Happy Spring Survivor Friends!
I don’t know who all needs to hear this, but check your lilac bushes! I was excited to see buds on mine. While the year 2020 seems to need a reset due to a virus, this trial keeps reminding us that we do know how to survive—but it sure keeps kicking up a lot of stuff, doesn't it?
If you were a kid who had to scramble to find food for your school lunch or went to bed hungry, you might be overstocking your pantry right now. If you are like me and grew up “homeschooled” and isolated from other people, the stay-at-home orders might be depressing you. If you had to hear all kinds of conspiracy theories about the mark of the beast, the seven plagues and the end of the world, this virus also might be triggering your PTSD. So let’s pause for a moment and take a deep breath and exhale. It’s gonna be alright. We are gonna be alright. You are going to be alright.
For starters, I have no snake oil and I can’t promise you won’t get the virus. I can’t even promise no one you love will get sick and die. I can’t even promise that the U.S. economy will rebound or that people will be able to meet and have fun with their friends again. What I will say is that we can trust Jesus with the outcomes of life in this world. (If you don’t get into God things, that’s okay too. I’m gonna talk about Palm Sunday for a couple of paragraphs here then move on.)
Today is Palm Sunday—that day that we remember how Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Unlike the scene outside my window here in Southern Oregon, full of foggy dampness, that day in Jerusalem dawned sunny and bright with lots of promise. Yet even then, there were some dashed expectations.
Many people thought Jesus was going to become the new king. Even his disciples thought this. They had argued over who would be sitting on this left and right when he came into his kingdom. One mother had asked Jesus about his intentions for her two sons. The crowd, including of children singing hosannas to Jesus, was full of expectations.
Here was a kind man who cared about the poor and outcast. Here was a man who could feed thousands from one small lunch. Here was a man who healed the sick and raised the dead. He was the best candidate to be king, but also he had some idiosyncrasies.
Most kings of the day rode to their coronation on a white steed, but Jesus chose a lowly donkey. Most kings would give a victory speech, but right in the middle of the festivities, Jesus stopped and wept over the city. WTH? What kind of king bawls over his subjects? What in the world was going on?
Expectations were being dashed, but those who knew Jesus well still had faith in him. They figured he could turn this ship around and all would be okay, so they plowed forward with their plans. His disciples had no clue that by the end of the week most of them would be in hiding.
The Jesus story is a messy story. Things were not what they seemed, but the good news is that the resurrection was coming. And that’s such good news that it still rings true today.
I want to talk about our expectations and how we, like the people of Jerusalem, have been looking for a king. Who doesn’t want someone to supply food for the hungry and healing for the sick and hope for the enslaved and weary? Often we hope our political candidates can make such things happen but they rarely can fulfill the dreams of their supporters. All the election news sort of paused while we all try to save our lives and the lives of our loved ones.
Jesus said his kingdom is not of this world. All of our human wants and needs—while being part of the abundant life that Jesus had promised us, are often put on hold due to the circumstances of living in a messed up world. And most of us would agree that right now our entire world seems messed up, but not everything is bad news.
The last couple of weeks have been very busy for me. I read about making masks for medical workers and decide to do my part. Then I got orders from friends and family too so I have not stopped sewing for two weeks. Right now I am giving away Wonder Woman masks to real-life Wonder Women.
Later this week I plan to bake some Easter cookies for my friends. I believe it’s important to continue celebrating life in the safest ways possible! I won’t even be popping my head out the door to say hi to my friends because I’ve been in quarantine now for going on four weeks and I hope to stay that way. Baking is one thing I can do and I will give them away and by placing the wrapped cookies on my front porch for my friends to pick up, in the hope of protecting all of us.
We have hope friends! It seems the earth is doing a reset while we are all staying home. Noise pollution is down which is making the birds and whales thrive. last October CNN ran an article about Birds dying off at an alarming rate. Maybe the silence will help them thrive this spring.
Carbon emissions are killing people faster than the coronavirus. The World Health Organisation estimates that “9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants.” 4.2 million people die every year due to air pollution.
Air pollution is down in parts of the world where the quarantine has slowed down traffic. According to one article, in China alone, less particulate matter in the air has been estimated to “save the lives of 4,000 young children and 73,000 elderly adults in China over two months this year.”
While the earth is taking a break, families are spending more time together. People are taking the time to read more books, reflect on their lives and build more spiritual practices. They are relearning the joys of simple things like listening to the birds sing and planting a garden. Others are rediscovering table games and looking up recipes to try for good ol’ home cooking instead of spending all their time commuting and their money on restaurants. I’ve read that some people feel they are living in a simpler time reminiscent of their childhoods of past decades. It certainly reminds me of my childhood—in good ways!
Yes, this coronavirus is a scary thing, but so is air pollution and the wasting of the earth’s creatures and resources. So is the prejudice and hate which are killing innocent people. But the good news is we get to be part of the solution. We can serve our family and friends. This is a season to rest and reset and love better. Let’s do it well!
Stay well, friends!
PS Here are a few articles I wrote recently—
The New Rosie the Riveter