Tuesday, June 16, 2020


This is the ninth in a series of periodic reflections on the "ordinary things" that many people do on a regular basis without much thought. During this pandemic, I am developing a need to "rage, rage" against hast and laziness and replace it with care and attention. My hope is to become personally more intentional about doing ordinary things with care and focused attention, while inspiring others to maybe do the same. 


Psalm 139: 13-18 
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

During this time of "social distancing," I have had time to pay attention to things I usually don't even think about. One of the "very ordinary things" that I have become more aware of during this pandemic is my own body. 

As I passed my 76th birthday at the end of April, I have become more aware of my heart. It is miraculous to me that an organ that size has been pumping day and night, twenty-four hours a day, non-stop for 76 years! A refrigerator can't do that! A car can't do that! A computer can't do that! A furnace can't do that! It has kept pumping, without stopping to rest, for seventy-six years! It's absolutely amazing, and I rarely stop to think about it! 

With all the talk about the shortage of ventilators (breathing machines) and people having to be be intubated (a tube shoved down their throats to help them breathe), I have become very aware of my lungs. They have been putting oxygen into my blood for more than seventy-six years. They started seconds after coming out of my mother's womb. The only time I ever think about my lungs is when I get a lung X-RAY and the doctor tells me what it looks like. The only time I ever got alarmed about my lungs was when I was hospitalized for a blood clot in my leg. The doctor told me in the emergency room not to move off the table I was on because "if that clot comes loose and goes to your lungs, you're dead!" Like my heart, my set of lungs have been working night and day ever since I was born, while awake and during sleep, without my even noticing it!

I have used this time of "social distancing" to be more acutely aware of what I eat and the exercise that I engage in. I do not want to gain weight by becoming a "couch potato." In the process, I have become more aware of my marvelous digestive system. I am trying to see eating as something I do to nourish my body, not something I do to numb myself during boredom and stress. I have become more aware of what happens to what's left of that food when my body has processed out what it wants to eliminate. I know it sounds weird, but I have become more conscious of our amazing Metropolitan Sewer District, not just my own marvelous digestive system.  The fact that it can handle the human waste of 1,278,000 people a day so discretely is not something I have normally thought about! When you really stop to think about it, that whole process borders on miraculous in itself! 

This time of "social distancing" has offered me an extended period of reflection and introspection. As amazed as I am with noticing the very ordinary things that many of us take for granted, it is not lost on me that at age seventy-six, I am a bit like a used, but somewhat reliable, car with a bit more mileage left on it. This pandemic has opened me eyes to what could go wrong very quickly health wise, even though I am doing everything I can to do good preventative maintenance. 

Over all, this pandemic has opened my eyes. It has caused me to be more aware that, most of the time,  I really am "simply amazed and forever grateful." Now I have to keep on reminding myself of the words of Jesus, "Fear is useless. What is needed is trust!" 

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