Last weekend when the weather was sunny and cool, the Little Sugar Creek Greenway in Charlotte was crowded with dog-walkers, joggers, and bicyclists. It was lovely.
The Greenway is a low-lying walking/biking path that floods often after heavy storms. Along the path are regularly placed signs warning of the dangers. This is not the place to walk your dog during a thunderstorm.
This warning sign (above) reminds us to be careful ourselves and to look out for others in trouble. I would like to post these signs on every screen, street corner, and sidewalk.
Some of us are drowning. We are drowning in Zoom meetings, Go-To-Meetings, Google Hangouts and Skype meetings. We are drowning in phone calls, texts, and emails. We are drowning in grant proposals, worship prep and trying to make it okay that our graduations, weddings, funerals, and birthday parties are not what we expected.
I have several friends planning virtual ordinations. There will be no laying on of hands the way the early disciples did it and this makes my heart hurt.
We (who are threatened with drowning) can take precautions. We can rest up. We can refrain from gorging ourselves on junk food before leaping into the deep. We can cling to life preservers (also called “therapists.”) We can stay close to the Life Guard (also known as Jesus.)
And – at least as importantly – we can help others who might be drowning. One of the best things to offer is encouragement to step back from the flood. If you are a supervisor, encourage your staff to take a nap in the sun. If you are the parent of a school-aged student, offer lessons in cookie baking and dirt digging. If you are in contact with “essential workers” thank them profusely – preferably with gift cards and huge tips.
We can prevent pandemic drowning. We can prevent our own pandemic drowning and the pandemic drowning of our colleagues and loved ones. Sometimes people need permission to stop. Sometimes we need encouragement to step away from our computers and our phones.
I love it when people ask me, “What is giving you life today?” so, I’ll ask you: “What’s giving you life on this particular day in Pandemic World?”
This is a really good time to toss people a life preserver. Just like the person in the picture above, everybody is walking around with an ! above their heads. Let’s keep this in mind as we connect with them today.