Updated: Sep 6
The past couple months have been filled with non-stop information regarding COVID-19, the novel Coronavirus. I will spare you the details of my full rendition of the disease, it’s spread, the world’s response, and the myriad of restrictions.
What I won’t spare you from, dear reader, are 10 random thoughts that are rattling around in my brain.
Since life has been a bit interrupted lately, I have had some time to reflect on “social distancing” and “sheltering in place.” As for me and my family, we are blessed with a unique and flexible family dynamic and we probably have one of the least affected situations. But, I know that every person has a unique story within these circumstances.
Here are my 10 encouraging, enlightening, educational thoughts from my ever churning thought pile:
1. Our brains are constantly adapting and re-orienting: The other night, my family was having a movie night snuggle party. We were watching an animated cartoon about a fictional monster. The opening scene has the young protagonist going out to, ya know, do some stuff. My immediate response was “Where is she going?! We are supposed to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary.” My brain was putting quarantine restrictions on a fictional cartoon character. It is amazing to me how quickly I added those layers of thought.
2. The name of the disease is Coronavirus disease or COVID-19: Can we all use those names and not “Chinese Flu” or any other variation of those words pertaining to Asian culture? Calling it the “Chinese Flu” helps to create an atmosphere of racism, fear, hate, and a bunch of other nastiness. Some people may not agree with that statement. However, I have family members who have experienced out-right racism, even while pumping gas, over the last few weeks. Even if you argue “it is a location based name,” just stop. It really isn’t that difficult to use the disease’s appropriate name and be more helpful in protecting our Asian brothers and sisters.
"It really isn’t that difficult to use the disease’s appropriate name and be more helpful in protecting our Asian brothers and sisters."
3. A note for extroverts: You are not alone. I know it may feel like “social distancing” may make you want to pull your hair out. Something that has been useful to me during times when I am unable to interact with as many people, is taking the time to go deeper with someone. Either someone who is in your house (spouse or children) or someone you can communicate with via phone, email, text. As a raging extrovert, I always crave contact with others. I am just choosing to frame my contact around depth not breadth at this moment.
"As a raging extrovert, I always crave contact with others. I am just choosing to frame my contact around depth not breadth at this moment."
4. A note for introverts: I’ve seen so many online posts stating that introverts have always been prepared for this moment. “You mean I get to stay home, in my comfy clothes, and not talk to anyone? Awesome!” The world has taken a little pause, don’t self-isolate to your detriment. Don’t let these beautiful moments of partial or temporary isolation pass you by. Utilize this time to recharge and invest in yourself.
5. A note for parents: I know the time off school and the interruption of normal life activities were not planned. Take a moment to enjoy your children as they are right here and now. If you are trying to work from home and they are bouncing around you, take a few minutes to explain what you do for work and why it is important. If soccer practice was cancelled and you have an extra few hours, teach your kids to change a tire, sew a button, or bake bread. If they are home more in the evenings, share one of your little known talents with them (Ben and Micah, hope you are ready to learn how to armpit fart!)
6. If or when we receive a stimulus payment from the government, use it well:
I know that my situation is unique and my family’s paychecks haven’t been affected yet. It sounds like the government is attempting to release a stimulus package that will help people with the financial burden of missing work and adding costs. Keep an eye on these stimulus bill proposals. It is possible that the bill will pass and undocumented workers will not receive checks. One of the most unserved and under-appreciated marginalized people groups in the US could be missed. If this happens, and you are able, consider donating a portion of your check to help these communities. (One good place would be Hope Community Center)
7. Before your re-post, share, re-tell, or spread that bit of information, do a little digging: The internet is a fantastic resource and I am considerably more useful because of its wealth of knowledge. However, it is very easy to create “data.” Even if that “data” only has the barest hint of truth. Double check the things you are spreading, please!
8. Stay in contact, but FOR REAL FOR REAL:
I’ve seen this on several “to do while quarantining” posts. We live in a connected age. Check on the elderly people in your life. Reach out to the pregnant women you know. Hit up friends you haven’t spoken with in forever. Email your missionary friends who are abroad. Thank the nurses and doctors you know. Connect with your friends who may miss paychecks. It isn’t hard to make someone’s day right now, take advantage of the opportunity.
"It isn’t hard to make someone’s day right now, take advantage of the opportunity."
9. Get something done, FINALLY!
As some of you may know, I run a small handyman side business. Which basically means: I don’t do any house projects at my own house because I am doing them elsewhere for other people. My wife was pleasantly surprised when I finally put up outlet and switch covers around the house. Take a moment and think of the things that always get bumped down your to do list and see if you can get them hammered out!
10. Pay attention to the most at risk around you. And, no, I’m not talking about those vulnerable of getting the disease: Social distancing does not mean that we need to stop caring for those around us. Isolation can be a nightmare for: recovering addicts, those with depression, people in difficult marriages, and children who use school as a safe place, just to name a few. Join me in praying for these people and if God puts a name on your heart, spend the time to reach out to them.
"Social distancing does not mean that we need to stop caring for those around us. Isolation can be a nightmare for: recovering addicts, those with depression, people in difficult marriages, and children who use school as a safe place, just to name a few."
Thanks for bearing with my thoughts. I don’t have a master plan for how this whole thing will play out. I am, however, acutely aware that our culture is changing.
It remains to be seen how much of these changes will be permanent and what the world will look like when the disease has run its course.
Overall I would urge Christians everywhere to be doing these two things in the meantime:
Constantly ask Jesus what he has for us in this moment. Be aware!
Sharpen your tools, polish your armor, and be ready to respond. Be ready!
"10 things" is a St. Pete Underground Blog series and opinion editorial of one of our organizations microchurch leaders, Matt Lantz. If you or someone you know is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or need assistance, please refer to the CDC website and World Health Organization To learn more about our missional microchurch communities go to our microchurch page on our website.
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