Notes from Jan

Hand Wringing and Hand Washing

March 11, 2020

Stood in line to weigh-in at Weight Watchers yesterday,  head bowed, hands folded. The woman behind me whispered, “Are you praying?”

“Nope, too late for that.”

We both laughed, then she added, “I guess it wouldn’t hurt any of us to pray.”

“For sure.”

These are strange times, full of jitters, conflicting messages and treasure hunting for Purell or anything that  delivers as Purell promises to  “kill more than 99.99% of the most common germs.”  There’s the rub, COVID-19 isn’t your usual bug, which is why we shouldn’t act as if it’s just another strain of the common flu.  We need to listen to the EXPERTS, as in Public Health officials ,who tell us to wash our hands, cellphones, avoid large gatherings, for example.

When last I wrote, I suggested Lent as a listening time. Since this global pandemic falls during Lent, consider some ways we might make use of these sacred days.

Pray for a hurting world.

Pray for leadership at NIH, CDC, researchers in labs and healthcare providers.

Pray for our government from local to national and for governments around the world battling this pandemic.

Pray for small businesses and hourly wage earners without  health care benefits or sick day provisions.

Self-quarantine from our hyper-activity and do some spring-cleaning for our winter-weary souls.

Fear cripples.

Hope heals.

When weary of bad news,  head for the Good News:

“Trust  in the Lord and do good.” (Psalm 7: 3 NIV)

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (II Timothy 1:7 NLT)

Instead of wringing our hands, lets wash and pray.

“Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.” from the Letters of E.B.White









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  • Reply Dale March 12, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    Thanks Jan. These are good and needed words.

    They remind me to think of prayer as communion with God rather than as communication – the risk of making prayer transactional.

    Things are busy here at the UM medical school as you might imagine – same in your area.

    Blessings, Dale

    Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 12, 2020 at 3:14 pm

      I can imagine intensified work in labs at research universities and medical schools. You’re in my prayers,too., Dale and Marty.

  • Reply Maggie Rowe March 12, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    Hand washing is effective but hand wringing is not. Just posted a link to your blog on my FB page as these are timely words of wisdom, Jan. Thank you! Praying one dear to us – and you – safely home today from Europe.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 12, 2020 at 3:19 pm

      Praying for him, too, Maggie., and friends all over this hurting world. At times like this, i’m extra thankful for technology. We may be “home alone” but not isolated, unless we take a fast from social media or forget to recharge! Sending a holy hug to you, germ free.

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