not everyone has adequately adjusted to this), online or by call, with home delivery of delivery to our car in the parking lot. We have begun to notice and support small, local businesses. We have leaned to wait in lines, socially distanced …

Now we wait in line for a vaccine that will protect us from the virus, protect us from spreading the virus. We are seeing light at the end of this pandemic tunnel. Could a form of normal be in the near future?

When I realized that this pandemic has been with us almost a year, I began to reflect. As I, personally, look over the year I see the struggles of missing being with others. I have missed singing worship songs with my church family, and hugs as we greeted each other. I have missed events, travel, going to movies. I have felt fear, worry for our two daughters who have a disease that makes them more at risk of a severe response to Covid, if they contracted it. I have felt sorrow for my mom, who lives so very alone and whom I cannot visit.

Things that haven’t been a problem are wearing masks (never have to worry if there is food in my teeth), washing hands, being aware of others in public places, online sermons. Even working with online schooling, though not preferable, though fully exhausting, what a joy to still be able to assist students with their learning (and, for some, online was an opportunity to thrive as peer pressure was removed). As one who tends towards introversion, staying home was a delight … most of the time.

Maybe, if you have a moment today, this week … reflect on the past year. Think about what has been hard, what has been good, what you most look forward to.

For me, looking back over this pandemic year, I have been reminded that I was never truly alone.

“In this world you will have trouble,
but take heart be courageous!
I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

Read Full Post »

As this 2020 is sliding in for home, I have been pondering the year, through the rear view mirror … which is how, I expect, most of us have been desiring to view this year.

This has been the year of the Coronavirus disease, resulting in memories of a year that leave a bad taste in one’s mouth (unless you had Covid-19 and lost your sense of taste).

  • isolation
  • toilet paper hoarding
  • cancelled plans
  • halted travel
  • sanitizer
  • online schooling
  • working from home
  • face masks
  • cancelled arts, sporting and other entertainment
  • cancelled plans
  • cancelled parties
  • closed businesses (some permanently)
  • job losses
  • illness (so some)
  • death (sadly, also true for some)

And all of this on top of the non-Coronavirus struggles of life like racism, politics, riots, natural disasters, relationship struggles, ended marriages, illnesses and … murder hornets?!

This Covid Pandemic season has tested us in ways our communities have not been tested in a lifetime. This year with Covid-19 will be talked about in terms of the tough, the struggles, the hard stuff, the losses, the negative.

Yet, as I have been looking back at 2020, there have also been amazing, encouraging and uplifting aspects that have shown human kindness, strength, resilience and love. Truly the cream has risen to the top, as I look more closely at 2020.

  • society is celebrating real community heroes … nurses, doctors, grocery store workers, those who work in senior’s care homes, those who work in daycares, preschools and schools and (add your own)
  • we are learning to say than-you, for through our wants and needs, we are leaning appreciation and gratitude
  • people have had opportunity to really get to know who lives under our own roofs
  • hand crafts, baking, board games and puzzles have reemerged in our homes
  • we opted, choose to stay connected through distanced meet-ups in parking lots with lawn chairs, outside windows of senior’s homes, Zoom meetings, FaceTime, live (online) church services and small groups, online games and even letter writing
  • weddings still happened and were more intimate
  • graduations occurred with great creativity
  • we started noticing others
  • we cleaned out our closet, basements and garages
  • we got out in nature to exercise by biking, hiking, walking, running and (fill in your preference)
  • we began to see that we are part of something bigger, that our actions can have affect on others … that staying home, wearing a mask are little things done with great love … for others.

2020 is coming to a close and it will go down in history as a pandemic year … but this coronavirus storm has also a year when we began to look at our jobs, businesses, education, shopping, needs … at our lives differently. Though we are all looking forward to returning to many of the good things that have been on pause this year, our new focus might not have us return to the rat race of before, maybe, just maybe we will begin to realize that there is more to life than what we had before …

Read Full Post »

Approximately one hundred and sixty years ago, Emily Dickinson wrote a poem illustrating hope as a bird.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -

And sings the tune without the words -

And never stops - at all -



And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -

And sore must be the storm -

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm -



I’ve heard it in the chillest land -

And on the strangest Sea -

Yet - never - in Extremity,

It asked a crumb - of me.

This metaphorical description of hope is as “the thing with feathers”, a “little bird” whose song is heard sweetest in the midst of the storms of life.

It is one of Dickinson’s most popular poems and I expect it is because the truth of her descriptive words resonate in the hearts of those who read it.

Hope … that ethereal quality that is available to us all, that gives sustenance to unfed souls, that keeps us vertical when we think we might drop and that never asks anything in return.

The apostle Paul said, “hope is as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19) and that it “does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us” (Romans 5:5).

Today, this first Sunday of Advent, 2020, we need this hope. We need to be reminded that it flutters all around (and even, in) us. It will not disappoint. And this year, this pandemic year, hope is sweeter than ever.

In the book of Isaiah (40:31), is another feathery metaphor of hope :

“those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Read Full Post »

Old Man in Sorrow
(On the Threshold of Eternity),
by Vincent van Gogh

I remember years ago hearing of the delays of children who had been in orphanages in Romania (known as dictator, Nicolae Ceaușescu’s children). They spent their days in cribs, where they were kept alive with bottles and diaper changes. What they were deficient in was physical contact, stimulation, love.

The impacts of their growing up in that environment went beyond the fact that these rooms full of babies and toddlers were without cooing or crying. These little souls were impacted in their physical, mental, emotional, social and probably every other area of their health and development … all because they were deficient in that which all humans need … human contact, interaction and love.

Now, thirty some years later, another group of humans is experiencing a type of failure to thrive, brought on, not by a nation’s dictator, but by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The news this week had been of a report finding that loneliness is impacting the mental health of Canadians (no doubt others as well). But if we, who are able to go to work, who have the ability to get out of our homes, who have human interaction every day are struggling with our mental health due to loneliness …

what about our seniors?

what about those who are living in isolation?

I have been reading lately that loneliness is a greater fear to those who are alone than Coronavirus. Read that again …

And, some studies hint that during our current pandemic more people may die of the effects of loneliness than of the virus itself.

For those who are isolated from human interaction, stress of this pandemic as well as the the loneliness that accompanies it can mean that they may be at greater risk of heart attack, stroke, depression and even premature death.

“I very much feel my solitude.”

Renata Cafferata (87, Italy)

What that says to me is that this is a need human need that we need to address … and I don’t mean that we need to write to our government officials.

What we need to do it to check in on our neighbors, friends and family who may live alone. Offer to pick up their groceries. Stop by for a visit on their porch or deck, or in their garage (make sure they are bundled up warmly). Take them a meal, drop off flowers, make a call to them, write a note, a letter … make contact with them!

These connections could save a life! This is important … it could be life or death for them!

In an article in The Atlantic, Charles H. Zeanah, a child-psychiatry professor (who was part of a study of orphaned children in Bucharest in 2000), said,

“Imagine how that must feel—to be miserable and not even know that another human being could help.”

He was speaking of babies, or children, who knew no better. They had been born into a world without their need of human interaction and attachment being met.

During this duel pandemic of Covid19 and loneliness, those who are miserable DO know that another human could help … but they are alone.

It is up to the rest of us to ensure that they do not feel the weight of that loneliness … that it does not reach down to the depths of human despair.

This, my fellow humans, especially to those of us who claim the name of Christ, is our opportunity to be the hands and feet of God.

Read Full Post »

You read that title right … there are good things that have come from this Covid 19 pandemic.

Call me Pollyanna if you wish, but my mind seeks to see the good in the bad as it’s method of processing, accepting and moving on from the dark and nasties of life.

The thing is, as I went back to work last week and prepare for the start of a new school year in the week to come, it hit me that there are at least three good things that have come from the Covid 19 pandemic.

The first is hand washing. Not only are we washing our hands, but there are reminders everywhere of how and how long, ensuring that we are not just dipping our hands in water and then drying them. This simple and quick act of protection will probably also help to reduce the spread of viruses beyond Covid 19. According to the CDC, hand-washing alone can reduce respiratory infections by 16% and this practise can reduce the spread of other diseases as well.

The second is that people will not just be encouraged, but will be expected to stay home when sick if one is feeling unwell. Working in a high school I have had the experience of what we call ‘typical’ students cough or sneeze directly towards my face … yikes! Yet, I have also had the experience of working alongside colleagues who have decided to work while sick, spreading their viral germs through the air and on every surface from the photocopier to the door handles. I have to say I actually feel more confident returning to school, with this new social, school and workplace change in thinking to feeling unwell.

The third is the bubble. In North America (and all around the world), we were encouraged to stay home, within our household bubble. Our families were forced to spend time together. Now, Pollyanna-like I may be, I do recognize that this was not a good or safe reality for some, where households are the most dangerous and harmful places to be. But, for the majority, we were involuntarily brought together, under one roof. During this time people learned how to cook their dinners, how to play board games, do puzzles, watch movies, how to garden, go for daily family walks and bike rides. We learned what together means, we might even have learned who lives under our roofs.

There are many unfortunate and even tragic results of the Coronavirus, but I do hope that these three have positive changes in our thinking and in our communities, long term.

Read Full Post »

Me or we?

Sometimes our questions come down to that one question …

Me or we?

When we believe that our actions do not have any impact on those around us … when we think that our desires come before anyone else … when we hold to the perspective that we are in control of our own destinies we are living in the me world.

When we consider how our actions impact those around us … when others are considered in the seeking of having our desires met … when we recognize that our destinies are in the hands of a greater power … and we care for the needs of others who we share community with, we are living in a bigger world … the real world.

We are now living in a time when we need to abandon the me for the we.

Now is the time to clean out the stuff in our homes that we truly do not need and prepare it for donation to those who have need. To reach out to help our neighbors who might not be able to get out to get essentials. To read good books, to try new recipes, to take a walk in our neighborhoods, to play games. To use technology, for calls and FaceTime gatherings. To get to know the people who live under our own roofs.

Switching out our thinking from me to we.

It is now the time to listen to what health experts are saying, suggesting, imploring. It is now the time to look at the needs of those around us, of how our pursuit of me could put others in possible danger.

I recently read an article from the Boston Globe, written by Mattia Ferraresi, who is a writer for the Italian newspaper Il Foglio. (The subtitle of the article is, “Many of us were too selfish to follow suggestions to change our behavior. Now we’re in lockdown and people are needlessly dying.”)

Ms. Ferraresi said, of the affects of the lockdown in Italy :

“Strangely, it’s also a moment in which our usual individualistic, self-centered outlook is waning a bit. In the end, each of us is giving up our individual freedom in order to protect everybody, especially the sick and the elderly. When everybody’s health is at stake, true freedom is to follow instructions.”

May we learn from what other nations had to learn the hard way. May we acknowledge that this world does not revolve around me but that we share this world, are co-dependent on each other for both joy and for survival of life.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor (WE) as yourself (ME).’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:36-40

Read Full Post »

People hoarding toilet paper and sanitizer, limits on travel, cancelling of sporting and entertainment events, stock markets plunging and social media informing the populace on COVID-19 …

” … be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic … for the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
– Deuteronomy 31:6

We have observed students, parents and travellers roll their eyes, ignore professional advice or grow in fear each day.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” -John 14:27

I, myself, have the Wolrd Health Organization and the John Hopkins COVID-19 Global Map (in real time) in open tabs on my laptop, so that I can keep up to date on the facts of this global pandemic.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Yet, with all of the cancellations and changes, with all of the craziness, with all of this doom and gloom … there is a realization that we are not in control. With that realization comes the acceptance that our hope, humanly speaking, is not within our own humanity.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
– Psalm 46:1

In 1948, after the horrors of the end of WW2, people realized that, though the war was over, a new age had dawned … the Atomic Age … and people were perhaps even more fearful than during the war years.

It was then that C.S. Lewis wrote an essay titled, On Living in an Atomic Age (which was published with other essays in a book called Present Concerns: Journalistic Essays.

It would seem than many have been dusting this essay off lately … still wise words for tough times. I have gone ahead and replaced “atomic bomb” with “coronavirus” (noted by italics).

In one way, we think a great deal too much of the coronavirus. “How are we to live in an coronavirus age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the coronavirus was spreading: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by coronavirus, let that virus when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about the coronavirus. It may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but it need not dominate our minds.

“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

May we not allow fear to guide us.

May we be found spending this time doing sensible things … things like making good meals, washing our hands, offering others assistance, taking walks to breath in the fresh air, reading good books, cleaning out our closets, making long distance calls, stretching our bodies, praying, loving others in practical and spiritual ways … posting encouragement on social media.

Let us love.

“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”
– Proverbs 12:25 

Read Full Post »

Karla Sullivan

Progressive old soul wordsmith

Becoming the Oil and the Wine

Becoming the oil and wine in today's society

I love the Psalms

Connecting daily with God through the Psalms

Memoir of Me

Out of the abundance of my heart ,I write❤️

My Pastoral Ponderings

Pondering my way through God's beloved world

itsawonderfilledlife

looking for wonder in everyday life

What Are You Thinking?

Theology is a conversation, and you're invited.

Sealed in Christ

Sixth Seal Ministries

Amazing Tangled Grace

A blog about my spiritual journey in the Lord Jesus Christ.

FisherofMen

Giving a unique view and input on information to help individuals establish a concrete perspective on terms, words, topics and the world around them.

Following the Son

One man's spiritual journey

Fortnite Fatherhood

A father's digital age journey with his family and his faith

Raise Them Up

Parenting with Purpose

Frijdom

encouraging space to think deeply