IF

IF

Inscribed above the entrance at Centre Court at the Wimbledon Tennis Center outside London, is a poem called IF from Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936).  It reads,

                        If you can keep your head when all about you

                        Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

                        If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

                        But make allowance for their doubting too,

                        If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

                        Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

                        Or being hated, don’t give into hating,

                        And don’t look too good, or don’t look too wise.

                        If you can dream – and not make dreams your master,

                        If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;

                        If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,

                        And treat those two imposters just the same,

                        If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken,

                        Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

                        Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

                        And stoop to build em up with worn-out tools…..

The poem goes on for a bit, but the most quoted phrase in the poem is, “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two imposters just the same.”   To a sports combatant who holds nothing back in battle it rings true. The Coronavirus is having the biggest impact on the world since the Spanish Flu of 1917-1920. Even though World War II had more deaths, it didn’t have the world wide swath this Coronavirus has.   

When our kids were young my wife and I walked our dog, a lot, and we knew most of our neighbors. Now with a lot of other activities and the kids grown, we rarely participate in neighborhood events. In the last several weeks, due to limiting crowds, and the new term of social distancing, I am seeing more people talking among friends and neighbors, taking walks, attention to the kids, humor from memes, parents more engaged, home cooked meals, fixing up the house and yard – and generally more civility.  

I noticed in the past, I got to know more neighbors in the midst of a big snow-storm, when friendliness, helpfulness and courtesies were abundant.  Three feet of snow changes a lot of behavior. This is happening right now amidst the Coronavirus.  Times of stress test the character of a person, and it brings out the best or worst in people. We are seeing that already, and if this continues, as there is every indication it will, we will see more personal adjustments coming our way.  Maybe well beyond what we can see right now as long-term changes in behavior will become more commonplace. 

For generations we have watched the promotion of abortion, the scourge of addictions, and all sorts of immorality not just permeating our culture, but streaming right into our living rooms through all sorts of social media devices.  A question would be, “Is this the way God designed us to live? Is this what is best for us? Is this God’s plan for us to live in a sea of filth?” The answer is a resounding no. Technology has decreased the human connection in profound ways.

Whether the Coronavirus is real or imagined, blown out of proportion as 62 percent of Americans as of this writing believe, or perpetuated by a liberal press to remove Trump from office is irrelevant right now.  Measures that have not been seen since the Depression of the 1930’s, and World War II are being implemented.  There is an old saying, “If your neighbor is out of a job, it’s a recession. If you are out of a job, it’s a depression.” For the tens of millions directly affected by employment, it makes no difference the origin of the virus. What does make a difference to them is that many are fearful they can’t meet monthly obligations to their families. However, something you can do at this moment is restructure your thinking, and thus your time to save your sanity. If you get a lemon, make lemonade.  It is all in the attitude how we respond to what we can’t control.   

There are only three ways to look at an issue.  The way you see it, the way others see it, and the way God sees it. The best bet to gain insight on something is to search how the Lord sees it. There is an abundance of that thinking in a series of books He inspired called the Bible. But, since Scriptural literacy is so poor today for so many, we get a worldly response not based how Heaven views things. 

Historically, Heaven has allowed plagues, epidemics, drought, floods, pestilences, locusts, and supernatural and natural phenomena to bring His Chosen Jewish race back to Him.  The entire Old Testament tells stories how the Lord would intermittently need to give His people a Divine Spanking to bring them back to His Divine Will. A stubborn child often needs a Time Out – or worse to reorient thinking for the child’s own good. It is hard being stiff necked when a solution is needed with only a problem the Lord can solve. “There ain’t many atheists in the fox hole. “ Jesus said about John the Baptist, “ Truly I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater then John the Baptist” (Matt. 11:11).  John the Baptist had only one message  – Repent for the Kingdom of God is upon you. There is no real change without repentance, and the world right now has a lot to repent from.  We have drifted and strayed great distances, and maybe this will bring us back to our senses to stress what is most important – Him.  Speed kills, and America and the world for that matter have been driving reckless for a long time. 

It is in the still small voice we hear God, and this slowing down will save us all in the long term. We need to see the permissive Will of God in this situation at the moment, and grasp the perspective of Heaven. There will be a lot of good to come from this. History repeatedly tells us in times of stress, is where the saints are made. We are involuntarily being forced to slow down for our own good whether we can see it that way.  We will shortly see the best and the worst of human nature around us because time of troubles breeds hero’s and villains. Some will pillage, plunder, and ransack where possible, others will bring a healing balm and medicinal ointment to the wounds of humanity.  Corporal and spiritual works of mercy will be more plentiful to counter act the evil in our midst. 

Make a decision to take the high road. Tens of millions of people are already adversely being affected. This will grow as people work off savings and where it dwindles to lesser reserves. Then it is crunch time. The loss of jobs will ripple throughout the economy where few will not be exposed. But, this too will pass.  There is little we can do on a broad level, but a lot can be done on an individual basis.

With social distancing, social avoidance, curfews, isolation, quarantine, to near hibernation, there is no excuse not to have a daily quiet time.  It is in the quiet you will hear what God is asking you to do (I Kings 18:20-40, 19:12, Hebrews 12:18-24). As well as getting some household things done, it is time to use it for personal reflection. It is the time for prayer, sacrifice, and penance. You can come out of this actually rejuvenated as odd as that may seem now if your time is used the correct way. There is now little excuse for not budgeting time for development of personal spiritual development.  Go to: PrayandfastforAmerica.org and start to be a part of the solution for the ills of our country. 

When people see a psychiatrist, they will usually be told to gain perspective and peace of mind and soul, by avoiding the news. The news is overwhelmingly negative — so stay away from it. The Twin Pillars of Don Bosco for the protection are the Eucharist and the Blessed Mother, who will never fail you. That is a Heaven’s promise.   

                                                           JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU

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