Over the past week or so, I’ve been waiting for the coronavirus news to settle down. Here’s why: Whether out of prudence, trying to fill empty leadership niches or injecting trust and truth back into the emotional economy, leaders of all kinds have been filling my mailbox with assurances and information. I appreciate their thoughtfulness. This is probably a once-in-a-lifetime crisis, and they want to be helpful. I’m starting to wonder, though, if there’s anything else to think about.
What if “what’s helpful” took on a different cast? Perhaps we could start looking ahead at what’s next. I’m pretty sure about this: Our horizons don’t have to begin and end with COVID-19 as their major landmark.
Wanting to answer my own questions, I would like to start thinking about other things. These include the ideas, events and emotions that will likely emerge once this virus heads back into limbo.
One good place to start: Observing what may have gotten lost in the stampede of my emotions. For example, Spring has sprung. (And yes, “the grass has ris, so I’m wondering where the flowers is….”) Signs of renewed life are appearing everywhere. Love-seeking birds and squirrels are chasing each other. The weeds in my back yard are turning green. When I walk outside, the sun warms me. The ground is giving off its particularly fresh-and-fetid odors.
If past and present moments are the seeds of the future, I take heart from what I strongly believe will take place soon enough. Even if sports seasons may have tanked for the near-term, kids will soon again be thumping their fists into well-worn baseball gloves. Members of track teams will continue to stretch their limbs every day. Soon enough, online exercise videos for seniors will give their functions back to Silver Sneakers® group classes.
Right now, shuttered churches are scrambling to stay in touch with their members. It won’t take long, though, for church leaders to re-fashion their programs so that they more closely match available assets. Relieved of some of their organizational burdens, pastors are already re-thinking the shape their congregations will take once the turmoil quiets down. Newly minted spiritual scriveners will get better at churning out helpful thoughts-and-prayers.
What else might be in my line-of-sight?
These tribulations are going to push me even more forcefully back to what’s truly important, what’s possible, what’s righteous. COVID-19 has exposed self-indulgence, so I’m not going to let selfishness or greed slip by unnoticed where they crop up—including inside of my soul. I want to learn from the selfless example of medical workers, and will cement my life goals in place so that they match the courage I’m seeing in the healthcare community. Alongside people like you, I’m going to affirm again how dependent I’ve become on others. Like you, I’ll get even better at gratitude. Generosity will grow across the world.
What’s happening now seems like a winnowing or a purging—both ideas Scriptural and both ideas hopeful. As God cleans out the muck from our souls and the Spirit re-invigorates us with abundant gifts, we will emerge better than we were before. Because our mettle has been tested—and because what’s good and godly will have prevailed—we will not easily slip back into the mindless foolishness of thinking of ourselves as minor gods come to Earth. There’s a lot more to think about than what’s filling our minds right now.
As this crisis passes, I hope you can find your own over-the-horizon thoughts.
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