I went to Beach 1 over the weekend for a mental excursion. Keeping a healthy distance from other humans, I watched from my perch on a picnic table. Above the thundering of the waves beating the shoreline, I heard a sound I hadn’t heard in some time: laughter.
A woman, bent down to scour the sand for beach glass, was suddenly drenched in cold lake water; she’d gotten a little too close to the waves. Her response was a wail of surprised laughter. Through the wind, over the water, like a rescue rope to all our drifting souls, her laughter caught us and pulled us to safety.
I laughed along with her and noticed others looking up from their nature walks, their feet, their buried thoughts and dreams. They joined in the sudden ripple of laughter.
It was music.
It was a sacred pause on a windswept beach, lasting only a moment.
I pocketed that moment like rare blue beach glass, and carried it home with me to be sustained and reminded: shared laughter was our Sunday communion; our imperfect song; our rescue.
May you be surprised and soul-fed by a swell of pure joy today. I hope it bumps into you from unexpected places and knocks you down and jiggles out a sound you need to hear: the release of your own shut-in laughter, finally finding a way out.
Kathy Joy is the author of Singing Spring, and pursuant to the request of her employer, writes Lunchtime Jabs for her co-workers in Erie, Pennsylvania while they are working from home during the quarantine. Her Breath of Joy books are a series of seasonal pick-me-up styled coffee table books featuring glorious images of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. On these images, her wordsmithing talents soar and dive and dig into the human experience.
Have you been thoroughly confused by tuning in and hearing paradoxes like this in the news?
“Rest and be good to yourself.”
“Keep busy. Excercise. Be productive.”
“Post cartoons on social media for the depressed. Laughter helps people cope.”
“We’ll go down in history as the nation who died laughing, singing, and eating-with rolls of toilet paper stored in our shower stalls.”
“Together, we will get through this.”
“The only way to get through this is to shut our borders and take care of ourselves.”
“The President let the wrong people go. Losing these valuable assets put us in jeopardy of personnel, policies, and programs”
“No-one could possibly be prepared for a once in a generation pandemic of unknown origins.”
If you are like me (and I know I am) these soundbites provide me an inspiration to humble myself, to pray, and to research. When I find a line on an answer, I like to enter the fray with the new understanding. There are others who have history, many facts, and a great understanding who prefer to keep their own counsel.
Yet, a Great Leveling Factor is Occurring
A leveling factor is occurring in our midst and among the nations of the world. Can we consider a few of these?
The smart ones are deprived of answers bringing them low.
The defenseless and poor are watching their organic gardens and farms and ranches provide feasts to eat in safety.
The military cannot see the enemy.
The wealth of the rich does not help them survive.
The real question is, while world administrators gain access to humanity by following and listening in, and as they start to implement long-lasting laws and social regulations, will believers offer the hand of their Creator-Sustainer to others who need to know or will they capitulate to empty soundbites and dead-end platitudes?
Science has now shown that Covid-19 is a protein, rather than a virus. Thus, vinegar does not kill it. Hand-washing and other cleaners are still the best defense. Also, do not shake out plastic bags, paper bags, or clothing because the proteins can enter and live in the air for up to three hours.
We can only Give what we Know.
Here’s the funnel. People can only give what we possess and know to be true. We can only know what we have submitted to learn. We can only learn what we’ve been taught. We can only be taught if we have teachers.
But, even scientists disagree.
“The mystery protein properties of the virus DNA is bad news.”
“There’s a patent on the virus. Only man-made things can be patented.”
“There could be a resurgence.”
“Don’t take the anti-virus vaccine.”
“We’ve got to follow the science.”
“Alcohol is the best sanitizer.”
“Peroxide is the best sanitizer.”
“Bleach is the best sanitizer.”
“Bleach was invented to kill American troops in WWII.”
“Vinegar and lavender are the best sanitizers.”
“The virus is the Evangelical’s fault because they don’t believe in science.”
“It’s China’s fault.”
Sometimes in our home, we pray for those we love. Sometimes we pray for just ourselves. Sometimes we pray for the world. Today, we prayed that the research would increase and scientific answers would be found. We also prayed for faith to increase. And, yet we continue to hear about wild ends of the spectrum.
“They should open every political meeting with prayer.”
“A third of the world could perish.”
“My loved one went to heaven this morning.”
“Those who praise the Lord will be spared.”
“Christians have a greater rate of illness because they run to help and they aren’t afraid of death.”
“Isolate and protect your elderly.”
“Anyone over 80 will not get standard medical care.”
So, we know that life will change soon. It has already changed. Look around. Make a list. It is changing moment by moment like it did on 9/11. Like it did with the Spanish Flu (sic) and the Black Plague and is doing in Africa with the plague of locusts. How could a global pandemic not change the world as we know it?
We are being humbled. But, as we are being humbled, why do only a few look up from our shoes and stand in confidence?
An expert criticized the current administration in America today: We are not looking into the distance. We are only looking at the two feet in front of us in the headlights.
Maybe we are only looking at our own wallets and our own stockpiles.
But, how about this form of modern Palm Sunday church service announced on the news?
“A church provided their community paper bags of stuffed Easter eggs for the children with no human interaction.” Some say, “Resurrection Day is not Easter. Easter is a celebration of the goddess of fertility.” Others ask, “What harm is there in sugary treats and celebrating Easter egg hunts?” It is easy to throw up your hands!
There is no-one good like God. We can only hope to be faithful in a time of trouble because of the faithfulness shown to us by someone gone before. Has someone offered compassion and wisdom to you? Practice it. Offer these gifts to someone else who needs them.
Have you only known bad examples and poor models of nurture in your life? Do the opposite. Do what your heart is wooing you to do. Maybe it isn’t even about serving others first.
The Biggest Answer to this Life has Been-Always Will Be-Walking with God.
There is a fountain of living water from which you can drink. The water originates from the Source of Life!
When we accept the age-old story that there is a Power in the highest heaven, seated on His throne Who searched throughout the world for righteousness, and seeing none, He sent kindness and healing for us by His Son’s death to take upon Himself our lawful punishment of death. After the crucifixion, Christ descended into hell and freed the captives there, and then He ascended into heaven to mediate for us and offer continuing salvation and eternal life for anyone who believes in this substitution for the forgiveness of their sins.
When the Judge Himself provides a Substitute for a Convicted Man’s Sentence
Yes, we should sit up and listen, but we should also be humbled when the judge allows for an innocent substitute to receive the forty lashes we deserve. Why would we care? Because the substitute-volunteer of the judge’s own son. I personally, cannot imagine any judge or father allowing such a thing unless the judge had made the law, underscored the punishment, and had the power over life and death in order to raise up his son from the grave.
Psalm 4 Try singing to the tune: DAY BY DAY and with Each Passing Moment