We are at a challenging point in life right now. The world is dealing with COVID-19. A virus that is challenging to medical staff, governments, families and individuals. A virus that has tightened social restrictions from countries, travelling, to groups of less than 250...than 100....than 10....to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. A virus that has closed schools. A virus that is spreading faster than what we know to do with....for now. A virus that has definitely slowed, if not halted, the economy in Michigan and other areas except for "essential" services.
I looked up "essential". According to Merriam-Webster.com (HOW convenient! I didn't even need to find a dictionary!), as an adjective it means of the utmost importance. As a noun, essential means something basic or something necessary, indispensable or unavoidable.
We are told to wash our hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds. Don't touch your face!
The beginning of virus warfare was panic buying for essentials. Apparently, many considered toilet paper to be one of THE most essential items to have for staying at home. Baby wipes and hand sanitizer quickly flew off the shelves as well. This was probably early to mid March 2020 in the United States. As of the beginning of April, many shelves for paper products are still empty.
If we venture out to the store, we are urged to make as few trips as possible, to only have one person from a family shop, to practice "social distancing" of 6' from each other in lines, etc. Most doctor/medical appointments are being done by "telehealth": online conference apps between medical staff and patient. Schools were closed. Decisions are still being made about the rest of the school year. Most teachers and students can connect through online communication. Many parents are working from home if able. So far, restaurants are open for take-out, carry-out or drive through. No sit down dining. No sports - end of seasons. No concerts, but many musicians have cheered us up online with impromptu home concerts.
We are urged to stay at home unless absolutely necessary for food and other groceries. So far, we are allowed to be able to be outside for walks and exercise. If doing these activities with another person, we are urged to stay 6' apart. We are being told to try and limit exposure as much as possible. Our mom is at a nursing home. Residents are not allowed visitors. Staff is being temperature tested to enter for work. We have made some visits to mom's window or on Facebook Messenger to video chat.
This has brought up some interesting thoughts and conversations for politicians and business owners. What defines an "essential" employee? What work can be done remotely from home? How will this change employment structures WHEN this all calms down?
Friends, I urge us not to find our self worth tied to any job title or skill set. I feel that this will be easy to do if we are told to not work and file for unemployment. The term essential does NOT define our importance. To our employer. To our families. To ourselves. Many things have changed or shut down. Here's an exciting discovery: The world HAS NOT stopped spinning.
Here's another thing. YOU are essential to the One that knew your beginning and knows your end. YOU were especially created for such a time as this. NOBODY ELSE can fill in YOUR piece of this puzzle we call life.
Yes, this virus is scary. The situations coming because of it are nerve-wracking and anxiety producing. And yet....there are good things continuing to happen on our spinning sphere. Neighbors are looking out for each other. We can still smile with our eyes even if it is determined that wearing a mask will help. Keep looking for the good. Keep knowing that YOU are important and very essential just because YOU ARE YOU.
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Esther 4:12-14 (NIV) When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”**
**If you would like to read more of Esther's story, there are 7 chapters in the book of Esther in the Bible. www.biblegateway.com is an excellent resource