Where to begin? In brief, the Covid Pandemic has revealed weaknesses in ourselves and in our societies. Fact: “In the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25%, according to a scientific brief released by the World Health Organization (WHO).” ** Jefferson Airplane had a solution in their version of “Wooden Ships” (originally written by Stills, Kantner, & Crosby). “Go ride the music.”
Good idea. However, that could be a perfect illustration of a systematic method everyone uses to cope with anxieties and depressing experiences, boredom and idleness. Distraction. We think if we ignore those things which bother us, they will go away. Yet, like summertime gnats and mosquitoes, they just do not leave us alone.
Now, I am not saying the many ways we entertain ourselves are not enriching our lives, but when we cannot cope with isolation with ourselves so that even living in closeness with our spouses or our families, we are feeling somehow estranged… and when being distracted is the be all and end all solution, we have become way out of balance. Distractions have then become a necessity rather than an extracurricular activity.
“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things,” and I would add, obtain such things in your living. So, I am not advocating a prudish Victorian lifestyle which only snobbish Royalty could conveniently claim. Rather, I am affirming that because “recreation’’ is a word that combines the prefix “re,”meaning “renewing,” and the word “creation.” When combined it means something that provides enjoyment and more importantly, revitalization. The Bible adds “…and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude],” (Ephsians 4:23, Amplified Bible) This doesn’t leave much room for drudgery. Joy and inner peace is what we need to obtain and can only truly receive in Jesus who came and died for that very purpose.
Anyway, all genres of music have always been a refuge for me, no matter what century — which brings me back to my point: People, including myself, have found dozens of ways to distract from the unpleasant, the difficult, the hardships, the loneliness, the calamities and conundrums of life — the gnats and mosquitoes at a picnic. Sometimes in spite of our best attempts at distraction, we become ill — mentally and perhaps even physically. The problems just don’t disappear. Distractions are good in a way. Yes. It gives a person time, time to find solutions However, where do we find those solutions? To close our eyes? No. Covid has forced eyes to be openned. No escaping it.
I have found a more permanent solution, one that deals directly with whatever difficulties in life we face. Perhaps, it is THE solution, but apparently it is hard to accept. It seems too simple. Yet, I understand why people reject it out of hand. Nevertheless, I implore everyone to seriously consider this solution. Maybe if it came with a hefty price tag? Maybe it needs more glitz and glimmer? Many dress it up and ask for contributions as the key to “happiness,”and people line up in droves to buy into it. Listen, that is the paternal Corporation materialism talking. Our minds have been saturated with it. It is such a poor option.
The Bible explains “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.” (see what Jesus says in Matthew 6:32, “These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.”
Then there is no need to seek salvation from trouble through purchasing material things. The purchase price has already been paid — a gift card, if you will. The solution is free for the asking. It is really not that hard to find, and it is pragmatic and applicable to every bump in the road. The hangup might be that we have to admit we are needy.
People give their testimonials for a myriad of relief they have found — from gurus to snake oil salesmen — from grifters to honest folk. Advertisements galore! To me, all they really have to offer are more distractions — temporary relief at best — they are called panaceas, magical elixirs, and grifters claim “miracles of Science.”
My testimonial advertisement? It is my experienced solution, and what a difference it has made in my life. The truth? It is not an it. It is the person, Jesus of Nazareth …
Loneliness? Emmanuel — “God with us.” I call on the Lord; and He answers. He brought companionship into my life, and when friends are not close by, He is. A mystery as to how He does it? Yes it is. An invisible presence? Yes. That too. An “imaginary friend?” No. Not at all! Jesus is a friend that sticks closer than a brother!
Anxiety? “Be anxious for nothing, but by prayer and earnest request take your needs to God.” “And the peace that passes understanding will keep your hearts and minds…” until He returns or until death. (Neither being too far off, I propose.)
Mistakes? Hurt? Harm? Jesus — “An ever present help in time of need.” and Philippians 1:6 — “…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” A lifetime of graciousness. He promises to never leave or abandon whoever invites Him into their life.
Jesus works in my life even in both the simplest of problems, answering such old man’s questions as, “Now why did I come into the kitchen?” or “What am I doing?” or “What does that mean?” or the more mundane questions of life, like employment, etc, etc, or the most mountainous terrain life lies before us.
Have the last few years revealed nothing?
Jesus. He cares. He comforts. He is not hiding from you, but perhaps you are hiding from Him? He will come into anyone’s and everyone’s life, but only if one opens the door and invites Him in.
Now, how hard is that? Asking, seeking, knocking… Really… How hard is that?
Or you could stay in the soup. That is on the menu if you like that kind of diet.
** — World Health Organization (WHO) today. Mar 2, 2022