I was listening to the radio in shock yesterday as they discussed the lockdown experienced by tennis players and their partners who were required to be in lockdown in some rather nice hotels for a couple of weeks before they were allowed to then compete. The partner of player Bernard Tomic, was putting out on social media, how awful the experience was, now having to wash her own hair(!) as she was not allowed to go out to the salon, where it would usually be washed two to three times a week!! If ever there was an illustration of “First World privilege” folk getting used to a way life that their status or wealth enables, which they mistakenly believe is a right – surely this is it.
Not that I am much better (although hair washing isn’t a big issue to me!), for I confess to having been a bit grumpy at first when as a result of the latest Covid lockdown, my weekly exercise routine was interrupted by the closure of the gym where I serve as chaplain to the YMCA. Rather than focus on what I still could do (and do you know how many local parks we are blessed with, which still enable all sorts of activity?), I fixated for a while on all that which I couldn’t.
Understandably though, as we trudge through this hard enforced lockdown, with the many restrictions that have been imposed, and where choices are limited, it’s easy to fixate on the areas of life where we still have control. Again, I am aware that I perhaps spend more energy currently on smaller issues, mainly because they are the only ones that I can address. Whereas previously I would proffer the advise: "don’t sweat the small stuff” to others – encouraging folk to keep a sense of perspective; appreciating what really is important in life, I recognise that the "small stuff” might be all that we might feel we have control of at the moment. Nevertheless, there still is the need to keep perspective, otherwise we could might find ourselves fixating on whatever is our equivalent ‘hairwashgate’. Instead, even or perhaps especially in these times, the words of Jesus “do not worry” still apply, with his endorsement that his father (and ours) knows and provides all that we need. Indeed, we have received a timely and amazing reminder of the faithfulness of God our provider in the most recent grant that we have received for Refurb.
Finally, if ever someone has a sense of perspective appreciating what is important and what is not, then it must be US president elect Joe Biden. Having endured personal family tragedy, experienced a new found faith, and witnessed first hand both what can be achieved as well as jeopardised by political actions, he is well prepared to sweat both the big and small stuff as he takes on the reins of power today. Do please pray for that nation on his inauguration as president today.
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Keep the faith.