As I sit here writing this from my house in Louisville, KY, I am swayed by many thoughts… May I be completely transparent and share some of them?
“I am supposed to be in Las Vegas for the start of March Madness with 85 other guys from our city. We had two Top 100 golf courses lined up to play out there and it was undoubtedly going to be an incredible trip. If the tables were nice to us as a bonus, then it would have been an over-the-top trip!
“Wow… next week I was supposed to go to Reds Opening Day. It’s one of my favorite days of the year and a holiday in my hometown of Cincinnati, OH…
“Right after that we were supposed to leave for Longboat Key, Florida with my family for four nights, then head over to Disneyworld for two nights so that Grace (my daughter), could give her “binky” pacifier to Cinderella because I promised she could do that when she was ready to give it up.
“And what about all the opportunities ahead to build my broadcast resume? Over the next three weekends, I was supposed to call spring games at Boston College, Pittsburgh, and FSU. At least one of those calls I was going to get to be in the booth as the color analyst…
“The Kentucky Derby! That was set to be held the first weekend in May! What about that? It’s always been one of my favorite weekends of the year and this year we were set to host 16 friends of ours! That was going to be a blast! My good friend Michael Ray was set to headline the Kentucky Derby Festival concert the week before…”
WOW. The next eight weeks have now been completely scratched.
It’s not a surprise to anyone reading this that it seems like most of life’s activities are canceled because of the Corona Virus — a pandemic which has taken over the world and is now affecting all of us in the U.S.
I will admit– I had a very selfish mindset in regard to the virus at first. And I still don’t know what to think, as it’s hard to know what to believe in this day and age of social media and bipartisan news outlets. At first, I figured this virus most likely wouldn’t affect me so I was going to continue on as usual.
Yet as I have done more research, I have come to realize this is obviously very severe and should be taken very seriously… by all of us.
I am not writing today to inform you about the virus because I’m no expert on it.
Rather, I was convicted earlier this week by a conversation I had with a buddy and I want to share that conviction with you:
This is a tough time in the lives of so many people right now. This virus is affecting nearly everyone in some shape or form. It could turn out to be the most trying time in many people’s lives. Some are going to lose loved ones to this virus. Others will lose businesses. Many will lose their retirement. People are being isolated, including many who deal with mental issues. Children are going without appropriate care because most schools have been closed and many of their parents still need to work. There is a great number of children who usually get the only meal they have throughout the day while they are at the school, which is now shut down.
My grandparents lived during the Great Depression, a time when so many were drafted to go to war, and many went through extremely tough times in their lives. They shared stories of how they spent incredible amounts of time separated from their loved ones, and people were regularly rationed as to how much gas they could get or sugar they could buy.
As I reflect on my grandparent’s experience, there is no stinking way I am going to sit around and complain about all my plans that are now cancelled. Trips that can be rebooked another time. Broadcasts that hopefully I will be able to do another time.
So, how will I be spending my time “social distancing” and what will likely become a total nation-wide quarantine?
First, I plan to serve in any way I can. This week we got to volunteer at church and helped to provide meals to 5,000 people in Louisville, through getting carry-out from locally owned restaurants that need support. I will use social media to try to lift others up through this tough time and promote ways we can benefit each other. I believe that any time that we are too inwardly focused, we are bound to struggle internally. So if this virus is getting you anxious or depressed, won’t you join me? Let’s try to serve others in any way that we can.
Next, let’s dig into our faith. Taking a step back from the busyness of life has allowed me the luxury of not making excuses for not completing my morning routine– maintaining Christian gratitude journal, reading the Bible, and praying. Let’s use this time to dig into our faith and connect with God. God will give us peace and provide comfort through this difficult season. Bob Russell suggested these verses below to help get us through the tough times that are bound to come in the days and weeks, maybe even months ahead:
Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Psalm 46:1-2 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…”
Isaiah 40:31 “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Matthew 6:25-26 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
John 16:33 “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Matthew 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Thirdly, spend more time with family. I plan to use this time to connect with my family on a deeper level. With work and all the trips, I had coming up– some included them, but there several that were going to be spent away. Now I am going to do my best to cherish this extra time together with my wife and kids, serving them in any way I can. Let’s all make it a point to not complain about how our kids are sometimes a distraction from our work at home, or how stir-crazy they are, but instead, try to think about how lucky we are to get to spend more time with them.
Fourth– self-care. I plan on working out on a consistent basis and getting more sleep. All of the trips and work was going to come with a lack of sleep and likely some overindulgence. Now I have time to step back and hone in on health and wellness. We can all do this! If you don’t have workout equipment at home, get online and search for bodyweight exercises to do. Take a walk. Recharge your body during this time! The best thing you can do is get more sleep.
Lastly, put a limit on social media and news. It is important that we all get the latest updates with regulations and information regarding the virus, but it is unhealthy for us to obsess over them all day. The hysteria that gets cultivated at times will drive us nuts and that’s the last thing we need during a time of social isolation. I’m going to pick a time in the morning and in the afternoon to get my updates, then try to avoid it for the rest of the day.
Let’s use this time as a time to hit the RESET button. We have a chance to reset our priorities in life since so much of what we take for granted on a day-to-day basis is taken away. Let’s take time to think about what we want most in life and what we will pursue during this social distancing period. Come up with a plan of action. How will we attack those pursuits immediately after the regulations are lifted?
Keep in mind. We are being asked to stay in our homes, not go to war!
On a side note– I know it might seem to some of you reading this that it’s an easy thing for me to advise since I’m not writing this blog next to a hospital bed mourning a sick loved one, or worrying about a business that may not make it through this time. To that I say– I do own a workout facility that operates on small margins, and it’s currently shut down. And if you still feel animosity because of the state that I write this in, please comment on how I can serve you. I would love to hear from you!
I leave you with this:
When this is over, may we not take a handshake or embrace for granted again. Let’s not take for granted rounds of golf, trips with friends and family, attending sporting events, playing sports, going to concerts, gathering at church, or doing business at our regular work establishment. Let’s all allow these present circumstances to help each of us to RESET and come out of this on the other side, more unified, peaceful and stronger because of it.