It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times ...

Charles Dickens begins his classic book, A Tale of Two Cities, with these opening words: " It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."
These words seem applicable to our time as well.

Right now we are a full two weeks into the worldwide declared coronavirus, or covid-19 pandemic.  Right now, we are attempting to "flatten the curve" by maintaining "social distancing" of six feet or more; avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, and ''self-isolating" at home as much as possible.

These are new terms for all of us.  This is a new scenario for most of us.  And it can also be the best times amid what many also view as the worst times.

It's a great time to take a walk.  Yes, for many of us, the luxury of taking a walk in the middle of what would normally be working hours,  is quite novel.  And wonderful.

Once we get past the guilt of not actually working from home at that very minute, (there's plenty of work before and after), we begin to realize that something good is coming out of something bad.  Haven't we seen that before?

Remember Genesis 50: (20)?  This is where Joseph cries out to his humbled brothers, (who had sold him into slavery over thirteen years earlier), and says, essentially,  "what you meant for evil, God made for good."

That is what our God does.  He takes the evil and turns it into good.  How many times have we experienced this throughout our lives?  Unfortunately, we often have to go through hard times to slow down, get back to the essentials, (no toliet paper jokes here),and draw closer to Him.

There have been many social media postings about the benefits to our current forcibly simplified lifestyles.  People are staying home.  Spending more time with family and friends.  Reading books.  Listening.  Resting.  Excercising.  Being creative.  Making art.  Spending less.  Playing games.  Writing letters.  Cooking from scratch.  Trying new receipes.  Deep cleaning.  Organizing.  Listening.  Praying.  Spending more time with God.  Dancing.  Worshiping.

So, back to the walk.  It was an exercise in overcoming fear for me.  Since August, I've been struggling with limited lung function due to an underllying chronic (non-contagious) lung infection.  I had (undetected) double pneumonia in the fall.  I had a bronchoscopy in late Jan. (still waiting for final results from that).  While on antibiotics, I'm good.  As soon as I'm off, the fevers, fatigue and coughing return.  I'm praying and being prayed for and believing in healing.  The body just doesn't know it yet.  

So taking a 30 minute walk today was an exercise in overcoming fear of respiratory failure.

I left armed with a resue inhaler and a cell phone.  Neither was needed.  As the walk transpired, I became aware of so many new things.  The roads are emptier than usual.  Mostly work trucks, yard guys, garbage trucks, and golfers, are what is seen.

(And, hey all you golfers out there....what a joy for you to get to continue.  But watch that congregating in more than groups of 10!  And I guess you must be related, to be so close to others in those golf carts, and not 6ft apart?)

Anyway, I also got to meet and talk with a neighbor across the lake.  (Is it a lake or a pond?)  There's been more of that happening too - people meeting with and talking with their neighbors.

I noticed something else.  Many garage doors are up.  (Don't tell that to the people who police these kinds of things.)  It made me wonder if this was a type of invitation to let people informally know they were at home and available for conservation if others were interested?  Or perhaps in need of social interaction but too shy to ask?

Anyway, it's a great time to be outside.  Take walks.  Rediscover the beauty of God's creation.  Deep breathe.  Yes, expand those airways!  Talk with your neighbors.  Get to know them.  Check on the elderly, especially, and see if they need anything.

This may be a bad time to catch a bad virus, but it's a great time to stay home to avoid and keep from spreading it, and improve our health overall with increased exercise, time outside, and healthier eating too.  With life moving at a slower pace right now, there's time to eat healthier, instead of drive-thru junk food and whatever else we throw into our mouths when we're running behind and hungry.  (Of course people with healthy lifestyles incorporate thoughtful eating, meal shopping and food prep into their busy lives already.)

About halfway through my walk,  I noticed something in the woods.  (How my dad loved these "nature preserves",  that can never be developed.)  Amidst some lush, large, green leaves was a single purple flower.  It's newly-blossomed beauty gently called out to all who pass, a message of hope.  (Romans 15:13)

This virus won't last forever.  But, in the meantime, we are adapting to many new ways which may remain afterwards, too.  We'll be cleaner and healthier and stronger and more tech-savvy and relaxed and closer to others on the other side of this.

So, yes.  Wash your hands.  Cover your mouth when you sneeze.  Stay home when you are sick.  Take care of your elderly neighbors.  Draw close to the Lord and He will draw close to you.  (James 4:8; Jeremiah 29:12-14)

And....take a walk.

"Great are the works of the Lord; They are studied by all who delight in them."
(Psalm 111:2)