This is Tim’s Article which appeared in the Evening Leader on May 11, 2020
What if COVID-19 hadn’t of happened? For me, I am sure that Mother’s Day would have been a lot different. For starters, I might have been able to go see my mom without being worried I might kill her because I breathed on her. That would have been nice. Seniors would be planning graduation parties, ordering cakes, and taking lots of pictures. Wayne Street would have held a couple of concerts we had planned and the Wayne Stock concert series would have been in full swing by now. In fact, last Saturday, we would have had our first Mom’s Day 5K at KC Geiger park, but we had to cancel it because of COVID-19. I mean, Wayne Street’s sanctuary would not have sat empty the past 6 weeks. That would have been a nice touch.
Yet, here we are. No sports, no movies, no concerts, no plans for this summer, no events, no festivals, no nothing of anything. I don’t need too tell you that there is a variety of opinions about the shutdown. How surprised am I supposed to be that there is a controversy, and everybody has a strong and divisive opinion about it? That is just how our world is these days. We seem to like division and controversy. One side is screaming about saving lives where the other side is screaming about the Bill of Rights. Honestly, both sides have a point. That is what makes this so hard.
The question I think we are all wondering, even if we aren’t willing to say it out loud, is where is God in all of this? God is certainly aware of what is happening, and His heart is breaking about this situation. Ohio is currently well over 2,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19. That is nearly double the number of people who were killed in car accidents in Ohio in all of 2019. Vulnerable populations are at risk and our rights are being trampled. Not to mention I really need a haircut.
Do I think that God sent this virus as some kind of punishment? No I do not. I do not believe that God is sending message by sending a plague that mostly effects people who already have some kind of preexisting condition or who live in a nursing home. I believe COVID-19 is a product of a broken world in which we live. Even though I don’t believe COVID-19 came from God, I do believe that God is in the process of using a bad situation to make us better people.
What this virus has done is it has forced us to give real thought to how we interact with other people. Obviously, we now have to be extra aware of personal space, but it is more than that. Public gatherings like worship services, Rotary and Kiwanis meetings, sports and school events are times when we are able to be in each other’s presence. Never have any of us ever been through a time when these experiences have had to be curtailed like they have been these past 2 months. What used to be a last-minute decision to go out for supper has become a treasured opportunity. I missed more Sundays of being in church these last two months than I have missed in the rest of my entire life combined (that is literally true). I will never look at going to church the same way again. Every morning, I look at my arms in the mirror and realize I also will never take going to the gym for granted again either. I miss you SNAP Fitness!
My prayer for you as we continue to endure this season of shutdown is that you have developed a new appreciation for the activities you used to take for granted. Stuff we used to do without thinking are now things we deeply miss. Not the least of which, we miss each other. I don’t know how much longer the shutdown is going to continue, but I invite you to join me in making a list of all of the things you plan to do when the order is lifted and commit to appreciating the opportunity to do those things like never before.