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I’m Trying to Stay Connected . . .

Every morning I check the Apple News app on my phone. I also turn to the NPR app to get a quick summary of the morning news. By eight o’clock my wife has turned on the TV for the morning news/entertainment combo shows, and reads the running line of news items at the bottom of the screen. Through the day we frequently check other informational shows and by evening there are more news sources to which I feel compelled to attend. My life is full of keeping in touch with everything that is going on. What is mainly happening is the Corona Virus pandemic. I find out what is going on in our fifty states, and then I learn how folks are coping with it everywhere from New Zealand to Italy, or from Sweden to Singapore. I’m getting worn out. But my life is not so difficult as some others. People who live in small apartments, or feel cooped up in their homes, may be getting cabin fever, or feel oppressed or imprisoned. One mental health professional we know says she spends about 10-12 hours a day on the phone with clients or patients who are stressed out by the unusual restrictions. Some families now have everyone home, from the preschoolers to the college students, plus perhaps one or more unemployed parents. It can become a pressure cooker of irritability. Being connected and confined with too many people for too long can wear us out. Then there are the rebels, the ones who are mad as hell that they are being told what to do, where not to go, and how to wear a face mask. Some write threatening emails to governors, or show up at demonstrations, modeling bad behavior for their children, gathering in groups not at all social distanced. Oh, yes, and there is that minority of Christian pastors who defiantly stand for individual liberty and invite their congregants to gather for worship in defiance of the local sheriff’s orders, or the governor’s direction. One of those pastors died this week from the Covid 19 disease. We want to stay connected. Connected to somebody and to something. Those connections are like food, nourishment. If we are connected to mainly sick and needy people, as the health care workers are, it is exhausting. Many are reporting that their days or nights on the job are one long series of stressors, because people’s lives are at risk and everything these doctors and nurses do must be done with precision. On the other hand, some find they can get away by themselves, go running through a city park, or walking alone (or six feet apart with someone) somewhere where nobody needs them right now. We need to have time to renew our connection to the big picture, to nature, to God. My life is blessed with many good connections. I am fortunate. We are sequestered, not quarantined, in our home. My mornings allow me time for meditation, reading the Bible, praying, and singing. God speaks to me. Sometimes I hear clearly, and sometimes not so much, but I feel connected. Besides that, we live where every morning I can look out the window and see the early spring signs of life on the lake. Today two loons have arrived, hopefully the ones that nested here in recent years. I can walk across the road and hike through our neighbor’s woods with our dog. I will be undisturbed. I can be disconnected from the troubles of the world and connected to something bigger, mysterious, and full of wonders. I pray for those who are burdened with connections to too much need, to the cries for help; those who haven’t found ways to disconnect enough to reconnect to the “ground of our being,” as one theologian said it. I need that kind of connection.

God [ intended we ] would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and

find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 'For in him we live

and move and have our being.’ Acts 17:27–28 (TNIV) © 2020 Stanley Hagemeyer

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