“Social distancing.” It’s a new and unwelcomed term that we’ve all been recently forced to learn and, now, to practice. As COVID-19 spreads like wildfire around the world, medical authorities tell us it’s time to physically distance ourselves from others and to avoid all large public gatherings. Since this highly contagious virus can be spread by individuals with no apparent symptoms, the only way to attempt containment is for all of us to keep a “safe” physical distance of six feet from non-family members.
The recent Daytona 500 is an example of what we don’t want to have happen. As Driver Ryan Newman approached the finish line, going all out to win the prestigious race, he ended up in a horrific crash yet miraculously survived.
In life, unlike in a race, we each have a different finish line. And none of us knows when our finish line might arrive. In our race of life, we’re not competing against anyone other than ourselves.
Do you ever feel like George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life? As though life just hasn’t worked out according to your dreams, as though everything you’ve tried to accomplish has seemed to fall just short? Does everyone else’s “highlight reel” on Instagram or Facebook makes your life look like mediocrity in grainy black and white by comparison?
The truth is, most of us feel that way at times. At least I know that I do. How about you?
Let’s face it. Life is not fair. Hard things happen to wonderful people. Loved ones die. Diseases strike. Children are born with disabilities. Natural disasters hit. Businesses go under. The list goes on and on, and the longer you live, the more aware you become of the many kinds of suffering people endure. Pain is universal; it just looks different in every life. Things don’t always tie up neatly with a pretty bow and prayers aren’t always answered the way we would hope.
In just a few days, we will be gathering with family and friends for this wonderful annual feast, enjoying turkey and dressing and all the “fixings” and being grateful, once again, for pants with elastic waistbands.
But what about the real reason for the celebration? It’s not uncommon for more Thanksgiving time and energy to be spent on the creation of Black Friday shopping lists than on thanking God for His many blessings.
I have a challenge for you. Actually, it’s more of a plea. Today, I’m asking you to do something countercultural and highly impactful.
All it will take is a few cents and a few minutes. Who, honestly, can’t spare that?
(And if your alarm bells are going off, please know that there is absolutely nothing in this for me.)
Here is my simple “ask”:
Today, we celebrate “Veterans Day” in America. I’m so thankful that our nation still affirms and highlights our Veterans on this day every year. Amazingly, we haven’t changed the actual day of remembrance to accommodate a three-day weekend, and we don’t merely associate Veterans Day with the reason to have a barbeque or mattress sale or to begin a season like we do with Memorial Day.
We stop and say “thank you” to those heroes who selflessly served or are still serving our nation, as well we should.
Have you ever met someone with a loving heart as big as the state of Texas? Well, that describes my dear friend, Sarah Harmeyer. She considers herself a “people gatherer” and has founded an amazing “businesstry” (business + ministry) called Neighbor’s Table. People all across America are experiencing the life-changing impact of her “love mission.” More on that in a future blog post.
Do you find yourself in a prayer rut? Here is a simple, refreshing idea based on the two vitally important concepts of appreciation and affirmation.
“Look Mom, you don’t even get to take your slippers with you.” That poignant observation was made a decade ago by my then 16-year old daughter right after her father had died and the undertakers had left our home with his body. A cozy pair of fleece-lined slippers sat alone beneath the hospital bed in our family room where my husband had spent his last days on earth.