What to do with the “what ifs”

I started working from home on March 20th and here we are at April 4th with the mandate to “social distance” extended to April 30.  My already small world has shrunk considerably and now consists of my home (which I love) and my cat, Luvy (who I also love even though he bites me sometimes… no he bites me lots of times). Anyway, I am working remotely so there is contact by email and messenger with my co-workers.  For personal contacts there’s Facebook, Instagram, texting and, of course, the old faithful telephone albeit in its new form (that darned addictive iPhone).

With all of those ways to connect still the “care-freedom” that existed before is starkly absent.  No more hopping in the car without a thought for a jaunt to Walmart to pick up motor oil and lettuce.  No more gathering at the local pizza joint for a giant Calzone filled with obscene amounts of ricotta, pepperoni and sausage.   I understand this social distancing is vitally important to stop the spread of this potentially deadly virus and to protect each other.  I’m on board just like everyone else but still I have had to venture out a couple of times.  Once to the grocery store and then again when my remote work computer connection stopped running.  I didn’t want to go out either time but I had to because groceries were becoming depleted and I want to have a job when this whole mess is over.

I have to admit that each time I left the safe cocoon of my home I became a little afraid and also aware that my 14-day incubation period just started again.  That’s when the “What Ifs” get started.  Our minds are powerful things… taking us on journeys, some good and some just plain counterproductive to any kind of positive outlook.  Now, I know there is a chance that I will contract the coronavirus somehow just like thousands of other people and I also know that I am in that “over sixty” crowd “with underlying conditions.”  I’m also aware that puts me in jeopardy if I should somehow contract the disease.  Awareness…. yes, I am aware.

Last Wednesday when I was dutifully working away my cell phone rang… up comes Pastor Ken’s name.

“Hi!  Pastor Ken,” I said, being truly happy to see his call.

“Can you come out?  I’m right in your driveway,” he replied.

“Sure,” I said as I donned my coat thinking how grateful I was that I hadn’t stayed in my P.J.’s that day.

Where there would usually be a greeting of a hug (I love Pastor Ken’s hugs), we greeted each other from a distance.  It was nice to see him in person, not just through the computer screen on Sunday when my church offers worship online.  We chatted for a minute and then he asked if he could read from the Bible with me.

“Of course!  I would love that,” I said and I felt like I could cry (like I feel now).

Pastor Ken read from Psalms… Psalm 121.  Now, I don’t usually remember what book or verse of the Bible is being read but this so profoundly comforted me at that moment that I wanted to remember and find it again when the fear begins to reboot in my mind as I knew it would.  I’ve thought a lot about my own mortality over the past year after losing my Mumzie and now again with this virus lurking about I’m thinking about it again.  I suppose we all are.   I don’t know if we are ever ready to die but I’m trusting in a loving God, who promises us Heaven and so I’m really trying to leave everything in my life at His feet.  All the “what ifs” everything is in God’s loving and tender hands and that’s where it belongs in, His hands, not just now in a crisis but always.  I need to remember that.

So, for you here is Psalm 121: 1-8 (English Standard Version) from Pastor Ken.

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?

2My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.