VICE-PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS
Chris enjoyed a 20-year career as a newspaper journalist before joining The Fuller Center in 2011. He handles social media, website, video, photography, writing, publications and media relations as a 1-person communications department. He remains a multi-award-winning humor columnist for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer and has published four books.
I spent two weeks (March 15-29) in a doctor-ordered self-quarantine with my wife. I haven’t tested positive for coronavirus because we haven’t been able to get tested. Fortunately, we’ve been able to work from home, and it’s given us a lot of time to think. I know she has probably thought a lot about whether she and I could ever share an office for more than two weeks as we have recently!
One thing I’ve thought about is the timing of this coronavirus’ spread through the U.S. and around the world. The fact that this outbreak is happening around Easter time seems awfully unfortunate. Most Christians, naturally, see this as the holiest time of the year, and they long to be worshiping and rejoicing in their churches. Even many of those who have strayed from the church often return this one time of the year. That rejuvenation of the soul that comes with spring and Easter time is relished by the faithful and non-faithful alike.
However, enduring this outbreak at Easter time should sharpen our focus on the things that truly matter. When it comes to the Holy Days, have you focused a little too much in recent years on fancy Easter Sunday dresses for church, the Easter Bunny, Peeps and Cadbury Eggs? Or has your focus been on the reason for the season?
Beyond church and faith, have you been too focused in recent years on making money, hoarding wealth, fancy cars, partying it up with friends and whether your team is going to get a shot at the title this year?
None of us is so pure as to have perfect focus on perfect behavior, whether it’s at Easter time or throughout the year. But this is the perfect time for self-evaluation. Over the past few years, or decades, have we been focused enough on the things that truly matter in our lives or too much on trivial matters? I plead guilty on a few counts of misplaced priorities. I doubt I’m the only one.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the little things in life, be they the mundane or trivial. For instance, I’m never going to stop caring about whether the Georgia Bulldogs are going to compete for a football title. But I think this crisis has certainly made me realize what’s truly important in this world, including:
Family: My son goes to college in Scotland, and I was going to pick him up from the airport next month. Instead, I’ll still only be seeing him via FaceTime on my phone for weeks and months to come, which I’m thankful for, but it’s not the same. And it’s been more than three weeks since I’ve hugged my grandsons who live just a few miles away. They have tired me out more than once, and now I’d give my right arm for them to come tire me out some more.
Loving thy neighbor: This has been a stressful time, yet I see so many people coming forward asking what they can do to help. People are checking on shut-in neighbors. People are sharing food. A lady with whom I once served on a local Fuller Center board sewed a couple of masks for me and my wife. Others are risking their own health to serve others. We are commanded to love our neighbor, and I’m not sure we, collectively, have done such a great job of that over the years. However, I have hope that this spirit might continue long after this virus is gone.
Seeking out joy: In this social media age, it often seems that people are on the hunt for something to be offended by so that they can engage in a debate — a debate that usually just results in anger and opposing sides digging deeper into their prejudices. We can find joy in music, in a neighborhood stroll, in a good book, in mediation, in prayer or in the arms of loved ones — those allowed within six feet of us, of course! You’ll find what you’re looking for, whether it’s positive or negative. There’s enough negativity to go around, so go find the positive.
A simple, decent home: One of the things I was most thankful for during my self-quarantine (which has since been followed by a “shelter in place” order here in Georgia … go figure!) is that I am staying put in a good home. It’s no mansion but a very nice middle-class home on less than a half-acre that backs up to greenspace and then protected wetlands and forest. Birds, trees, wildlife and plants abound. From my back porch, it’s paradise, and even though I technically own just a half-acre, I claim the 20 or so acres of forest behind my else for my enjoyment. Sometimes I think about friends I’ve made through The Fuller Center in places like Nicaragua and wonder if they think we are rich in comparison to them when they see photos of us in our ordinary (by U.S. standards) home. I also think of the many families I’ve seen living in shacks and huts and worse. Fuller Center supporters, volunteers and leaders on the front lines across the U.S. and around the world are committed to Millard Fuller’s dream of eradicating poverty housing. I’ve always known it is an important mission — and I’m recommitting myself to furthering the work.
There are certainly many more important things in life, too many to list here. Deep down, you know what is important to you — now more than ever. This Easter — this very different Easter — is an opportunity for reflection. It is the season of resurrection, so resurrect the important things in life that we can always pay more attention to. Let’s all use this opportunity to get our priorities straight.
p.s.: What are some of the important things in life that this crisis has led you to consider or re-commit to? I’d love to hear your reflections in the comment section below.
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Thank you Chris for this very insightful message!