So This Wasn’t What I’d Planned On Writing…

…But once again, other pleasant priorities took precedence over my blogging time this weekend: first a birthday outing with my parents and two of my sisters, then visits from my married siblings (and baby niece)! I have no complaints–both days were wonderful–but my review of Midway will have to wait one more week (hopefully).

Besides, it seems appropriate to instead address the big elephant in the room: COVID-19. Yes, I went out of the house on Saturday, but social distancing is now unavoidable at this point. While our church only held a very small worship service yesterday (no Sunday School or fellowship time), it’s cancelled all other weekday activities from here on out. It’ll be strange, not having choir or handbell rehearsals. And I have a feeling that Saturday’s outing to Baton Rouge–a lovely lunch, a trip to Barnes & Noble, and one final stop at Whole Foods–may be my last one for a while.

Thankfully, you can see that my trip to Barnes & Noble proved a success! My preordered copy of The Rise of Skywalker novelization comes in tomorrow, as well, and I’ll order The Last Jedi’s with an Amazon gift card I got for my birthday. I certainly won’t get bored anytime soon.

But don’t let my giddy excitement over new books fool you: this is a worrisome time, and I’m certainly not immune to my own anxieties over the whole thing. As an Enneagram 6, fear is my default setting. That’s why these timeless words from C.S. Lewis hit so close to home for me this past week as unsettling headlines rolled in and we struggled to prepare for something we never saw coming.

” ‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’ I am tempted to reply: ‘Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.’

“In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anaesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

“This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”

You can easily substitute the words “atomic bomb” for “COVID-19.” By all means, exercise necessary precautions. Wash your hands (taking care to recite the Lord’s Prayer or Star Trek’s opening monologue to ensure you scrub for 20 full seconds!), stay at home, and take your vitamins.

But don’t let terror take up too much space in your mind, dear friends. God is still on his throne, and because of that, “all manner of thing shall be well.” No matter what. 

Heavenly Father, giver of life and health: Comfort and relieve your sick servants, and give your power of healing to those who minister to their needs, that those for whom our prayers may be strengthened in their weakness and have confidence in your loving care; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer

10 Comments

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  1. I love the quote by C. S. Lewis, it makes perfect sense – so consoling to know that this feeling we’re having right now has been experienced by the people in the past, too. Thanks for sharing it, I didn’t know about it before!

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    • Oh yes–there’s really nothing new under the sun! If it isn’t the atomic bomb, it’s COVID-19–and if it isn’t COVID-19, it’ll be something else. And yet the Lord has always sustained not just His people, but His creation. (*Gandalf voice*) And that is a very encouraging thought 🙂

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  2. I fully understand the anxiety. I’m an Enneagram Two, but I also struggle with hypochondria and the tendency for my mind to default to “worst-case scenario”, so I’ve been dealing with it, too. I’m out with my entire family today doing a grocery run, but our church has gone to online-only services, so it’ll likely be my last time out for a while. I’m not sure what I’ll do without running ProPresenter at church, hehe… I have a feeling I’ll be spending lots of time in my bedroom (A.K.A. Tish’s* Safe Zone) with worship music and some Big Finish audios… and my sweet kitty-bean, Lil Bit. I’m trusting in God, He’s got this. Thanks for this post, Maribeth!

    *not my actual name, just a shortening of my screen name cos I don’t feel comfortable having my actual name on the internet. 😅

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    • So glad the post blessed you, friend! We heard from our church leadership just yesterday that we won’t be having any worship service this coming Sunday, so it’s official: my family and I are now living a truly monastic lifestyle. Oh well. I’m getting a lot of writing done, I spent some time helping my mom in the garden yesterday, and there is little to no stress in my schedule, haha! I’m looking forward to watching Interstellar this weekend with very few interruptions, too 😉

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  3. Thank you for sharing these encouraging thoughts! What a fitting quote for this time we are living in…it’s almost like it was written for us. I’m curious–where did you find that quote by C.S. Lewis?

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