Recently, the governor of Georgia said that our State would begin to open back up after being in lock down for three to four weeks. I’ve lost count of the actual days and weeks because there are so many layers of this “stay at home” thing.
There’s the national layer and the state layer and the local county layer. All I know is that I own a box of masks and a box of gloves, leftover from my chemo treatment days, and at times I use them! My freezer is stocked—still—and I have plenty of filtered water!
As I read and listened to everyone weighing in on what is right and what is wrong, I also realize: Someone has to take the first step. Covid-19 is not going away overnight. It will be with us—on and off—for some time. So, what do you do? What do I do, especially since I love being with friends, family, and outside at this time of the year?
Balance and pivot work. Pivot is an old word with new meaning and understanding. We learn to pivot in this environment. Basketball players pivot on the court. Think about it. This is a natural part of that sport, and it can work here because there’s not anger or distrust involved. You just pivot and move in another direction safely, even if that means doing less than what you once did for a little while longer. I get it.
I’m probably not going to head out on Friday to any of the places the governor mentioned as opening back up. Visiting my local fitness hangout will be tempting. Before it closed, I was actually lifting light weights and saw and felt the difference in my chemo recovering body. So, I’ll give that a try soon but not necessarily at the end of this week.
Then while I thought through these things and considered how I would go forward for the rest of the week, a verse of Scripture ran through my mind. God speaks to us through His Word and most of the time, it’s just a short portion of Scripture that challenges my thinking. This morning it was a verse Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “Conflicts without and fears within.” That’s it!
When I looked the verse up, I read: “For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus . . .” (2 Corinthians 7:5-6).
I don’t know about you, but this “shelter in place time” has been filled with some very meaningful moments, but it also has contained some harassments. Only once did I feel a touch of fear, and that was after I had “feasted” for hours on news updates regarding the virus.
British missionary Amy Carmichael really hit the nail on the head when she wrote this child-like poem: “A centipede was happy ‘til one day, a toad in fun asked, ‘Pray, which leg goes after which?’ Which strained the centipede’s mind to such a pitch that he lay distracted in a ditch, considering how to run.”
I can certainly identify with the poor centipede, especially right now with all the floating questions and shifting answers: What is the right thing to do? How should I walk forward? Is it safe? Will people be balanced in what they do?”
“I think there are a good many toads in our world,” writes Amy, “and sometimes, not in fun at all but very seriously manage ‘to strain our minds to such a pitch,’ that instead of going on in simplicity, we may very easily find ourselves distracted in a ditch, not running, but only considering how to run.”
While the apostle Paul battled conflicts inside and out, his bottom line rested on God’s wisdom and strength. He knew the pathway he had been given him to walk. The coming of Titus, his friend, brought comfort, encouragement, and the motivation he needed to “stay out of the ditch.”
Each one of us, can be a toad or a friend like Titus. I do pray as we go forward into this world of new norms, we will be careful, generous in our hearts and minds toward others, and aware of the tremendous gift we have been given—to live fully each day. —I think it is time for some sunshine!