The cascading impact of Covid-19 is a shared reality, but a sometimes-unique experience. A mentor of mine recently posted these wise words from Pastor Sam Barbar offering unique historical insight worth consideration. I identify as a “near miss”. This virus has impacted people I know personally and care for deeply. I also hold very close to my heart the responsibility I carry as your Executive Director. It is my blessing to lead Pregnancy Resources in a manner that seeks to protect the health and well being of our clients, our partners, and our team members and honors our commitment to providing life-affirming help in moments of crisis. This has resulted in decisions that were sometimes difficult but necessary: how to serve clients well, how to safely perform center operations and provide services, how to guard the health and safety of our team members, and how to appropriately facilitate our 30th year Celebration Banquet to name just a few. As you read the words of Pastor Sam, know for certain that you are loved, you are respected, and, even when we don’t fully agree, you are a valuable part of the Pregnancy Resources Family.
A Canadian psychiatrist, J. T. MacCurdy, in his book The Structure of Morale, postulated that the British citizens under assault from the German Luftwaffe in World War 2 were sorted into three groups: those killed in the bombings; those who experienced “near misses;” and those who experienced “remote misses.”
“Near misses” were those who felt the bomb blasts, witnessed first-hand the carnage, yet survived. These people, as a result of their up-close experiences, became ultra-vigilant in their efforts to avoid being killed by the bombs.
“Remote misses” were those who heard the planes, saw a glow of explosion, but were too far away from the bombs to experience them up close. These people had quite a different view of the bombings. This group experienced a sense of euphoria that they seemed to be living “charmed” lives and developed a sense of invulnerability to the bombings. Some even chose to remain in London during the raids so that they wouldn’t miss out on all the excitement.
More than an intriguing history lesson or psychological observation; this phenomenon helps to explain much of the division in our country in these days over the stay-at-home type restrictions that are in place. I think that those who have not really been impacted by the virus have developed a “remote miss” kind of mentality that causes them to doubt the severity of the times. Those who have lost a loved one or themselves suffered with the virus have a more “near miss” kind of mentality, remaining vigilant in their handwashing and social distancing.
To date, I am a “remote miss” person. I know of people who have suffered, but no one very close to me has been infected. I confess to struggling at times with the question, “Is it really that bad?” I’m quite sure if I worked in a metropolitan emergency room or stood vigil beside the bed of a loved one, I would have a very different perspective.
Today I’m trying to let my personal thoughts and emotions be influenced by our common faith. I know all too well how I tend to respond, but I have chosen the way of Jesus and the way of Jesus is never only about me. The way of Jesus reminds me that redemption has always been expressed in love. Having chosen to follow Christ I am now shaped by Christ’s love. It is a self-sacrificing, others-first kind of love. It is this love that becomes the lens through which I view the present circumstance.
Christ’s love compels me to think of you before I think of me. It reminds me to hold in tension the extremes of being a germophobe and a libertarian. We are being asked to walk the tightrope between public health and the freedom to earn a living. These are complex circumstances, but the people of God are up to it. Guided by love, we can move cautiously ahead, testing the uncertain waters of relaxed restrictions while practicing the best of public health. It is this middle way approach that gives us opportunity to both relax and remain vigilant. It is love for both the physically vulnerable and the economically stranded.
Christ’s love is the means to the new normal of balance between public health and personal freedoms. Christian, you are equipped to move confidently into uncertainty, and you must lead the way. Let the love of Christ be your touchstone.
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.[a] 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
I Peter: 1: 22-23, NIV
We are being bombarded almost to the point of information overload. The Covid-19 health crisis and the fall-out is all consuming. There are daily news conferences from every level of government and hourly updates on infection and death rates. Stories of families devastated by the medical, emotional, and financial ramifications of the virus fill our feeds, our pages, our screens, and almost every news story. As we walk through this new complicated reality, it is vital that we Christians NOT FORGET about the value of self-care. Self-care does not mean we neglect the needs of those around us, or we selfishly adopt a “me first” or “survival of the strongest” mentality. Self-care is the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being particularly during periods of stress. Recently, Robin Cabral wrote an article with daily practices that can improve the way we care for ourselves and thus enhance the way we are able to care for others. Below are a just a few of her suggestions that I have adapted to reflect not only sound self-care practices, but also sound Biblical hope and truth.
- Moderate your news and your social media consumption. Nonstop browsing can accelerate stress levels. Make sure that before you believe or share information you find on the internet or hear on the newscast, that you first check and be sure that information is coming from recent and verifiable sources like the CDC or the Surgeon General.
- Make time for Spiritual Refection. How is your prayer life, your time of personal study, and your meditation on scripture? Are you spiritually healthy, or perhaps a little malnourished? This could be a great time to start, resume, or deepen your own personal faith journey.
- Be a positive voice. Why focus on the negative or obsess on present set of circumstances? Share positive stories, quotes and, maybe even humor with your friends, your family, your people. Life is too short to be sad and serious all of the time and we have the HOPE OF JESUS! God is an optimist, and we have the chance to be the positive voice of calm.
- Get outside for a bit if you can.There is nothing like spending time in God’s creation to reset our mood and refocus our perspective to the awesome, creative, and all-powerful nature of God. Rejoice over the trees and flowers that are starting to bloom – nothing stays dormant forever. This too shall pass.
- Take time during this isolation for reflection. Where are you headed? What are some of your goals? Use this time to look at where you are and start to envision where you’d like to be. Get a journal. Write about your fears, your hopes, and your dreams. Pray about what God might be calling you to next and find a friend to join you in that prayer.
- Eat right, exercise and sleep. Healthy food, exercise, and sleep allow us to function at our best and boost immunity. So maybe today you can take a quick walk around the neighborhood – wave at the people you see and allow yourself the chance to get the sleep your body needs to rest and recover for whatever God has in store for you tomorrow.
- Reach out to people around you.This is the time to touch base with the people God has already brought into your life. Check in on your parents, your friends, and the nice people across the street. Let them know that they are not alone. A simple phone call, a quick note in the mail, a friendly conversation from driveway to driveway – it is those acts of kindness that make all the difference.
Sometime, in the last few weeks, we woke up and realized that life as we have known it is different. Drastically different. COVID-19 has impacted us all. Our frailty has been exposed. Uncertainty has crept in. Day to day living has been altered, and plans have been forced to change. Yet, we need not live in fear – for OUR HOPE IS SECURE!
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. — Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)
This is our time to let the hope of Jesus shine. This is our moment to absorb chaos and share the calm sense of peace that is only possible with the saving power of Jesus and the strength that God alone provides. This is our opportunity to meet women and men who are walking in fear and share the assurance we claim even in these chaotic days. Be assured, in mid – February, Pregnancy Resources began making changes – implementing what at the time seemed “extreme protocols” and setting into motion new, accelerated best practices. These best practices would prove necessary and beneficial in helping protect our clients and our team while meeting the immediate needs of our community.
Help is still available at Pregnancy Resources in Davenport & Moline. Emergency diapers are available weekly to those in need. Pregnancy Tests and Ultrasound care will continue to be offered. Life-affirming assistance will be available. Mentoring and classes will eventually return. When it is appropriate, our Mobile Medical Unit will again be brought into service. In the coming weeks and months, ministry operations and services will look different than it has in the past. And that’s ok – it has to be – because it is our new shared reality. And regardless of the details of this day, God is still in control.
I know you have been impacted by these events. Our clients have been profoundly impacted too. The pressure to abort is more intense. Access to help is more limited. The need for the help Pregnancy Resources provides grows by the day. Please continue to pray specifically for us during this time. Pray that our clients will seek our life-affirming help, pray that our team will stay healthy and strong, and pray that the financial needs of the ministry will continue to be met.
Trisha Wilson, Executive Director