On the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left Egypt, the whole company of Israel moved on from Elim to the Wilderness of Sin which is between Elim and Sinai. The whole company of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron there in the wilderness. The Israelites said, “Why didn’t God let us die in comfort in Egypt where we had lamb stew and all the bread we could eat? You’ve brought us out into this wilderness to starve us to death, the whole company of Israel!” ...
The riffraff among the people had a craving and soon they had the People of Israel whining, “Why can’t we have meat? We ate fish in Egypt—and got it free!—to say nothing of the cucumbers and melons, the leeks and onions and garlic. But nothing tastes good out here; all we get is manna, manna, manna.”
—Numbers 11: 4-6 (The Message)
There’s a Right Time for Everything
There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:
A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace. .
-Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, The Message
I don’t have to tell anyone that we’re living in a time that’s tough to get though. Like the people of Israel in their times of trouble—after leaving Egypt, the only home they’d known, finding themselves in the uncertain times in the desert, many missing their old familiar way of life, even in slavery—people started to complain.
The familiar passage from Ecclesiastes is reminder that people must “get with the program,” must figure out what’s going on in the time they’re living through,—and so, the proper response so they might live.
Just like we find ourselves today.
What is this like for you?
Each of us have different challenges, and some have experienced terrible tragedy, including loss of life or livelihood for themselves or loved ones.
For others it is tough inconveniences and heaps of restrictions. It’s a time that many of us feel like crying out like that unhappy child having a tantrum—things are NOT the way we wish they would be and it is so hard to keep on living under these restrictions, to keep our guard up—none of us knowing what tomorrow may bring. Together, as God’s people, we can get though this ourselves, but importantly, help each other, too.
Where I live in North Carolina, United States, the months of March, April, May, and June, were a “lockdown time” for us. It was a time we could not go out to places of interest, go visiting, or go to restaurants. People were told to stay inside their homes—to be safe at home. Schools closed their campuses and went online.
The pandemic denied graduating high school and college seniors their last semester of school and all the celebrations that go along with it. Workers in the areas deemed to be essential were directed to continue to work, but with added rules and safeguards. Some of them had terrible decisions whether to quit their jobs to be safe, or to keep working to support their family or the people they serve.
The working world came to a stop in many areas. Billions of people applied for unemployment. I was one of those. During this quarantine time, my husband came back home from the facility where he had been convalescing from a series of falls he’d had in the previous months. The facility provided him with a stable health care environment.
The North Carolina governor started to reopen our state in various phases: moving from “safe at home” to “safer at home” than getting out, but lifting some restrictions—to reopening many of the businesses that had been closed. As our state reopened, we’ve experienced more spread of Covid-19 and with that, our state trying to figure the best response. This lockdown time and quarantine has been hard on everybody. In order to jumpstart the economy, the government issued “stimulus checks’’ to taxpayers.
What have I been doing stuck in the house during this quarantine time? I have a new appreciation of my relationships with family and friends. I have also been using the ZOOM application as well as Facebook, a social utility, to stay connected to people. I have been learning to play my banjo, and practice on my Dobro guitar. I have not gotten a haircut. I have been sorting through things in the house; and doing deep cleaning. I have been doing some much needed yard work. We have also acquired a new to us pet, a cat named Sophie. She is of a “grandma” age, and has been a delight to us.
These days when I’m out, I wear a mask, and am careful to keep the recommended “social distance” of at least six feet apart. Businesses stress the use of hand sanitizing in addition to the use of face masks.
This lock down has not been easy. Americans will prevail, survive, and even thrive in these new conditions. Our God is breathing new life this time. One only has to look find the beautiful and new things unfolding in the everydayness of life.
I returned to work in a retreat center near the end of June 2020. While it was great to see my co-workers, we had to refrain from hugging. We are not allowed to put out paper items, such as magazines and retreat schedules. It was mandatory for workers to wear face masks when in the building’s public areas. Guests are required to wear masks on the shuttle. The masks, while they may be an inconvenience, are for everyone’s protection against the Covid-19 virus.
Upon my arrival at work I am required to get my temperature checked at the Gatehouse. In every building there are reminders about masks and social distancing. Employees and guests are urged to use the hand sanitizer positioned in prominent places.
Our whole way of doing housekeeping has been upended to meet maximum safety standards. We can no longer put out any paper in the rooms, including the organization’s magazine. Our carts have been reorganized, and we can no longer carry used linens, i.e. sheets, pillow cases, and bedspreads, on those carts. At the end of a shift, we go through the laundry area and into the towels location where we stock up, and get the cart ready for the next time. Then we go back through the laundry area; and return the cart to its position and place in line. I know this will eventually work out; but it is a learning process during the time of Covid-19.
Guests have been asked to put bagged trash outside their room each morning if they would like to have the bag removed for the day. Housekeepers have also been asked to sanitize anything a guest could touch. These items range anywhere from the obvious, such as door handles, to the not so obvious, such as thermostats, lamps, and light switches, and the ironing board, hangers, and of course, the iron, as well.
It takes everybody working together to protect all of us in the fight against Covid-19. We are in this together. We will prevail.
The photo of the cat is Sophie. I chose this photo because she came to us around the first of April 2020. She has been a blessing ever since. Pets are another way to help with the stress from the Covid-19. Americans are at their best during tough times. We will come through this.
My mom has been exposed to the virus. She was in her book club meeting. They found out someone tested positive. So she is in quarantine with one more week to go. She is doing ok. It's scary to hear that a family member has been exposed. Yet my dad told me because he wanted me to know the information. It is during this time that even though we need to remain vigilant to the spread of Covid-19; we can be assured that we can always give God our stresses, concerns and worries. He is ever present with us during these turbulent times. One thing for sure, it's good to know that God is always present and a constant in our lives.
What is this time like for you? How are you getting through?
Prayer: Loving God, we pray for us to feel you near to us in this tough time. Please guide us and show us the way. Forgive us when we whine. Keep us from taking out our anxiety and upset at these times on one another. Help us to work together in the world, from those in top leadership to the workers on the front lines, to those wondering what to eat or how to pay their bills, or grieving loved ones lost during this time. Help us to serve as your hands, feet, heart and mind though this time, when that is what you call us to do. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
God bless you
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