Discover Prompts Day 17: Social Distancing. Wait, What?

Who comes up with this stuff? Social distancing? For people like me who are socially distant, nothing has changed. Except, of course for the mask that no two people agree on for more than forty-seven seconds.

I’m ok with social distancing, if it means staying away from crowds of people. I’m really not doing anything different than I was before. The real difference is we quit watching the news. I’m social distancing myself from everybody who does the news. Now that, I can get excited about.

I have a t-shirt with an inscription, “It’s way too peopley outside.” Yep. It is way too peopley outside, not just during all this craziness, (not that I’m one of those who believe the virus isn’t real, it’s real alright), but always. Staying away from people has not been difficult at all. It was hard, however, to follow the rules and stay away from our family for the first month. Not doing it anymore.

This is why I always got into so much trouble when I was a pastor. There were people everywhere! No one ever told me being a pastor was about being with people. Constantly.

I honestly envy pastors I have met who just cannot get enough of being around their people. I heard one pastor say, “If I could just preach and visit my people, I’d be the happiest man in the world.” I was dumbfounded. A retired pastor said, “I miss the burden of the people.” I thought he was crazy. The burden of the people? What does that even mean? Another pastor friend said, “The toughest thing for me to do on my day off is stay away from the church.” I thought, I’ve heard it all, now. This guy is out of his mind. The last place anyone ever found me on my day off was near the church. In fact, they couldn’t find me at all!

I hated visiting, and that’s where I fell on my face. People demanded it. Oh, I didn’t mind going to the hospitals, or doing funerals and weddings. Those were short term, in and out. At least the hospitals and weddings were. Funerals were a lot tougher. I have no idea how many funerals and weddings I officiated. And besides officiating, the ones where I played the piano. Add a whole bunch more. Do I miss it? You have to be kidding. If anyone had told me many years ago it would all involve endless people, I probably wouldn’t have done it. It’s a good thing they didn’t tell me, I guess.

People tell me I was a good preacher, and I appreciate it (I retired from ministry in 2004 after thirty-one years. After I retired I was asked to fill in for several months at a couple of churches. Now that was better! I didn’t have to do anything but preach. Preaching was always easy. If I could preach and head out the back door when I was done, that was like heaven. Finally, I reached the point where I don’t even fill in anymore, and I don’t miss it. Too many people.

Social distancing isn’t difficult at all for introverts. I’m ok when there are people around who I love and trust. I’ve never been a party planner. If I absolutely have to go, ok, I can make it through the night. The love of my life can talk to anyone, anytime, for any reason. I love her for it. Maybe if she could have been the pastor (the word pastor actually means shepherd) and I could have been the preacher, I could have lasted longer. No, she was a middle school teacher for many years. One of the great ones.

Someone gave me a book entitled, “Pastors – They Smell Like Sheep”. Uhh, nope. I never read it. In fact, I think I gave it away. I wasn’t interested in smelling like sheep.

My wife’s mother told her family that during the Great Depression, her family didn’t notice anything different. They raised their own food on the farm. They didn’t have anything of value except their land. They lived as they always had. It’s sort of like that now. For those who don’t live on being around others constantly, social distance is nothing new.

I wonder how much money some advertising agency has made by coming up with the phrase “social distancing”. Wait. I’m not supposed to think or say things like that. Social distancing is the new reality. Or so they tell us. If we’re listening, that is.

My coffee is cold. Time to nuke it again.

Managing Covid Media Mania

It really is everything I can do to not yell at the TV. I really am trying. In fact, I have been making serious effort to cut off my natural inclination to sarcasm and cynicism. The more I refuse to give vent to what is happening in my head by keeping my mouth shut, the easier it becomes. But the news media makes it difficult.

I have to admit the ubiquitous “this is horrible, it’s getting worse, the death toll is expected to rise, we haven’t seen the worst, there’s no end in sight, will we ever recover?” comments have been followed, a few times, with reporting on the numbers of people who have recovered from Covid-19.

Why are the media constantly reporting polls? Really? If the nation’s response to this virus is being run by what random groups of people think about it, we are all in a lot of trouble!

Why do we have to constantly hear about celebrities? This one I cannot stand! In the midst of people dying, thousands of families without enough food to eat, doctors and nurses who have no strength left, first-responders doing everything they can to keep up, we are deluged with “news” about how celebrity so-and-so is coping. Who cares?! What really burned my biscuit was a report, meaning it actually received air time, about what a famous singer wore for a workout!

I do believe in statistics. I believe the threat of Covid-19 is real. I know the numbers are telling a frightening story. But I absolutely hate feeling manipulated.

I wonder what would happen if, instead of twenty-seven minutes of horror and three minutes of some remarkable and uplifting story, the news programs committed to just the opposite.

Thankfully, we are told “we’re going to get through this”, and I believe we will. However, it’s not going to be the major media providing the light at the end of the tunnel. It will be the every-day-people, day after day, doing the right things, helping a neighbor, waving at a stranger, saying “hi” through their mask, all without ever being noticed that will make it happen.

Covid Blues

Lyrics by Dale Parsons
As Covid tries to spread throughout the land
It’s time to rise and boldly take a stand
For quarantine and distance, and staying right at home
My wife is here, so I won’t be alone.

They tell us that it’s dangerous out there
There’s nasty germs and virus everywhere
The toilet paper’s missing, whatever shall we do
There’s not much on the shelf from which to choose.

I will make a difference, I won’t drive my car
It gets mighty boring, driving in my yard
I can’t go to Walmart whenever I choose,
It’s awful living with the Covid blues.

I’m doing things I’ve never done before
To keep from running, screaming out the door
I think I’m hearing voices, I’m seeing things not there
I’m pulling out what’s left of my hair.

I guess I’m gonna live, it’s not that bad
I have all the time I wished I had
To do the things I want to, projects near and far,
I just can’t remember what they are.

I will make a difference, I won’t drive my car
It gets mighty boring, driving in my yard
I can’t go to Walmart whenever I choose,
It’s awful living with the Covid blues.

Just for fun.

Be well everyone.