The view from the front porch has changed over the last couple of years. We live in a different world than we did back then. You've changed, and I've changed, too. I'm older now. Dumber than ever. More realistic perhaps. Or maybe not. Maybe I'm just more transparent with my reality now. I'm heavier than I used to be. Can't see as well and can't hear as well. I'm older now.
The circumstances of COVID-19 (isn't it amazing how some phrases can so quickly become household phrases?) cause many to take a moment to reflect and cause some to take several moments to react. Reflection or reaction. Two responses to life that lead us down very different paths. Which path are you on? Do you ever feel like you've got one leg on one path and one on the other? Visualize that humorous picture for a moment. Here we go walking down diverging paths with our legs spread wide trying to walk down both paths. Eventually, we will end up doing the splits and falling flat on our faces (or perhaps the other direction - don't visualize that one too much please). As human beings, one would think, at least from my front porch, that we have to choose. Are we going to be reflectors or reactors?
Psalm 27 paints a portrait for us from a king who made a decision to be a reflector. You might consider joining me briefly in reading the Psalm. It's not a long one.
David gives us insight into his quiet time on numerous occasions, and Psalm 27 is one of them. He openly talks about fear and loneliness. He references anxiety and the unknown. Reading David's journal takes me to the enemies I fight daily. Physical, emotional, and spiritual enemies struggle within me to steal my peace and joy. Fear and desperation fill the space of the fight. I can't make it on my own. As I consider all those in our community who are fighting similar battles, I wonder how many are trying to make it on their own.
The idea of social distancing makes it difficult to join others in the fight. One of my wife's coworkers pointed out that we are social people creating to need each other. She coined a new phrase - "physical distancing yet socially connecting." The new phrase requires creativity and energy, but isn't the value of community worth the creativity and energy required? Do we need crafted environments to care for another, to enjoy one another, to hear one another? Limiting groups of 10 or more don't stop us from living. Here are some ideas.
1. Walk outside and try to find a neighbor you've never met. Smile, wave, and consider initiating a conversation. You don't have to be in someone's face to hear his story.
2. Call a senior adult you know and see if she needs you to run to the grocery store for her or pick up her medicine. She is afraid. You are not. Do something.
3. Trim your bushes that desperately need trimming. You'll feel better. Your neighbors will appreciate you. You might actually get some blooms that have been kept back. Clean your driveway. It's amazing what clean concrete will do for the senses.
4. Spend some time on your porch or just sitting down in the grass in your yard. Soak in the sun (with sunscreen please) and breathe deeply. Thank God for the ability to breathe.
5. Read a new book or start a new Bible study.
6. Write cards and encouraging notes for someone.
7. Take some games to a foster family trying to figure out what to do with their new time together.
8. Prepare a meal for someone who can't get to the store and who can't do takeout. Or even better, support a small business by buying a meal for takeout and delivering it to someone with a smile. You can leave it at their door and give them a smile through a window.
9. Talk to the people in your house about their own fears and dreams and hopes for the future.
10. Play your favorite music loudly and dance around the house. Who cares if someone is looking? Use physical distancing to your advantage.
11. Play worship music and mediate on the faithfulness of God. Use your time to enter into His presence and to know Him more fully than you've known Him before.
12. Record yourself reading some books and share them with your children and grandchildren. Post them online so children in a children's hospital perhaps can log into them and hear them. Maybe sing some songs, make some crafts, and connect online with folks at a Ronald McDonald House, in a cancer ward, or at a senior living facility. In addition to the diseases these people are fighting, now their social interaction has been take as well.
David celebrates in Psalm 27:6. "And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord." Let not your head be low. Let our Father lift our heads by the power of His Spirit. Don't let the physical, emotional, and spiritual enemies defeat you. Offer sacrifices of joy to the world around you. Sing. Sing loudly and make melody to the Lord!!! The world needs to see Hope that comes from Christ alone. I choose today to be a Reflector. Will you choose with me?