What Has the Coronavirus Taught Us?

Nothing in modern history, not even 9/11, has come anywhere close to providing the opportunity to soul search like this novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 health crisis. Especially in the hot spots, we have been shut in and in many cases shut out of work and school. BC (before coronavirus), families were running all over the place, sometimes barely talking and less frequently sitting down for a meal together. Now, families are shut in together and forced to converse and eat together. But what has this taught us, if anything?

The things I use to complain about I now finding myself missing. Traveling almost every week, Laguardia airport in New York, traffic in Connecticut, walking the halls of Congress in D.C. are among those things that use to get to me, more than on occasion. Now, I find myself missing them. Except for a run to the grocery store, or a morning run on the local rail trail, I’m a shut in with my wife. I have a lot (a LOT!) of phone and Zoom contact with work people and friends but it’s not the same as live interactions.

I think the most important thing I have learned is to be thankful. Thankful for the things that use to bother me and I would complain about. Thankful for all the basics—yes, I would include toilet paper on that list—that I simply took for granted BC. Thankful for the company of friends, even if BC I was more than happy with a good book than at a party having to converse with people. Thankful for my health as I watched my healthy sister-in-law struggle for 5 weeks with COVID-19. But, most importantly, thankful for God and my faith. If there is ever a time to fall back on faith and put your trust in God it’s DC (during coronavirus).

If there is ever a time to truly soul search it is now, DC. What do we want to do differently, how do we want to live differently PC (post coronavirus)? This is what I have been asking myself and hope you have done some reflection on as well. Do we keep aimlessly wandering the desert of life, like the Israelites, or do we follow the path and purpose that God has laid out for our lives? We may not know it, but God most certainly has laid out a purpose for each one of us. A unique, special, individual purpose for each one of us. For you, For me.

Life purpose. That’s a good thing to reflect on DC as we prepare for life PC.

Be well; be safe!!!

Let God Back In

We’ve done a pretty good (meaning, bad) job of kicking God out of our lives. We’ve kicked Him out of our states, schools, and all other public places. I actually can’t believe we haven’t tried to recall all the bills (money) in this country to remove In God We Trust. For those who have read my posts, you know that I draw the comparisons between us today and the Israelites thousands of years ago with Moses aimlessly roaming the desert. They kicked God out of their lives endlessly on a journey that should have taken about a dozen days but took 40 years!!! Nothing good happens when God is not front and center in our lives.

If nothing else, this COVID-19 pandemic should be a whack on the side of the head that it’s time to let God back in our lives. God created each one of us. He is a part of every strand of DNA in our bodies. We were created in His image and likeness. So, we can never get away from God, no matter how hard we try.

I don’t know about you but I’m trying to let God in my life like never before. That isn’t just about praying. It’s about moving God front and center in my life, before me. I’m trying to spend more time listening for/to God—what He wants me to do, and take away from this crisis in all of our lives.

It’s not hard to let God back in our lives. We just need to put ourselves back a step and move God up a step. Change happens one person at a time. So, let’s let God back in our lives one person at a time. Starting with you and me!

Be well; stay safe!!!  

Would You Recognize Jesus?

If you took a seven mile walk with Jesus and listened to Him talk with you, would you know Him? Imagine spending three years roaming the countryside with Jesus and then not recognizing Him! Imagine thinking that Jesus was some gardener? All this and more happened after Jesus died and rose again on the walk with the disciples to Emmaus, multiple times with the apostles, and with Mary at the tomb. What was it about Jesus that they did recognize Him?

There are lots of theories that our “spiritual bodies” are somehow transformed from our “earthly” bodies. They’re not exactly the same. Let’s put that all aside for a minute.

Jesus was raised body and soul from the dead, with the nail holes in his hands, side, and feet intact. So was He a “different” Jesus or were the eyes “closed” of everyone around Him, including His closest followers. Bingo!

God (including Father, Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit) is in everyone. That means, you, me, and every other person past, present, and future. God made us, so He is very much in us. Whoever you look at, you are looking straight in the eyes of Jesus. But do you recognize Him? I can tell you that in all my failings that there are a lot of people I know who I do not see Jesus.

That’s the problem with life and our walk through it. We don’t see Jesus. Yet, we should see Jesus in the mirror as well as in every person we walk by on the street—well, use to walk by on the street BC (before coronavirus).

Here’s a challenge for the week. Whoever you see on TV or behind that mask at the supermarket you are seeing Jesus. Look real hard. It’s Jesus in the face of anyone you are looking at. And how would you treat Jesus if you were looking at Him? Something to think about this week.

These are tough times that truly test our faith. Look for Jesus in the faces of others and your faith will get a boost. And we will get through this. With Jesus!

Have an AMAZING week!!! 

No Coronavirus Easter

Strange. No Passion, except on TV/internet. Tomorrow, no in-person Mass on Easter Sunday. (We have been “watching” Mass on CatholicTV live from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Notre Dame campus—Beautiful!!!). This Lent has been a real desert in terms of isolation. Maybe that has helped us identify with the isolation Jesus felt those 40 days in the desert. Maybe it will help us get out of the deserts in our lives after this crisis is over (and it will be over!!!). For now, we should blossom in what tomorrow represents—the glory of Jesus rising from the dead. There will be no coronavirus in Easter tomorrow!

The Israelites wandered the desert for 40 years before crossing over to the Promised Land. Jesus isolated Himself in the desert for 40 days before His brief 3-year ministry. Many/most of us in the U.S. have now been quarantined in our houses for going on 40 days—some working at home, others out of work. And there are “deserts” everywhere—on the sidewalks, streets, highways, and etc. depending on where you live.

I have tried to use this time, on top of a lot of work at home, to really think about what is important in life. I fly a lot for work. On airplanes and elsewhere I am always in the midst of a lot of people. I spent a lot of time in Washington D.C. on Capitol Hill. I can’t count the times I have wanted not to fly for a while, to get away from people, and to really get away from the politicians. Well, I got my wish. Now I want that wish to go away.

I’m fortunate to have the work and position I have. Along with my faith and my family, it’s a gift from God. I know what I do—advocating for patients and cancer care—is a calling. And sometimes I forsake that gift and calling because I focus too much on myself, and not on others.

I’ve done a lot of soul searching during this coronavirus “desert” I have been in this Lent. It’s time to come out and allow the Risen Lord Jesus to rise me up. There will be no coronavirus Easter this year. The isolation will continue for a while then the world will come out of this. And I will come running out of it! Faith, family, work, cause, and doing my little part in making the world a better place. Time for all of us to stop wandering and isolating, and to do our parts in making this world a better place.

Wishing you all a blessed and glorious Easter!!!

Done with Negative People, Posts & Pundits!

I’ve had it with the negativity!!! Negative people, posts & pundits. I’m not talking about bad news as COVID-19 swirls around us. I’m talking about people, posts & pundits that just focus on the negative—not doing anything constructive, not offering positive hope, and in general not contributing anything to making us stronger as a people as we fight through this crisis.

We will come out of this stronger and better as a people but only if we stay positive, help those in need, and uplift ourselves and others in a positive spirit. No solutions ever come from negativity. Solutions spring eternal from positive thinking!

“The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” Winston Churchill

There is a fork in the road during this crisis: the negative path and the positive path. I’m down the positive path all the way to the end. It may be bumpy, with twists and turns, but it’s the path I am staying on—now, during this crisis, and after we come out the other side.

I’m not conforming; I’m transforming!

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Have a FANTASTIC, POSITIVE day and week ahead!!!

Where is God?

It’s times like these when we ask that question. “Where is God?” With death swirling around us worldwide, we at least think the question, it not say it. “Where is God?” I thought of the question this morning when I heard the gospel account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Martha and Mary must have been at least thinking it over and over again—“Where the heck is Jesus?” “He could have saved our brother from dying?” Yet, Jesus finally showed up and raised Lazarus from the dead.

God is where He always is—less than a heartbeat away from each one of us. A natural disaster has hit and God is not off on some vacation in heaven. He’s here. And if we LISTEN for/to Him we will weather this storm.

These are times that not just try souls (shoutout to Thomas Paine) but shake our faith to the core. Does God really care? Why can’t He stop the sickness and dying? How can God sit back and not do something? Anything?

Like the disciples in the boat terrified during the storm, we have to have faith. Faith will get us through this. The same faith that tells us that no matter what happens in this life that it is less than a heartbeat in the eternity we have been promised.

What’s very important during this crisis is how we act. Do we reach out and help others, however we can? Do we PRAY? Do we donate? Or do we simply hunker down and worry about ourselves. How we act during a crisis like this says everything about who we are as a person.

Have faith. Believe! It’s tough going right now but we will come out stronger. If that’s what we want.

I hope you are keeping safe, helping others, and BELIEVE!

Spend some more time with God this week. LISTEN for/to Him!!!

Did God Send the Coronavirus?

No. I know there are people out there who believe the coronavirus is a sign of the coming of the end. A type of plague God sent on a disobedient humankind. However, the reality is that viruses are a part of this world—a world that God created—and will always be a part of this world. It’s not the virus that’s the focus here, it’s how we respond to the virus that’s important.

Do you think that God wants us selfishly hoarding toilet paper? Or fighting in the supermarket aisles over the last package of chicken breasts? Or partying like it’s no tomorrow on a Florida beach? I can tell you the answer is a clear NO! How we respond in any time of crisis tells us everything about ourselves and where we place our priorities. Is my focus on me or you? That’s the question God wants us to answer.

God commands us to do one thing—LOVE Him by loving one another. He sent His only Son as a sacrifice for our sins. And before He was hung from that cross, Jesus made it all too clear that His one commandment to us is to LOVE!

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12  

Loving one another isn’t hoarding, partying like no tomorrow, or not staying smart and safe. It’s doing the right thing by others, helping those in need, and, in general, looking outward, not inward. In short, it’s loving.

I hope you are safe and doing your part to help others in this crisis. It’s not the end of the world. It’s a time to define ourselves and our place in this world.

Stay safe!!!

 

Boy, Do We Need God!!!

If this isn’t a time when more people turn to God for help, I don’t know when it will come! God won’t wash our hands, keep us apart from others, or do all the other things we should all be doing to stop the spread of COVID-19. But God can sure help us cope and bring some type of end to this world-wide crisis. We need God more than ever!

I hate to pound my fist about this point, but (yes, here I go) we are just like the Israelites wandering aimlessly in the desert. We run around forgetting about God, worshiping false idols (money, etc.), and then something bad happens. Of course, in the Old Testament the “bad” happening was attributed as sent from God. No, unlike some, I don’t think God sent this new strain of the coronavirus as a plague on the world. It’s just what Mother Nature does and what we do ignoring it and not being prepared to deal with virus threats that have happened in the past and will happen in the future.

We live in a time when people clearly have turned from God. I hear more people talk about being “spiritual” but in some way focusing on themselves as the “spiritual” being. Frankly, I don’t know what that even means. All I know is God. And I’m praying to Him to somehow, someway help us in this time of need.

I hope that you stay safe and sane. God can help with both—if you let Him!

Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

I was going to title this post something about, “Do you see light or darkness?” It’s trying times like these when our true characters show through. And when we face the reality of where God really is in our lives. Are you are glass half full person, or one who sees it as half empty? Are you a person who always sees light, no matter how dark it is out, or do you just see the darkness—or at least the darkness overtaking the light? Good questions to ask as the coronavirus seems to be overtaking the world. Or not.

If God is a constant in your life, I don’t know how you see anything as empty—half or whole—or see anything as darkness. I love, love the beginning of John’s Gospel…

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:5

That light, sent by God the Father, is Jesus, His only Son. He’s the glass that is always full, the light that no darkness can overcome. When your life is built on the foundation of God—Father, Son & Spirit—there simply can be no emptiness or darkness. It’s that simple. And, yes, I’ll say it again—God means life to be simple. We are the ones who complicate it.

When Jesus left this earth, He left behind the Spirit to empower us. The Spirit is that spark that keeps the light in us lit, especially when it starts to dim. It’s trying times like this coronavirus crisis—which will pass, and just be a mention in the history books—when we need to look at the fullness and light of life. And we have help if we just let God be a central part—THE central part—of our lives.

Have an AMAZING week ahead. Think full, think light!

Virus in the Desert

I’ve written a lot about the Israelites roaming aimlessly in the desert for 40 years. It took them that long to travel about a dozen miles to the Promised Land. And only two of the original Israelites made it. Even their leader, Moses, died before he saw the Promised Land. During that time in the desert all types of bad things happened—plagues, snakes, etc. The Israelites constantly turned their backs on God, and only when they needed God did they run to Him. We are roaming our own desert—and pretty aimlessly, at that—and bad things happen. Today it’s the coronavirus. Tomorrow it will be something else. But we’re not running to God. It seems we’re running away from Him.

I’m not suggesting that the coronavirus is some type of plaque sent by God. It’s a virus, and viruses are a part of life. Some are worse than others. But it’s how we react to this coronavirus that is so telling. We panic. Not that we shouldn’t mobilize to contain and “defeat” this virus. But we don’t need to panic, just like the Israelites did. It’s a surprise they didn’t stone Moses or burn him at the stake.

It’s a given that we are less tied to God than ever. I won’t bore you with stats, but “organized” religion is on the way down. People are increasingly simply not believing in God or turning to their own “spirituality”—whatever that is. Worship of self?

If I have said it once I’ve said it over a 100 times—read the Old Testament story of the Israelites wandering aimlessly in the desert. That’s us. This world is one big desert and we are certainly wandering—and very aimlessly! I have no idea where we are heading. Do you?

Least you think this is a depressing message, it’s not! My focus is on God—Father, Son & Spirit. I know my purpose from the Father, and am trying my best to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, and pray for the Spirit to empower me. I’m upbeat. I’m resolute. I’m out to find the Promised Land in life. I’m not a saint. I stumble all the time. But I’m doing my part to lead by example. We change the world one person at a time. It’s why I write this little blog, why I post Bible verses on my Facebook page ever day, and why I try to share with others.

I hope you know your way. Let’s help get everyone out of the desert!