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Sheltering in place

By Judith Victoria Hensley

Contributing Columnist

“Sheltering in place” was not a phrase most of us were familiar with a month ago. With so much of the nation coming to a temporary standstill, we are finding out exactly what it means.

I saw a Facebook post that was a stark reminder to me of what others have endured. Ann Frank, along with seven others, hid out in a tiny space for around two years, trying to protect their lives during WW II. Noah and his family were sequestered on the ark for months.

During the Black Plague, people fled from the cities and shut themselves in, hoping to avoid the terrifying disease. The Sweats, Bubonic Plague, Spanish Flu, and others have taken their toll through the ages and created situations where it was definitely wise to avoid people, find a safe place, and stay put.

There is a story in the Bible about the plagues that came upon Egypt. The worst one was that on a designated night, the death angel passed by and took the eldest of each family. The children of Israel were instructed to apply the blood of a lamb to the doorposts and lentil of their homes so that the death angel would pass by. They had to shelter together with their families. In this current crisis, one might say that those who have the Blood of the Lamb applied to the doorposts of their life through Jesus Christ need to shelter in place with their loved ones as instructed until the death angel passes by in the form of COVID 19.

It is a very “uncomfortable” time in the world. There are so many unknown variables and things over which we have absolutely no control that make us feel this way. How severe will it get? How long will it last? Will our economy recover?

Watching too much news and watching the numbers climb will certainly cause distress. While I think many people still are not taking the whole situation seriously enough, there are others in a state of fear and panic. Neither are good.

I try to look on the positive side of any situation. In a way, we have been given a gift of time as we shelter in place. Families are gathered in because work schedules have stopped for millions across the country. It is an opportunity to make that time count. Talk to each other. Play board games. Watch a movie together. Call loved ones who are sheltering in place alone.

During this season, there is an opportunity to do things we might ordinarily put off. Read a good book. Clean out closets. Write. Do something creative. Sing together. Tell stories. Write letters. Sew. Exercise. Try out a new recipe. Get in touch with an old friend. Check on a senior citizen outside of the immediate family. Talk to each other. Social media and telephone allow us to make contact without being face to face or in harm’s way.

Many feel that the most important thing they can do during this season is pray. Pray for our medical professionals and support personnel across the world. Pray for our first responders and military. Pray for custodial crews that clean and disinfect. Pray for scientist that are desperately trying to find a cure. Pray for those in leadership to make wise and timely decisions. Pray for new inventions and increased production of much needed medicines, test kits, and items in caring for the sick or in being the care provider. Pray for people to behave responsibly during this season. Pray for our president and national leaders, and for the politicians to dissolve party lines and work together for the sake of our nation and our population. Pray for families to be unified and grow together during this time. Pray for people to find faith in God.

In the darkest of night is when the smallest flame shines brightest. I’ve read that in total darkness, the flame of a single candle can be seen from miles away. Let us all strive to be a light in this dark season.