Thoughts from your regional minister
By Ken Marston
We are living in a time of paradox.
As human beings we are by nature social beings. We need to be in the presence of other people. We even need to touch and be touched by others. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic forces us to limit human interaction because such interaction can potentially kill us and those around us, or at least lead to great bodily harm.
In addition, I read recently that even though only one percent of those infected with this virus will die, an additional nineteen percent will be hospitalized and end up with permanent long-term health problems that range from damage to the heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, muscles, not to mention a greater risk of stroke.
So, the very thing we need to grow, live, and thrive, is also the very thing that has the potential to do us harm if it doesn’t kill us. Thus, the paradox.
As I visit with pastors and church leaders, I am beginning to sense that this time of social distancing is starting to take its toll on our relationships with each other. The desire to be in fellowship and worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ is bumping up against the need to stay separated, and it is affecting us emotionally and relationally. We are becoming less patient and compassionate, and more irritable and angrier.
What do we do about this?
Remember that we are called to love one another as Christ has loved us. Spend more time in the presence of God through prayer and the reading of scripture.
Take a deep breath and count to ten when you start feeling anxious or irritated towards others.
Be compassionate, not just kind. Use your imagination to see things from another’s point of view and how they might be feeling in this time.
Use technology (i.e., telephones and computers) to talk more frequently with each other. If you do not have a computer, take the time to write a letter or send a “thinking of you” card to a friend or loved one.
I know it is not the same as a hug or a pat on the back, but it can be enough to help us weather this storm.