April, 2020: It’s been quite a month since our last newsletter. Social distancing has become the norm. Kids are learning at home. Extended families have been separated and isolated. Cooking at home and take-out are the new normal. Our streets are quiet.
But other, more dis-heartening changes are happening, too. People are dying. Many have lost their jobs. Others have had their hours reduced, pay reduced, or have experienced other changes to their financial well-being. Not to mention the stock market dipping into recession, if not depression levels.
It is a massive understatement that life has changed for all of us. Without our choice, without our permission, and with no real warning. Ready or not, here it is. Each of us have been dished out our dose of suffering to withstand for a while. None of us brought it on ourselves. But we all do have a choice in how we cope with our new post-coronavirus life.
In the Murphy household, we have been reminding our children of all that we still have to be grateful for. This time of minimal hardship may be the only time my children can experience the routine feeling of “going without.” It has been nearly two years since my grandmother passed away, but I have thought a lot about her as of late. She lived just shy of an entire century- that’s 100 years! She saw everything- every improvement in technology from the horse-pulled wagon to the space shuttle. But she also experienced early in life the hardships of the Great Depression. And no doubt, just as this COVID-19 experience is transforming our lives indelibly forever, so did the Great Depression for her.
If my grandma were still alive to teach my children, what lessons would she tell them she learned during her formative years that happened to take place during the Great Depression? From many years of conversation and closely observing her life, I will share just a few things that she taught me over the years…
Be grateful for what you have. Look around and you will see others who have it far worse.
Don’t throw anything away that could still be put to a good use. No waste!
Learn the difference between needs and wants. When you have nothing, your view is sharpened as to what truly qualifies as a need.
There’s no need to buy new things if what you have is already have perfectly good, i.e. new clothes, new cars, new anything!
Take good care of and maintain the things you have, so they last longer.
If you do buy something brand new, spend some time shopping to choose something with good value, made of good materials, that will last longer over time, like a new dress you can wear for multiple occasions over many years. Even if it costs more, it will save you money in the long run.
Save up for a rainy day. You never know when that amazing job with great pay and benefits is suddenly no more.
Don’t spend more than what you have.
Stuff is just stuff. It’s not more important than relationships with those you love.
Worry is wasted time. Fear is a liar. Faith in God is what brings you through the tough times. This faith is what gives you hope that these hard times too, will pass.
This week might just be the peak week of deaths from COVID-19 in our country. It also just happens to parallel the week on the calendar during which those of faith celebrate Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Reflecting on the finished work of Jesus Christ roughly 2,000 years ago should remind each of us that the night is darkest right before the dawn. There is hope, not only that these unfamiliar trials from COVID-19 will pass quickly, but an even greater hope for those who believe that Christ died for their sins. Our hope is the blessed hope of eternal life in heaven. No doubt if we remember that this world is not our home, we can calm our worried minds and hearts, that all is well with our soul no matter the outcome. Remembering this can ease the burdens of this moment, whether financial, physical illness, the loss of loved ones, or the fear of the unknown. There’s never been a better time in our slowed down, simplified lives, to dig into the Word of God and feed our souls with words that really matter.