What Has the Coronavirus Taught You?

It has taught me that this world is so much more fragile than imaginable. It has taught me that humankind is not in control, no matter how superior we think we are. It has taught me to never take anything for granted. It has taught me I miss the things I use to dislike (like traveling all the time). Unfortunately, it has also taught me that as a world, and even as a country, we are divided more than ever. But the most important thing I have learned is that I’m not in the driver’s seat. God is. I’m just a passenger. A very willing passenger.

As humankind, we think we are invincible. Well, a microscopic virus that virtually came out of nowhere just taught us differently. We may think we own this planet and it is ours to do with what we want but it’s clearly not. We have learned over a brief few months that we are not the rulers. We are the ruled. We have been brought to our knees. That is worth really, really, really thinking about.

At the beginning and end of each day, God is really the one in command. He gave us a world of abundance that can house and feed everyone. But look at what we have done with it. We are killing it. And masses go without food every day.

I’m not trying to be a downer. Just the opposite. I have been given a wake-up call. I use to complain about that dump we call Laguardia Airport and it being my home-away-from-home I was there so often flying out of it. Now, I can’t wait to see it again, to go through security, and to fly. To stay in a hotel. To sit in my office in D.C. To walk the halls of Congress. To get back to the old normal. Not the new normal.

But most of all I have said to God, “Here, you have the wheel. Drive.” Father, tell me where I need to go. Jesus, lead the way and let me follow you way—The Way. Holy Spirit, keep me empowered along The Way.

The world looks different to me. Last week, I drove on a highway for the first time in months and kept driving right out of Connecticut. It was like my eyes were opened to a new world.

Yes, we are divided like never before. The politics in this country, and all around the world, is destructive. In some respects, that unseen virus has divided us more than we were BC (before coronavirus). But I refuse to let that get me down. In my own little way I will be a uniter, not a divider. I will smile. I will help. I will give. I will love—just like God has commanded.

This coronavirus captivity has taught me a lot. It has changed me. I hope for forever. I know for the better. I hope it has taught you something. I hope you will join me in being a uniter. In smiling, In helping. In giving. In loving. As God has commanded us to do and specifically the one and only commandment Jesus left us with before He have up His life for you and me.

Be well. Stay safe. Love. And unite!!!

There’s Only One You!

I am dating myself, but there’s a one-hit-wonder from the early nineties The One and Only performed by Chesney Hawkes that hit #1 in the UK and even #10 in the US. The chorus goes…

I am the one and only
Nobody I’d rather be
I am the one and only
You can’t take that away from me

For all the cheesiness of the lyrics, the song does have a point: You are the one and only. Just like I am the one and only. Each one of us on this planet is “the one and only.” “You can’t take that away from me” or you. And there is “nobody I’d rather be.” I hope you feel the same way about you.

When God made you He threw away the formula. The same with me. We are both totally unique, even if we had an identical twin. We are unique, one-of-a-kind, special, and novel, especially in the eyes of God.

As I have written more times than I can count, God has a special, unique plan and purpose for each one of us. That individualized plan goes along with our one-of-a-kind uniqueness as a person. Simply put, we are special with a special plan. One of the keys to life is understanding that plan and following it. That’s when we become whole and truly comfortable in our own skin. That’s when we live by “nobody I’d rather be.”

I have The One and Only in my running song collection not only because it’s a catchy tune to run by but also because it reminds me every day I hear it that “I am the one and only.” And that “nobody I’d rather be” and you can’t ever “take that away from me.”

When I’ve blasted the song in the house my wife thinks it’s all about ego. But I look at it in a very different light. It’s about being me. And you being you. Both unique and loved unconditionally by our Creator. And comfortable in our own skins knowing our places in this crazy world.

If you struggle finding out who you are, and what your plan is, spend some time with God. LISTEN for/to Him. Find some quiet time. Quality time. It’s not one-hit-wonder time. It takes some time investment. But God is there for you as much as He is for me and every other person. Just LISTEN. Yes, it’s that simple.

Have a FANTASTIC day and week ahead being you. You are the one and only!

And stay safe out there!!!

Hope

Hope may be something in short supply during these COVID-19 days. What seems like a never ending nightmare may seem like it truly will never end. Will we ever get back to normal? Will we have to wear masks everywhere—forever? Is there really going to be a second wave of COVID-19 in the fall/winter? The list of questions goes on and on and so with them hope seems to fly out the window. So, what are we to do?

Hope! That’s what we are to do. This is not the end of life as we know it. It’s the beginning of a new life, hopefully a new life that will make us look at the world and each other a little differently. As in differently better.

If anything, this COVID-19 experience should be a good time to take stock. Figure out what really matters, what’s most important in life. COVID-19 should be a lens that makes us look at our world in a new light. A light of love. A light of caring for others. A light of respect for the other person. A wave. A smile. A helping hand.

Jeremiah told the people of Israel that, “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) Jeremiah told the Israelites that their “normal” wouldn’t be for 70 years when they would return from captivity in Babylon. He told them to live their lives, marry, and have children. He gave them hope. The same hope that we will come out of this COVID-19 pandemic stronger and better as people. If we don’t, it’s a terrible experience lost.

Have hope! Use this time to revaluate. Look at your life in a mirror. Hit the pause button of how you lived your life in the past as COVID-19 has hit the pause button on our “normal” lives. And, most importantly of all, in the quiet that COVID-19 has brought to our lives, LISTEN for/to God. He’s there. Less than a heartbeat away. Spend some time with Him. That will give renewed hope, purpose, and outlook to your life!

Be well and be safe!!! 

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!!!