"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity,” proclaimed Albert Einstein.
I’m maybe the last to admit it but, COVID-19 is exhausting.
With the hint of fall in the air and more local business and restaurants opening back up for business, we must not forget that we are still living in the midst of a global pandemic.
The reality of COVID-19 takes a toll on us all mentally, emotionally, and physically.
It’s not tiring due to the effects on the body.
It’s because it requires constant vigilance.
It requires vigilance with personal protective equipment (PPE), hand washing, face coverings wearing, social distancing, limiting our time with family, friends at social gathers and even at church.
Perhaps we feel like Habakkuk when he asked God, “Oh Lord, how long must I call for help before you will listen? I shout to you in vain; there is no answer.”
Recently, a high government health official suggested that the pandemic may not ease up until after the summer of 2021.
Since the middle of March, almost seven months have passed, and we all, I think, still looking forward to returning to normal.
But, what will the new normal look like?
Like the hint of fall in the air, there is also a hint of uncertainty.
How will fall sports look like?
How will Halloween be celebrated at the end of October?
I still plan to decorate my yard for the neighborhood children.
But, how will Thanksgiving be?
Will it be with family or just our immediate spouses?
How will Christmas be celebrated at church, in our community and at home?
As I mentioned in a previous article, some people have found this time of social isolation easy to do, while others, like me, have found it hard to be by ourselves.
Some people have started reading more and other spiritual disciplines like journaling.
Some have decided to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
I admire their efforts, but the “Begats” in the Book of Chronicles usually slows people down or makes them stop or skip over.
But, the “Begats” are an important part of understanding the history of the people of God.
Some have taken up new hobbies that can be done around their homes in isolation.
Some people are getting dressed up to take out the trash to the curb, and neighbors are trying to one up neighbors in their dressing up.
Some people are taking up painting, learning a language, knitting, photography, creative writing, learning to play the guitar or other musical instrument.
Some have learned yoga to ease their mental stress.
Others have started a social media pod cast or musical productions on their computer or smart phone.
Others, like me, have delved deeper into gardening.
Both vegetable and floral to be outside and commune with the creator and creation.
It’s interesting that there has been a surge in the cooking arts, especially in the baking of homemade breads.
What would we call comfort food in a time of uncomforting times?
So, what new hobby or interest have you acquired to help pass the time during the pandemic?
But, this is not a new fade.
Over the ages during the time of social upheaval due to public health concerns people have done things to keep themselves together.
For instance, William Shakespeare wrote King Lear while in quarantine from the bubonic plague.
Sir Isaac Newton developed calculus while social distancing at his family farm during the Great Plague of London in 1665.
We all have a choice to see the opportunities in our current environment.
Will we take the time to reflect on what those opportunities may be and take advantage of them?
We pray to soon move beyond COVID-19, but until then, let us be there for one another and uplift each other in the best of ways.
May we use every opportunity we can in the middle of these difficult times to become a better person.
As the writer of Psalms proclaims, “But as for me, I shall sing of your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of your loving kindness in the morning, for you have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress.” — Psalm 59:16
Rev. Frank Chlastak began work as senior minister of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Poplar Bluff on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015.