Encourage and Connect

The times are weird. My writer friend Tommy Housworth said, “This week (month, year) has been more surreal than Salvador Dali’s drop cloth.”

COVID-19 is a fear bomb planted right in the middle of the human psyche.

My FaceBook feed is full of people’s opinions. My kid’s school is closed, church is canceled. This fear is not going to be like a snow day in the South, where we close schools for a day or two. Instead, this fear is going to stick around for a while. While it’s here, we need, as people, as a community, to combat anxiety by encouraging and connecting with each other.

I have a lot of fears. I’m in financial fear, both my husband and I work in the events business.

I’m also in fear of how this will shape our culture. I see the divisiveness in the news and even in my conversations. On top of that, we are being instructed by all the experts to isolate ourselves. Great. We’re divided on social and political issues, and now we’re going to be all alone with our thoughts.

We heal through our connection with others. Research suggests that our brains release oxytocin when we are with a group of people sharing something that we all enjoy. Oxytocin gives us a sense of belonging and overall well-being. Now the epidemiologists tell us that we shouldn’t hug, sit close to each other, or shake hands. They suggest that we cancel weddings and birthday parties. Where will we begin to heal when we aren’t connecting with other people?

We’ll become more creative. I’m grateful that we still have the internet. And virtual platforms like Zoom and Skype. Friends have sent me mediations from YouTube. Meditations are asking for Divine blessings for the planet, directing the meditator to share their loving energy into the world.

There are two actions we need to take (neither of them includes buying toilet paper or milk):

Recognize and release fear

The fear is driving everyone to buy up all the toilet paper. I get it. What if the store closes and you have no TP. My friend Claudia said, “I have this trust that everything is going to work out fine, but I still feel like I gotta take action. When I heard the Kroger guy say that if someone got the virus, they might close, I got very uncomfortable, really quickly.” Isn’t that true for all of us? That’s the fear that we have to identify and release.

Encourage and connect with others.

My conversation with Claudia allowed us both to connect and encourage one another. She also talked about how she was actively “Breathing good energy into the storeā€¦” We need that. We need to come together and trust in an infinite God rather than our finite selves. We need to pray.

Pray for our leaders, pray for the health of the world, pray for our community and our neighbors. We need to meditate on loving-kindness. “Breathing good energy” into every part of the world.

So let me borrow some words from the Apostle Paul. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (I Tim. 2:17) That means we have Divine power, love, and sanity. Use these things to connect and encourage each other.

In a current climate filled with “don’t”, I’m going to recommend some “do” s.

Do these things:
Pray. Mediate. Encourage. Connect.

Just for today
Pray. Meditate. Encourage. Connect.

Thank you that you have given me a spirit of courage, power, love, and sanity. Please help me to use these things to encourage others.

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