How’s everyone holding up? Tired of quarantine? I know we in the small business community are biting our nails. At Caring Counseling, our temporary closure for sanitation became a month + hiatus as we navigated COVID-19 reopening precautions. In this, I feel a solidarity with my community. After all, small businesses are the backbone of our region.
As scary as this is, I believe in Southern IL. We are a hardy lot of hard-working, community-minded people who care about each other. This won’t take us out. But while most of us believe God will get us through this mess, many of us are white-knuckling the journey. This reminded me of my fears when I went to Israel.
Honestly, I thought to go to Israel was an impossible dream because of my felony. Israel has the tightest security in the world, and I am sure my past drug charge shows up when my passport is scanned. A few years ago, when returning from the Bahamas, I was “randomly selected” by Customs for a search. It only took a few minutes, but the experience made an enduring impression on me.
When my Church decided to go to Israel last year, the trip was led by my friend, Elvis Cameron, who happens to be an attorney. I asked Elvis if I could go. He did some checking and reassured me he could safely get me there and back. Emboldened by his legal expertise, I signed up for the trip.
However, despite his promises, I was close to panic throughout the journey. On the way there, I was afraid of Israeli Customs. I envisioned airport detainment in a little room surrounded by gun-toting Israeli officers. What if they wouldn’t let me go, and it became an international incident?! Imagine my surprise when I was greeted with a warm smile and a “welcome to Israel” by their Customs agents.
On the return trip, I was worried about the Chicago airport, and the horrors that might await me. When I sailed through Customs there, I felt silly for all my trumped-up fears. Soon after, I told Elvis I wanted to go again. Not only because Israel was spectacular, but so I could enjoy it without fear. He looked surprised and said, “I told you I would take care of you.” I replied, “I believed you enough to go, I just didn’t trust you enough to enjoy the journey.”
I think that’s how we usually live our lives. We believe God will get us through. We just don’t trust Him enough to relax and enjoy the life we have been given. I will be the first to admit COVID-19, and all of its health and economic ramifications is unfamiliar territory for us all. But the things we imagine in our heads is usually scarier than anything the world can throw at us. Just like I imagined machine gun detainment and international incidents, many of us are fearing never-ending quarantines, sickness, and economic ruin. As the saying goes, “FEAR” is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real.
So. IL, here is what I want you to do. Instead of fearing our demise, start remembering all the things God has gotten us through. Ice storms, blizzards, tornadoes, inland hurricanes, horrible flu seasons, and the 2008 economic crash. We will get through this as long as we stick together. And as soon as things reopen, do what you do best and start taking care of each other.
Even if finances are tight, dig deep and shop local. It is an investment in your community. And remember us at Caring Counseling. We have been here for over 30 years, taking care of all of your mental health and relational needs. This time, we are the ones who will need your support. So, if being cooped up with your dysfunctional family and pandemic fears has made you depressed, anxious, or caused marital or family problems, call us at 997-2129. I imagine after this is over, we are all going to need some counseling!