Week of July 20th, 2020

                I write these words today with a troubled heart and an unsettled mind. 

            I have been deceived, led astray, done things against my convictions, and failed to live up to my personal expectations.

            There is no one or anything I can blame for that other than myself! 

            That hurts!

            Some weeks ago we were introduced to something that was called a pandemic.  Not an epidemic; a pandemic.  I knew the meaning of the word. 

            Basically an EPIDEMIC is a disease that affects a large number of people within a community, population, or region.  A PANDEMIC is an epidemic that’s spread over multiple countries or continents.

            We can have an epidemic of measles in Wayne County.  That would be bad enough but it would be something that only affected our community. 

            A pandemic can affect the entire world!

            We were told that the Coronavirus is a pandemic!  It is a devastating health issue that affects the entire world.  And, so it seemed to be.  It is in China, England, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Italy, and almost every other country on the face of the earth.

            It was impossible to watch the news channels without being bombarded with what this pandemic was going to do.

            We were told that the United States alone would be facing between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths.  Military hospital ships were deployed to the East and the West coast cities.  Thousands of beds were made ready to treat the overflow patients that could not be treated in the hospitals.  The Army Corps of Engineers was mobilized to build emergency field hospitals around the country.

            We listened and watched the “news” outlets and we were filled with fear and trembling.  Millions of Americans lost their jobs.  Trillions of dollars were distributed to most American households to stimulate the economy.  Schools and universities were closed.  School buses were turned into food delivery vehicles to keep children from starving.  Churches were “closed” and people were told going to church would spread the virus and cause thousands of deaths.  The panic caused crazed people to hoard toilet paper, ground beef, bread, and eggs. 

            And, that’s just a very small part of the response to this worldwide pandemic that was about to cause the end of civilization.

            Yes, people died and we were told that most of the deaths that were occurring were because of the virus.  It seemed that no one was dying because of heart disease, cancer, or old age. 

            We’ve lived through all this turmoil to know that there have not been hundreds of thousands of deaths in America.  One of the hospital ships only admitted less than 200 patients.  The field hospitals that were built at a cost of around $660 million dollars did not treat a single patient. 

            I, for one, am very thankful that 240,000 Americans did not die.  I am thankful that hospital beds were not needed.  I am thankful the awful “news” of the pandemic never materialized.

            AND, I am ashamed of the way I accepted what was being said by the experts, the scientists, and the politicians.  In looking back, I am ashamed.

            I should have known better!  I should have used more intelligence, common sense, and wisdom!

            I should have recognized that there are unscrupulous politicians that would use the situation to further their goal of power and control.

            I should have known that the greed and selfishness of a portion of our population would use the situation of line their own pockets even if it meant depriving others of the necessities of life.

            I should have known that there are those who are so depraved of any moral compass that they would welcome depriving God fearing and God loving people of the God-given right to worship.

            I should have known that there are those who would use the pandemic as a tool to destroy our country.

            I should have known!

            But, I gave in too soon.  I believed a lot of what others were telling me.  I trusted those who presented themselves as experts, scientists, and medical professionals.  I wanted to believe that all our government leaders were committed to protecting and serving the American people. 

            So, what happened?

            I bought into putting aside the necessity for Christians to meet together in obedience to all the New Testament teaches us about worship.  I did not use my good sense to recommend common sense practices that would permit us to continue our traditions of “going to church.”  When those restrictions were lifted; I announced to the congregation that I serve that we would begin meeting together again.  You know what I found out that first Lord’s Day?  I learned that we were not doing one single thing that we could not have done two months ago!  We found ways to practice social distancing.  We figured out a way to participate together in the observance of the Lord’s Supper.  We found that we could greet each other without an abundance of hugging or hand shaking!  We even found a way to “take up the offering” without any danger!  We wore our masks and joined together to sing praises to God.

            We could have done all those things without missing a single Sunday hunkering down in our homes and being fearful of participating in corporate worship!  I gave up too soon!

            Going to church was not the only thing that we avoided.

            Memorial Day rolls around and there are hundreds of announcements made that Memorial Day services had been cancelled!  Placing of flags at veteran’s grave was forbidden in many cases!  There was a noticeable reduction of wreathes at the grave sites of veterans!  The solemn century long tradition of a Memorial Day service was broken!  In my opinion those traditions could have continued with some modifications and adjustments.  We didn’t have to abandon them!  I gave up too soon!

            Like so many things these days; I know some of you will be quick to register your disagreement with some or all of what I’ve written.  Just so you know; I didn’t write a single word to have your agreement!  I know that there are some who will try and politicize my comments.  Have at it.  You’ve been wrong about other things, haven’t you?  Some will throw me into a pile with conspirator theorists to disrespect my strong convictions.  My convictions have been disrespected before.

            I am coming out of all this upheaval and turmoil having learned a personal lesson.

            We may have other pandemics and we may be bombarded with a media blitz that will result in spreading fear and anxiousness.

            But, I will not be so quick to give in next time.  I will be very skeptical of what others attempt to tell me.  My trust will not be so quickly extended to those who claim to be the experts and professionals.  My confidence in political leaders will not be so easily gained.

            With God’s help and my reliance upon it; I will use more wisdom! I will depend more upon my common sense.  I will exercise more judgment. 

            I have learned something from the Great 2020 Pandemic!

            I hope I will be a better person because of it!

                                                                                                       -Harlan