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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Coronavirus aka Control, Alt, Delete

      First I must say that as a nurse, I understand and support the precautions to contain this mysterious threat and I believe the concern for possibly overwhelming our entire health care system is very real.   This "bug", called a zoonose, has hopped from animals to humans and carries much uncertainty. I'm sure by now you have learned more about this malady than you ever wanted to know! Like you, I was amazed to watch our nation screech rather abruptly to a standstill, crippled by something that's only visible under a microscope. Something unseen is causing very obvious, painful, and life-altering events.
     Its easy for me to talk to you about ways to prolong your life and well-being. Healthy diet is right up my alley, along with aerobic/ anaerobic exercise and mental health. I got your homeostasis and Terminologia Anatomica. Basically the care of the human machine. But computers hadn't been invented when me and my dinosaur first went to school so I am still slightly intimidated by them and their unique language. So please give me a pass if I am not up to speed on algorithms and programming verbiage. But three words really lit up in my spirit in regard to the present state of our country as we deal with this unprecedented virus. More on them in a moment.
    Sometimes as I'm working on my computer, I notice that the system is slow to respond to my commands. I check my internet connection and find that it is humming along. What could be slowing me down? I glance down at the bottom of my screen and see that I have too many applications running. Pages I thought I had closed are siphoning power in the background and draining my speed. Things I had relegated to history were popping up to drag me down. So I need to close all unnecessary tabs as soon as possible in order to complete the pressing task at hand. This seems to be a waste of my time but it will actually enable increased efficiency. If that fails, I may have to execute a total reset. Shut the whole thing down. This is a bit more time consuming but it is amazing how much faster my computer will respond after the shutdown.
     The word that came to mind as I watched our societal system freeze was Reset. Can it be that in this uncomfortable time of inconvenience, financial loss, anxiety and scarcity that we need to take a step back, catch our breath and evaluate our lifestyle? Hopefully this is forcing us to rethink our priorities. Are we more upset at missing a sporting event than we are at the thought that our fellow-citizens may be in need? Are our worries predominately about ourselves? Our lifestyles have become so busy and loud that we seldom stop to listen to God or to our own hearts. Maybe this mandatory shutdown is an opportunity to refocus.
    You may remember when Hurricane Hugo hit in 1989. We had no electricity, no gas for our vehicles and most stores and banks were closed. This went on for up to two weeks in some neighborhoods. But the majority of folks checked on their neighbors, shared their supplies and actually enjoyed being outdoors. A friend who suffered with insomnia confided to me that she was sleeping well, without medication, for the first time in years. After 911, we forgot who Republicans and Democrats were and all of us were just Americans, thankful to be alive. Church attendance soared and there was a resurgence of the display of American flags. Unfortunately, when troubles eased, we regressed back to selfishness and lost our attitude of gratitude.
    I mentioned earlier that three words came to me. They are Control, Alt and Delete. What do they have to do with the Coronavirus? I'm so glad you asked. The control key is in actuality a modifier, which performs a certain action when its pressed in conjunction with another key. It rarely performs any function by itself. The Alt key means option, or alternate graphic. And delete means to obliterate or wipe out.
     Our finger on the key doesn't actually mean we are in control. Sure our choices are important but there are so many aspects of our lives outside of our control. Our Creator does still rule and has the inherent right to do as He wills with this "little blue ball" that hangs suspended on His word alone. Maybe not consciously but we have made every attempt to wrest control from His hands.We prefer to make our own rules.
       The Bible says He laughs because men call their property by their own names. We are here such a brief few moments in the grand scheme of eternity, that from Heaven's viewpoint, its pointless to record our property at the courthouse. In the blink of an eye, our lives are over, as are the few minutes of our descendants' lives. David asked God to teach him to realize the brevity of life so that he would grow in wisdom. In other words, to use wisely the time we have. Can this event help us realize that the one who dies with the most toys, still dies?  Will we wonder if our frantic lifestyles to obtain stuff and security should really be our goal?
     Remember the Alt key? It can present a different option or picture. Is it possible that we have focused our attention on the wrong graphic? This is a great time to ask if the carrot dangling before us is truly worthy of our attention and energy. Is it of real and of eternal value? Does it benefit someone besides me? Does it glorify the God who put me here for His particular purpose at this precise moment in history? 
    Thankfully, we have the last key; Delete. We have the power to wipe out incorrect choices and habits from our lives. Some things we thought we couldn't live without have been obliterated, at least for now. Its certain that our lives will change and we will be changed by this experience. Could it be that we emerge from this with a greater sense of purpose, gratitude and clarity about who we really are?
   The Coronavirus will soon be a thing of the past. Meanwhile, its a great time to power down, shut off draining processes we may have running in the background.  So that when we're up and running again, we will be sure to run in the right direction.

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