CLEVELAND, Ohio – Think about when the calendar turned to 2020. Or even when baseball spring training opened in the middle of February. Or how about when you could go to church, visit a nursing home and attend a basketball game.
The world was a much different place. It wasn’t that long ago, less than four months, but it feels like forever.
Did you ever think the government and store owners would want you to wear a mask when walking into a bank? I thought about that when my bank recently opened its lobby. It used to be the bad guys who wore masks in banks. Now, it’s supposed to be the good thing to do.
As I’m writing this, I’m working from home and awaiting a Zoom conference call in a few hours. I never heard of Zoom until a few months ago — now those of us in certain professions stare at our big box (a computer) and see our faces in a little box along with many others on the computer screens.
That led to this stirring debate: Which is better, Zoom or Teams?
If you don’t know or don’t have to care, be thankful.
THE NEW WORLD ORDER
Are you “sheltering in place” and “staying safe?” Think about those phrases. Who ever heard of “Sheltering in Place” until a few months ago?
Last year, if someone had said to me, “Stay Safe,” I’d probably be a little paranoid and wondering if they knew something I should know.
There are times I feel like Howard The Duck. I don’t expect most people to remember Dear Old Howard, who was a Marvel comic book character in the 1970s. There also was a bad movie about Howard in 1986. I didn’t read many comic books, or much about Howard. But on the cover of every Howard The Duck comic book, it read: “TRAPPED IN A WORLD HE NEVER MADE!”
I’m 65. I remember when a phone sat on table or was nailed into a wall. It was used only to talk to someone. The other day, I was watching a business channel. The subject was Apple stock and iPhones. One market expert said: “People would rather have iPhones than their shoes.”
Name something people value more than their cell phones. We’d like to think it’s relationships, but don’t be too sure about that. Take away the cellphone and how would many people communicate without texting and social media?
STRANGERS IN THIS WORLD
When I write about this, it’s not a political statement. I’m clueless about what is the best way to deal with COVID-19 and I’m not the one having to make major policy decisions.
I miss seeing my “mom” Melva Hardison at her nursing facility. I miss going to church. I miss sports not only because it’s what I write about, but it’s also a useful diversion in times of stress for many people. I find myself praying more, even if the prayers are meandering and unfocused.
For many people, there is a sense of major loss from illness, deaths and jobs disappearing. There also is grief for many of us who know life is changing quickly, and we have no idea what’s coming in the next six months if it’s anything like the last six.
Maybe you’re not wondering about that, but I am.
1 Peter 2:11 reads: “I urge you are foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires which wage war against your soul.”
The fear, the anger, the unrest, the daily virus count and people being told to “social distance” and stay away from each other is doing some very strange things in society right now. If you feel a “war against your soul,” you’re not alone. It has happened before, as St. Peter wrote about 2,000 years ago.
Or as Howard The Duck raged over in the 1970s.
There’s an old gospel song called “I’m But A Stranger Here, Heaven Is My Home.”
For many of us, that as true now as ever in our lives.
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