The man acting like he was fire caught my attention first, or maybe it was his family waiting nearby for him to finish.
I was on a walk near my house when I saw them. Then, I caught sight of the sidewalk chalk that shared, “You are not alone” under a rainbow in front of a bench. That encouragement marked the beginning of a series of dares, or assignments, or whatever you want to call them for people at Sam Smith Park in Cartersville to complete on this section of the trail.
Jump three times.
Run this wavy line.
The end of the list gave the message “You are amazing!”
It was a little something, but it caught people’s attention. In this case I saw a dad complete the list with his kids as his wife watched, amused. Wives do that a lot when it comes to their husbands.
When I think of Good Friday, I’m caught by the loneliness Jesus must have felt. In the Garden he prayed for the cup to be removed. It wasn’t. He told his disciples to stay awake. They didn’t. He was ordered to give a defense for the false charges against Him. He wouldn’t. The Father allowed Him to be killed on a cross and the Son to give up His spirit. He committed.
Even before we were all given stay-in-shelter orders, loneliness was a major problem among the general public. The quarantine has only exacerbated that, making mental health, particularly loneliness, a secondary danger to the coronavirus besides the physical impact.
This week mental health specialist Dr. Natalie Ford, an assistant professor of Behavioral Sciences at Truett McConnell University, shared with Index readers how isolation is one of the worst things for the human psyche. We are not created to be alone, but for community.
That’s going to be one of the tougher things about this Easter. Over the last few weeks my family has settled into a Sunday routine of sorts. We go to our separate online groups for Bible study in addition to watching our church’s service. Afterwards I go on the back deck and log on to Facebook. There, I check other worship services and Bible studies.
That’s the case during the week as well. I’ll watch the devotions so many of our pastors are offering. By the way, thank you, Fred Evers at Northside Baptist in Tifton, for the words you shared out of Galatians 3:1 this morning.
I haven’t heard anyone say they prefer this over being together in person, but it’s a good reminder of how connected we are. Not just in a technological sense, either.
The coronavirus has reminded us how we affect each other. One person’s actions and decisions domino into someone else, for good or bad. Those actions can be as simple as not staying home when we have a fever or cough. They can also be as simple as drawing a lighthearted game on a sidewalk out of chalk.
Today, it’s also important for us to remember that the loneliness didn’t last. Jesus defeated the grave. He overcame hell. On the third day He stood before those convinced He was gone.
He reminded them then as He does to us today, you are not alone.