Someone called me the other day and said, “this pandemic is really getting to me. I have cabin fever; I feel lonely and depressed. I feel like giving up. What am I to do? As I listened, I found myself feeling somewhat the same way. My response was to write this article entitled,” how I survived the corona virus pandemic.” My mind moved forward 12 months from now when I could see myself telling someone else, “this is how I survived the Corona virus pandemic”, thus the title of this article. For me the answer is very simple and yet complex. It all comes down to a matter of strokes! Strokes are units of nurture that feed our psyche and help us to feel good and happy. Strokes can be as simple as saying hello, hugging, listing to music, watching a movie, eating good food, working on a hobby, writing notes, interacting with others, and simply participating in personal and social activities that make us feel fulfilled, good and happy. I have developed a short list to encourage people around me. There is an old saying, “different strokes for different folks.” This simply means that different things help different people feel good, happy and psychologically and spiritually fulfilled. Here are a few things that come to mind, telephone conversations, reading books, playing table games in small groups or online, watching short videos on YouTube on how to, catch fish, paint with watercolors, do woodworking, learn to sing or play the piano or guitar, listen to music, gardening, fishing, virtual game groups for chess, checkers or Scrabble, etc. TEDtalks.
Today is August 2, 2020. I predict that we will be in a social distance mode for at least eight more months. If we are fortunate enough to have a vaccine for the virus by January 2021, we might be back in full social circles by Easter 2021. What are we to do in the meantime? I am considering new models of pastoral ministry. I am considering small zoom groups for table games and/or Bible study, topical studies or prayer. Extensive activity in writing notes and/or telephone conversations with individuals and groups. I am now available through Skype, Zoom, and Google Gathering.
A note of caution. Doctors tell us that strokes come in positive and negative forms. There is an old saying that, “negative strokes are better than no strokes at all!” The temptation is to retreat into ourselves by cutting off all communication with others, sitting at home crying, overeating, using drugs, drinking, being critical, watching too much news on TV etc. The way to avoid negative strokes is to make an active conscious decision to stock up on positive strokes like those I have listed.
I am praying for you! Please pray for me! We shall not only survive we will thrive. Remember that the Lord is you shepherd, you shall not want! Why not memorize the 23rd Psalm again during this time? Stay strong, pray long and have fun!
Blessings, Pastor Dale Turner