THE cherry blossoms are blooming in Washington, D.C. I saw pictures in a newspaper. And I noticed our tulips and daffodils are awakening from their winter sleep. And I stopped by the bank to pay our mortgage today. And our 2-year-old grandson Jonathan is learning the difference between green circles and blue triangles.
Life is still happening.
As people self-isolate, and so much of daily life slows down due to efforts to contain the coronavirus, it’s easy to feel alone and afraid. We are made to be in social communities. We are made to be in conversations. We are made to give and receive kindness and love. And when those things stop we feel the loss.
And as I talk with people, I’ve noticed how easy it is to get “sucked into” the 24/7 coronavirus news cycle. The result is that all of life becomes about the coronavirus. So life becomes small and frightening. And then, somehow, hoarding toilet paper makes sense.
So I’ve encouraged myself, and others, to stay informed, but not obsessed. Be cautious, but not alarmist; hopeful, and not fearful. Follow good health practices, especially washing hands and using sanitizer. Go to the doctor if you are sick. Practice patience and kindness. And stay connected to people by phone calls, texts and email. It’s all good for our souls.
And there are other things to care for our souls. Call the neighbor about whom we might be concerned. Be people of prayer. Read the comics in the newspaper. Eat a piece of chocolate cake. Go for a walk. Send an old-fashioned hand written note to a friend. Watch your favorite movie on Netflix, again. Feel the warmth of the sun (it does really shine in Western Pa. , sometimes). Get “take out” from a local restaurant. Look at the beauty of the stars in the blue, black night sky. And smell the coffee as it brews in the morning.
We can be people of hope and life. We can trust the words, “God is a refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, therefore we will not fear” (Psalm 46:1). We can share the gift of being a “non-anxious presence” with everyone around us.
And check out those cherry blossoms in Washington.
REV. Dr. GLENN HINK is pastor of first Presbyterian Church, Sharon.