When they said, “There is no toilet paper because of the pandemic.”
I said, “No problem. Grandma always said “I could use the Sears and Roebuck catalog in such emergencies.” (Of course, granny didn’t know that one day paper catalogs would only be found in museums).
When they said, “This pandemic has caused a silicon chip shortage, which has left thousands of trucks parked all around Flint.”
I said, “I’m glad those empty parking lots are being used.”
But when I walked into Walmart yesterday morning, two years and seven months after the Pandemic started, only to discover there was not one Hot Tamale candy in the store, I said, “OK this pandemic blaming business has gone too far.”
It seems the poor pandemic gets blamed for everything these days. Supply chain shortage? Blame the pandemic. Rising costs? Blaming the pandemic. Church attendance has dropped off a cliff in America. Blame the pandemic. Bible reading is down. It must be the pandemic. Prayer is not happening. Three words: Blame. The. Pandemic. But is the pandemic the cause of this rapid decline? I’m not so sure.
Yesterday I also went to the dentist. Not because of my love for Hot Tamales, I hadn’t been there since 2019 (don’t @ me… I’ve had some bad dental experiences). Was this going to be another bad experience? No sooner had I sat down in the dentist’s chair, the song over the intercom was, “Another One Bites the Dust.” I kid you not. Yikes! I wanted to run, but I stayed. My dentist is nice. Although this Prince needs a crown. Ugh. Maybe it was the Hot Tamales.
In my head, I’ve blamed the pandemic for my dental visit hiatus. But the truth of the matter is: I don’t like going to the dentist. I’ve had some bad experiences (Did I mention that? Ok, good. It’s true). I didn’t want to go, even though I knew I needed to go. I know all about good dental hygiene. I simply used the pandemic as my excuse.
All polling data confirms what we all know: Church attendance, Bible reading and prayer are at all-time lows. Maybe folks are like me and the dentist. They know life’s better when they go to church, read their Bible and pray, but they aren’t doing them. Maybe it’s been convenient to use the pandemic as an excuse. Maybe once out of the habit of these practices, it was easy to quit doing them all together. Maybe they’ve convinced themselves, that on-line church is just as good (Psst… it’s not); that Bible reading and prayer are optional (Psst… they’re not); and that the pandemic has revealed that there are far too many hypocrites in the church (Psst, that one is probably true, but like the old joke says, we can always use one more– Place a smiley emoji here).
Let’s not blame the pandemic for every societal ill, and let’s not use it for an excuse. Let’s determine that our spiritual well-being is up to us. Pandemic or no pandemic. When able, I hope you will return to the to those spiritual practices that bring strength, hope, power and love. I hope you see things as the Psalmist did three thousand years ago, when he wrote: “I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Psalm 122:1