This reflection is from Chaplain Tim, concerning the endurance necessary to SAVE our community as we struggle to contain the pandemic.
As a former distance runner ‘waaaay back in high school (just after they made dirt), I remember all too painfully the challenges of endurance. In particular, I remember realizing that sprinters didn’t breathe—they just ran flat out for a 100-220-440 yard dash (or meters now). Middle distance runners (notice the name change) HAD to breathe. As the distances increased (880-mile-2 mile run), so did the need to pace oneself and plan one’s race strategy. Using the acronym, SAVE, here’s some suggestions for enduring our community’s bumpy road to recovery and health.
Sacrifice. Long a challenge to peoples everywhere, sacrifice of short-term gain for long-term benefit requires significant, wide-spread discipline (another difficult thing). Running longer distances takes discipline and sacrifices of time and energy
Attention. As in paying attention to factual, evidence-based information that is necessary and sufficient to guide our sacrificial efforts. While information is supposed to undergird the news, often it gets skewed or screwed up to serve a different purpose. Running cross-country requires vigilance all around to determine the best course to take and avoid “chasing rabbits.”
Vision. Long-range vision informs and focuses sacrifice; it gives a reason based on something worthwhile later on. Without a shared, long-range vision—our collective eyes on the prize of everyone’s health—we may be doomed to run around like a scattered brood of frightened mice. Running with one’s head down is a stumble waiting to happen—so “eyes up!” keeps up spirits and willpower.
Energy. The necessary endurance in the opening line requires energy. Energy comes from within us (nourishment), from around us (support), from above us (guidance), and from beneath us (courage). Running together is far easier than running alone; running on a hot day with water stops prevents collapse; running with purpose and direction sustains for the long haul.
Our common experience these past few months has certainly become more like a run than a dash, more a marathon than a sprint. Let’s keep breathing, pace ourselves and practice patience as we endure on the long and winding road, and SAVE our community.