Please, can we start thinking about others more than ourselves?


That seems to be all we hear about these days.

That is all that is on the news. Almost all that is on facebook.

I’m sorry to be adding to it, but part of the reason I write this blog is give me an outlet to process my feelings and thoughts. That way I don’t keep them all bottled up inside where they cause problems.

I have always been a strict rule follower. To the irritation of my sisters and friends at times.

I was homeschooled, but in 5th grade I decided to take an art class at the local elementary school. I still remember the day where the boys in the class were not behaving, so the teacher ended up having a lecture on behavior instead of hands-on art projects. Then to my embarrassment she had the culprits apologize to me since I came to school for an hour for nothing.

I feel like I’m stuck in that 5th grade art class again.

And I know that a lot of people are behaving themselves. But like it just takes a couple kids to disrupt a whole art class, it only takes a few people not following the parameters put in place to hamper our efforts.

You may think that your once daily trip to the grocery store is an easy way to get out and do something, but you can carry coronavirus without showing symptoms and each time you set foot in that store you are exposing a new set of employees and customers.

And contagious diseases spread exponentially. That is even if you only infect a couple people each trip, those people then spread the virus to a couple others, and so on.

And don’t get me started on those who are going into supermarkets and coughing and spitting on merchandise. Those who are still throwing parties. Those who are going on vacation, often times to other states.

I know a lot of you are bored. But can you please stop and think about the impact your spur of the moment decision to pull a prank in a supermarket or invite a bunch of people over might have on others?

I know some of you think the coronavirus is still all a government conspiracy. I don’t trust all the news reports I hear about coronavirus, but I still believe it is a serious time and that we need to listen to our leaders. Maybe your chances of contracting or dying from the virus are low, but infants, they elderly, and those with pre-existing health issues are more at risk. Our leaders did not make the guidelines with the expectation that no one would get sick. They made them to try and protect those who are more at risk. They made them to decrease the number sick with coronavirus at any one time, so that the hospitals don’t get flooded. They made them to allow health professionals and first responders to be able to focus on treating people with coronavirus instead of sports related injuries.

The more we choose to not take precautions, the longer this will be drawn out. And the longer this is drawn out the more people will die and the more businesses will suffer.

And by taking precautions I don’t mean going crazy and hosing ourselves down with clorox any time we step outside the house. I mean stay home. Only go grocery shopping once a week. Don’t take family trips to Lowe’s to stroll through the aisles. Wash your hands frequently and disinfect your cell phones, keys, and wallets. Gloves the way most people use them DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Gloves only work if you use them for a job and then remove them before touching anything else. They do not work if you touch a box of cereal then a door then your phone.

And if all just seems like too much effort and sacrifice then think of these people and many others and what they are sacrificing every day as this pandemic continues:

The small business owner who had to shut down and every new day of no revenue means a closer step to possible bankruptcy.

The dairy farmer who is having to dump his or her milk down the drain because the processors are backlogged.

The first responders who are continuing to do their jobs keeping us safe, but also trying to keep themselves from getting the virus.

The doctors, nurses, and hospital staff who are continuously exposed, but still caring for patients.

The grocery store workers who are dealing with frustrated customers who cannot find what they are looking for because people keep buying more than they need.

The truckers who keep delivering, but are struggling with lack of open restaurants, hotels, and rest stops.

And if you feel ready to throw a pity try counting your blessings:

If you are healthy, give thanks that you are not sick.

If you are about ready to strangle the family that you are stuck with, give thanks that you are not stuck in a house by yourself.

If you are stuck in a house by yourself, give thanks that you don’t have to worry about transmitting the virus to your family members.

If you are unemployed, give thanks that you are less likely to come into contact with the virus.

If you are an essential worker and are struggling with all the new policies in place, give thanks that you are working and still getting a pay check.

All weekend I’ve been trying not to throw in the towel.

As a veterinarian I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted. To keep us and our clients safe, we are not allowing clients in the building except for one or two for a euthanasia, and we are only seeing sick patients or puppy/kitten boosters. This means trips back and forth to parking lot to transport pets and medications in all kinds of weather. This means not being able to decrease my patient’s stress by leaving them with their owners for most of the visit. This means multiple phone calls to clients for a single visit as we discuss physical exam findings, which diagnostics to run, what the results mean, and treatment options. This means telling clients that their beloved dog is in heart failure over the phone instead of face to face. This means telling a family that only 2 of them can be present as they say goodbye to their faithful friend. This means not being able to hug a lonely, elderly lady who just lost her companion. This means having to make decisions every day as to what condition or medical procedure is necessary and needs to be seen or done. This means trying to figure out what I can do over the phone without risking my license. Also trying to keep myself safe through frequent disinfecting, hand washing, and washing contaminated clothing gets time consuming and tricky. Especially when as an on-call vet on a weekend I might end up making several trips to the clinic in a day.

As a single person living alone I am also struggling. The only people I am seeing currently are my coworkers. In the evenings and weekends I used to go to dinner with friends or visit my sister who lives a couple hours away, but now I am unable to do any of that. And while I am trying to keep in touch with people via video chat and phone calls, it isn’t the same. It hurts every time I see a facebook post about families spending more time together. I have always been a person who likes a lot of personal space, but right now I desperately want someone give me a hug and sit next to me on the couch.

I write this, so that if you are struggling you know that you are not the only one. Please reach out and tell someone. I tried to keep all the frustration and grief I was feeling inside because I did not think anyone would understand and that I was over-reacting and so many others were worse off so I shouldn’t complain. A huge downward spiral resulted where it all seemed hopeless and I didn’t want to continue. The best decision I made was to call my mom. Even though she couldn’t change any of the things I was struggling with, just letting it all out and her praying with me was enough to get me back in a better place.

I write this to encourage us to think about what others are going through. To think the best of everyone. To be kind. To reach out. And to try to make every effort to make these pandemic changes as short term as possible.

In closing I would like to share something from my time with God the other night that has been getting me through this weekend.

I have been reading a book called Get out of Your Head by Jennie Allen. It is about taking every though captive and retraining your brain to think less negatively and anxiously.

One of the chapters reminded me of a scene in Captain America: Civil War. Vision has been keeping Wanda under a sort of house arrest to keep her from accidentally hurting anyone else. Clint comes to get her, so that they can go help Steve and Bucky. Wanda hesitates and Vision frees himself from Clint’s trap and gets Clint pinned down. And I know the whole analogy isn’t perfect, but their next few lines just gave me a picture of what needs to happen in my head if I am going to get my thought life under control.

Vision: “Clint, you can’t overpower me.”

Clint (totally calm and collected): “I know I can’t. But she can.”

Wanda (proceeding to overpower Vision): “Vision, that’s enough. Let him go.”

So I wrote it on a card and personalized it.

Satan: “Rachel, you can’t overpower me.”

Me: “I know I can’t. But He can.”

Jesus: “Satan, that’s enough. Let her go.”

“He rescued me from my strong enemy . . . He brought me out into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me . . . the LORD my God lightens my darkness . . . the God who equipped me with strength . . . He set me secure on the heights.” – Psalm 18: 17, 19, 28, 32-33

Whatever you are struggling with during this pandemic or anything else going on in your life right now – God delights in you and He will rescue you from Satan’s attempts to drag you into anxiety and despair. We can’t overpower him on our own, but we have a God bigger than anything we might face. Just keep your focus on Jesus.