Most of us have experienced crises with weather, fire, accident, illness, finances, family, deaths, and many more, but the Covid-19 pandemic tops them all involving most of the world financially, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Businesses shut down, schools and day cares closed, no visitors allowed at Senior living, Rest homes, hospitals causing heartache of varying degrees; social distancing a new concept. Many are experiencing more than one crisis at the same time as I, having lost my husband, Jim as well. We are all having to adjust to the restrictions ordered by our leaders. Also, communicationally challenging problems are being created at every level. My arena.
I am not addressing the world, necessarily, but primarily focusing on you, Blogger Readers, who understand temperament and appreciate the importance of relying on communication skills to neutralize critical situations with family, friends and neighbors. My goal this week is to help you find your balance and help others to find theirs. I’m merely sharing what I need to read myself. Here’s my recipe for coping during this unusual once-in-a-lifetime-crisis.
Count your many blessings.
Maintain as much routine as possible.
Learn to joyfully perform new duties.
Do not hurry. Hurry is often the culprit behind curt replies.
Be willing to work and carry your load of responsibility
Do not pity yourself.
Stay busy. Clean closets, straighten drawers, make puzzles, read, read, read.
Consider others’ temperaments kindly.
Those who think and act quickly are likely to be abrupt and condescending to those who prefer to gather more physical and financial facts before making decisions. Respect goes a long way, even in small crises with a child or adult.
Lower your expectations for yourself as well as others. Expectations met become bonuses.
Be kind to yourself. Remember you are valuable and wonderfully designed by God. Others may not appreciate your God-given personality/temperament but remember to “stay on your side”. We can always learn how to refine our attitude.
Be willing to change your schedule.
Be considerate when your space is violated by family who are not usually around all day. It’s difficult for them, too.
Consider the difference between Happiness and Joy.
Happiness is a byproduct of doing something for someone else.
Joy, exudes from inside--the feeling of delight despite adverse situations.
I learned these concepts seventy-one years ago when I was 15. Two weeks before Christmas our normal American country family was thrust on the rough terrain of a lifestyle change when our traveling-salesman-father deserted his family of six children—four still at home. We were left in a rented huge farm house with no money, savings or car. He sent a note that read “Going South, see you in two weeks.” Mom said, he’ll never be back. How our quiet (ISFJ) mother not only adjusted to the loss of the husband she loved but to this incredible dilemma of caring for her family alone. Her humble example set the framework for the rest of our lives.
Mom made a decision to move us less than 50 miles away to her home town into a 3-room shack owned by her mother who offered it rent free, of course. A shack that was scheduled to be torn down. Several families from church brought food over as we packed our belongings and used pick up and trucks to move 14 rooms of furniture into three. We stored what wouldn’t fit in one of Grandma’s sheds. Uh, five people-two teen aged boys, one teenage girl, a six year old boy and a mother--in one bedroom, two full beds one small, one closet, no bath, but a path; bathing in a wash pan in the kitchen after we heated the carried in water; new school; new friends; close neighbors in nice homes. No money for a phone. We didn’t understand exactly what caused this abrupt change to our lives. We asked no questions but we trusted our mother. We were helped greatly by Mom’s relatives who lived nearby. This story appears in my book Self Esteem—Gift From God.
Our Mom taught us by example without ever lecturing, crying or losing her temper how to handle a crisis by adhering to the following four simple guidelines which became apparent as we grew up and discovered what a marvelous, unselfish Mother we had. I’ve used this guide in counseling ever since.
Mom didn’t apologize for what she couldn’t help.
She didn’t criticize the person who caused our dilemma.
She didn’t complain about the sacrifices she was having to make.
She found a way to get us to church the morning after we moved.
This is the way she lived her life before and after dad. Her goal was to keep her children together. She took one day at a time. She got a job; all but the six-year-old got jobs. We developed new habits to get along in close quarters. Here’s my point: We all worked together to adjust to our crowded living arrangements. We discovered that walking to church as a family became a precious bond. That’s how we learned to communicate and appreciate each other. We still walk together any chance we get. Mom didn’t grumble, so neither did we; Mom didn’t fret, so neither did we. A crisis is a blessing in disguise when you can model before your young and older children how to receive peace, wisdom and direction from God.
We all met Jesus personally as a result of the crisis. I urge you to invite the Lord into your lives to gain comfort, wisdom and positive perspective for today and tomorrow. Let your children observe your willingness to trust in Someone stronger and bigger than you are. And by the way, we lived in that shack for five years converting into a haven. It became the center for youth activities even without plumbing.
Therefore, as we singularly observe Holy Week, miss our Easter Sunrise service, Easter cantata and anticipate celebrating Jesus’ resurrection, here are a few scriptures that have encouraged me through these weeks of difficult living. Hopefully they will minister to you, as well.
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By His death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trust in him.” Heb. 10: 19-22 (NLT)
“…This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Neh. 8:10b
“Praying that you will be filled with His mighty, glorious strength so that you can keep going…. always full of the joy of the Lord. Col: 1:11 (TLB)
“Fixing your eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. Heb. 12:2