This is Pastor Tim’s article that appeared in the Evening Leader on June 15, 2020
This past week, I have had a very stark reminder of the world we live in. For the past number of months, all we have heard about is COVID-19. We have to shut down everything so that we don’t spread the virus. Back in early March, we were asked for 15 days to flatten the curve. The shutdown is officially at 93 days as of the publication of this article and there is no end in sight.
We got a short reprieve from this when a rogue police officer killed an innocent man by putting his knee on his neck. I was appalled at this and I want this former police officer prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Even though I fully condemn what this officer did because it was evil, inexcusable, and made me outraged, I was somehow at fault for this even though I am currently on locked down and had no way to be present when this event took place.
So in this time of great disruption during this past week, I have received 2 phone calls I did not want. The first was from a family that was in a church I served back from 2000-2003. Their 15-year-old son had a brain aneurysm and was in critical condition. I went to sit with them because my pastor’s license got me past hospital security where none of their extended family were allowed in to be with them because of COVID-19 restrictions. I was with them for a few hours and during that time, a cafeteria worker asked his parents and I not to sit at the same table. His mom sat at a different table and we loudly talked about their dying son from a distance of more than 6 feet. Last Saturday, I went down to do that child’s funeral where it was family only because of…well you know.
The day I spent with this family, I got another phone call from the daughter of my neighbor when I lived in Lima at my previous congregation. He was a dear, sweet man who just loved the dog I used to have. I would go over and sit with he and his wife and watch OSU football games. He was not doing well, and his daughter asked if I would call and speak with him. I called and we talked for a while. 2 days later, he also passed away. I officiated at his graveside, family only funeral last Thursday.
The purpose of this article is to say there is more going on in our world than just government shutdowns, protesting and rioting. There are real people who are hurting for more issues than just these. I know because I have met with these people and many more. Our community still has needs, we are still afraid, and there are people suffering from a variety of factors even though we are all very preoccupied two main threats right now.
We can’t develop tunnel vision during these times because there is much good work that needs to be done. We may have been able to put a lot of things on hold during this time of shut down, but there are also problems that don’t care what rules, laws and guidelines are in place, they are still going to happen. We can’t think that viruses and racism are the only issues we have to face. None of the other challenges plan to take any time off even though so much else has been shut down.
I know that the world is a very different place than it was 3 months ago. I can’t believe we are here. I don’t know if we will ever get back to normal again. But in this time of great unrest, I want to encourage you to be diligent. Keep in touch with people because we all feel so disconnected right now. The two families had to reach out to me even though I am outside of their normal circle right now because all of the normal connections that should have stepped up were not able to. The world may be mostly still shut down and we may be afraid to step out, but there are people we care about who need us and we have a responsibility to come through when it counts. That is the main reason I resent the theme of disunity that is being pushed so hard right now.
No one is strong enough to face the whole world alone. Life can be hard, that is why it is best when we all live it together.