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    Lessons learned from COVID-19 by Jan Davis

    COVID-19 changed our world. Necessary adjustments altered lifestyles for the better good of mankind.

    People made themselves comfortable and sheltered inside homes until the dreaded virus ran its course. Businesses, schools, churches and restaurants shut their doors. The dining room table served double duty as classroom and office. Drive-through and fast foods enjoyed an influx of business while sit-down establishments adapted to provide curbside pickup and deliveries.

    Parks, theaters and museums soon followed. Entrances into areas of recreation gated and locked or heavy chains strung across the driveways. People’s favorite destinations padlocked.

    Individuals discovered resourceful means to network with family and friends. Time at the park turned into an evening in the backyard. A game of catch or horseshoes replaced monkey bars and arcades. Parents hung out with their children and made precious memories.

    Friends helped celebrate happy occasions with drive-by weddings and baby showers. Home-cooked meals were organized and dropped off to new moms. Children left birthday presents in mailboxes or on front porches. A quick ring of a doorbell alerted families to look outside for a surprise.

    People navigated around the suggested model of social distancing and figured out a way to link up. Through the power of Internet, everyone acquainted themselves with the terms Facetime, Skype and Zoom — face-to-face interaction in front of a computer screen.

    As stores and restaurants began to reopen, we navigated through Phase 2 of the new norm. Customers wore masks and cashiers stood behind Plexiglas screens. Waiters positioned 6 feet from the table passed out menus on disposable paper. Each dish delivered to the table and dirty plates cleared off before the next course arrived. Waitstaff, kitchen employees and bus boys with assigned duties helped eliminate cross-contamination.

    Churches and schools remained closed and held virtual services and classes. Questions needed answers in order to transition into reopening, consideration of children from nursery through grade school is a huge challenge for both of these organizations. The teacher/child ratio also required deliberate thought. Separation mandated with the removal of rows in sanctuaries and desks in schoolrooms — but maybe not warranted.

    Phase 3 brought a new list of concerns. People let their guards down and chose to loosen up a little. A few concerned citizens continued to wear masks in public, a visual reminder for everyone to be considerate of others, while the rest of the world breathed a sigh of relief and celebrated the gift of life, family and friends.

    Adults soon slipped back into old habits and routines. Parents hustled kids off to day care or summer camps, then fought traffic as they hurried to work, everyone anxious to get somewhere.

    Laid-back evenings at home exchanged for sporting events or gymnastics. Parents once again divided and conquered to chaperone kids from one side of town to another. Exhausted, everyone gathered at a favorite pizza parlor for designated “family time.”

    Weekends turned out to be hectic. Friends and neighbors squeezed in time for lunch or dinner before everyone headed off to different destinations. Maybe a movie or trip to the mall — anything to stay out of the house, all on a mission to make up for lost time.

    A well-known phrase, “If I only knew then what I know now,” echoes in my mind. The best lessons learned in hindsight. So, as I look back over the last few weeks and months, what practices will I choose to remember and carry forward?

    As crazy as it sounds, I appreciated the slower pace. Curbside groceries and prescriptions helped simplify life and are a definite keeper.

    Online services, different but good, allowed interaction through media and I stayed connected with my church family. Who says I shouldn’t enjoy the best of both worlds?

    Zoom opened up a new technique to stay in touch with family and friends from out of state. Families chatted online and laughed their way through the craziness. Because of Skype, I stayed in touch with my 91-year-old aunt and enjoyed our weekly chats. Through the usage of a smartphone, I shared family photos and chuckled along with her when she spotted familiar faces.

    For the first time in a long time, I reunited with my writer’s group in Colorado. Familiar faces and some new ones, too, popped up on the screen. I hope to build upon this experience.

    God used this time of isolation to draw closer to him. I interceded for our country and leaders. I prayed for the physical healing of fellow Americans and for the hearts of mankind to be drawn closer to him. Study of the scriptures revealed there is nothing new under the sun. Diseases, famine and rumors of unrest have existed since the fall of man. I asked for wisdom to navigate through these treacherous times. In return, God gave me his peace that passes understanding and hope against all odds.

    Jesus’ life provides a perfect example of the significance to step back and take a deep breath. His ministry never skipped a beat after his baptism in the murky waters of Jordan. He faced his personal 40- day quarantine in the wilderness alone with Satan.

    When he walked out of total isolation, he entered into a difficult season. His followers pursued him in the cities and countryside. Surrounded by wounded and lost people, he recognized the importance of solitude. Jesus found a place of privacy and fellowshipped with his Father. God encouraged and prepared him for the next challenge.

    The last time he spent with his Father before his death, he pleaded for himself, his disciples and us. He accepted the will of his father and carried the burden of our sins to the cross. Jesus realized his disciples would suffer persecution because of their relationship with him. He petitioned for their strength and courage to spread the gospel. He understood Christians throughout history would face hardships and death for their faith and lobbied for the determination to run with patience the race and hold fast till his return.

    If Christ sought downtime, how much more important is quiet time for us? Let’s take the positive aftermaths of COVID-19 and apply them to our daily routine as we enter into the uncharted future. Remind each other it’s OK to slow down, take a deep breath and spend time with our Father.

    Because of Jesus, we find peace and rest in his presence.

    “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered his rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.” — Hebrews 4:9-11a.

    I love you, but Jesus loves you more.

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