Don't Give Up!

 "Consider Him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart."  

Hebrews 12:3

This was the Bible verse that popped up in my daily devotional a couple days ago.  It immediately made me think about the news I had watched the day before. People in several cities demonstrating because they were ‘growing weary’ of being confined to their homes.  I think we are all tired of being cooped up because of COVID-19, but I remain calm in the decisions that are being made about the necessity to stay at home, the need to social distance when we do have to go someplace … and the recommendation of wearing masks for everybody’s protection. 

Admittedly, there is a difference in my situation as a retired individual and people who cannot do their jobs from home … and who cannot go to their work locations. News stories are telling us now that a few states are planning the ways they will reopen in upcoming weeks.  Illinois’ Governor Pritzker has extended his stay at home orders through the end of May.  I’m not unhappy about that, but I recognize the need families have to go back to work.  Food pantries are running out of food and although the agriculture/food industry is planning to start directly filling the food banks, it isn’t happening fast enough.  Those who can afford groceries have to be able to find them.  Ordering in advance and picking up groceries is a wonderful service that I started using a year ago, but the products have to be available.  We’ve also raised a couple generations who haven’t been taught how to cook, and that certainly adds another complication.  Those who can cook have hoarded all the flour, eggs, butter, milk, yeast … and many other products.  Toilet tissue isn’t the only thing missing from the supermarket shelves!

Anybody who is confined to their home right now … even if they are working and have an income … is stressed.  How do you get through that?

My devotional Bible verse linked to a few other verses.

Proverbs 24:10 If you falter in the day of distress, how small is your strength!
Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait upon the LORD will renew their strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.
Galatians 6:9 Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up

The verse that struck me most is the last one … and the last phrase … if we do not give up. We don’t have much choice but to endure, but there is an uptick in reports of mental/emotional issues. Apparently, the hot lines are very busy.

I don’t have answers for everybody, but I do know that what we are experiencing is just like experiencing any loss. If you think about your life journey, you have been through things that have required you to exert your highest level of resilience. The things you did in the times of loss are the same things you need to do now. 

Stay healthy, physically and emotionally. If daily exercise is the answer … eating better … reading your Bible or just looking through scrapbooks or drawers of old pictures … do it. I find myself asking what my mother would have done. In every single time of loss that I remember … Mama cooked! Always. If a family member or friend died, she cooked. My daddy the carpenter ran a nail through his hand one fall, had blood poisoning and had to stay in bed for a few weeks with antibiotics. Back in those days, there was no ‘sick pay’ for a carpenter, so he had no income for a few months. Mother had money tucked away … she always did, but we experienced a bad time … a loss. Mama’s reaction was to cook. While Mama was prepared with all her home-canned garden produce, there were plenty of meatless meals during that time, but she still made sure we had meals.

I would encourage my readers to turn to old hobbies. Men – hit the garage workshop and piddle with a project. Ladies – get out the crochet hooks and dig around for some yarn! There are countless patterns online for quick projects. Get as much fresh air as you can manage. If you don’t have a porch or a backyard … open a window for awhile and breath. Sunshine is a cure for emotional stress, so if you cannot get outside to absorb some rays … open the curtains and blinds.

Some of us have had other misfortunes occur during recent weeks. I have a friend who had a serious surgery right before the stay at home orders came out. I have two friends who have lost their husbands and can’t have funerals. I had to send my dog to the Rainbow Bridge, and I keep looking for him to come down the hallway. I list these accounts as a reminder that there is always somebody in worse shape than we are in.

Don’t give up. Progress is being made even though the loss has been just unbelievable. Something good will come out of all this. It may be years before we realize it, but one of the things at the top of my list is the desire that America will be reminded of how important it is to manufacture our needs in the United States. I’m hoping this encourages people to buy local. Families are learning how different it is to sit down at the dinner table together. Parents are spending more time with their children. If we continue these practices when we get back to normal, these will have been good things.

I’m pretty certain that we will learn to live a new kind of normal, but right now, we cannot give up.

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