What a week. What a past 24-48 hours.
As I lay in bed last night, I couldn’t help but check my phone “one last time” for an update of the “novel virus” that has infiltrated its way into our lives and consciousness, upending routines and plans, trips and gatherings, schools and universities, stock markets and store shelves; making us and our loved ones feel vulnerable in a way that, for some, is an unwelcome new feeling, and for others, is yet one more thing to bump up the dial on an already high anxiety-meter.
Of our American celebrities, that Tom Hanks is the first with access to a public platform about all of this is, I believe, a bit of grace. In case you missed it, here’s what he posted on Instagram yesterday:
“Hello, folks. Rita and I are down here in Australia. We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches …Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for Coronavirus, and were found to be positive … [We] will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires … Not much more to it than the one-day-at-a-time approach, no? We’ll keep the world posted and updated. Take care of yourselves! Hanx!”
For me, his post invoked the spirit of another man, whom he recently portrayed in the movie A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood. Imagine, for a few moments, what this man might be saying, were he still alive today … perhaps in conversation with a beloved character from his show, Daniel Tiger.
Yes, I know. I am a little too. It’s okay to be scared.
“So many things feel out of my control! What can I do?” (fretfully, rubbing paws together)
Well, there are some things we know we can do … like wash our hands … take good care of ourselves and one another … get lots of rest … avoid large public gatherings…You know, our bodies are made to fight things like this, and most of us really are going to be okay. Things are just going to feel strange and different, for awhile. Especially not being able to hug and touch other people we see around, like we’re used to.
“I really don’t like that part!”
Me neither. It might help to remember it’s just for a season. It won’t be like this forever. It’s just hard now.
“And what about grandma and grandpa Tiger? And my friends who are already sick or maybe not so strong?”
Yes, they will need to be more careful, stay inside more, just to be safe. But the rest of us can help get them what they need. We just all need to stay connected in the ways we can. We will get through this, together.
“Thank goodness for our phones and emails! And all those other things I don’t know how to use but maybe I can learn and try!”
Yes indeed, thank goodness.
“Can I call you if I get more scared? Or if I need help? Or someone I know needs help?”
Of course, you can call me, Daniel Tiger. That’s what friends are for.
“I’m glad we are friends.”
While that beloved minister has now travelled on to a Larger Audience, David, Freda Marie and I are here, and we welcome your calls, notes, emails. We all need one another, always, and especially in seasons and times like this. We are Christ’s hands and hearts — all of us — together, and God Is. Still. Always.