There is a phrase that came out of Silicon Valley a number of years ago credited to Max Ventilla who was experimenting with micro schools for a San Francisco based education – technology firm: “We’re kind of flying the plane while we’re building it.” Now building a plane while you are flying it is the last thing that you want to actually do but the phrase fits when you are making adjustments as you go along. Ever since we came back from Israel two weeks ago it feels like, as a church, we are flying the plane while we’re building it. We are doing things we have never done before with technology we have never used before. We are faced with the challenge of how to serve our church community while at the same time searching for ways to reach out and help our neighbors. We are trying to do ministry and bring people along in discipleship without any personal, face to face contact. Money is a challenge as there has been a drop off in the weekly tithing. What seemed sufficient three weeks ago is no longer sufficient in terms of communication, equipment or knowledge.
As much as this goes for the church it goes for people everywhere: Developing new routines, keeping a balanced life, keeping the kids educated and entertained all within the confines of your home. (As I write this Simon and Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound” is playing on Spotify: It has an all new meaning for me!). And if that isn’t hard enough we have to do it, for the most part, alone…or with the people we live with. We are developing muscles we never knew we had and using ones that we never thought we would need. We have a new everyday vocabulary: “Corona”; “Masks;, “Social Distancing”; “Quarantine”; “Death Toll”; “Isolation”; “6 ft.”; “Respirators”; “Zoom”; Facebook Live”; “Online learning”; etc.
And the end is not clearly in sight. In fact, we keep hearing its going to get worse before it gets better.
But we are magnificently adaptable people. We can, somehow, fly the plane while we are building it. It may not be easy, it may look messy, there may be a lot mistakes and re-starts, but we will get through it. And there will be losses, many severe and dreadful losses. Loss of life, loss of opportunities, loss of dreams and loss of freedoms we once knew. There will be changes and we will talk about life before and life after Corona. But we will make it and it will get easier. There is a light at the end of the tunnel (and its not the light of an oncoming train!). So I encourage you to stay focused, stay positive and keep flexible. As the Marine slogan says: “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome.” Keep your eyes on Jesus. Read, meditate and memorize Scripture. Pray often throughout the day. Sing songs of praise. Call people and stay connected. Laugh often. Live in gratitude. Be human and be in touch with your emotions. Keep yourself healthy in your spirit, soul and body. And love deeply.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
What do you think? How does this make you feel?