Go to the ant, you lazybones; consider its ways, and be wise. Proverbs 6:6

As if Coronavirus stress is not enough, I have an ant problem. Every day, one carpenter ant or two or three crawls across my desk. One has crawled across my desk since I moved into my office nearly every day since January. Every day I scoop it outside. When that one ant brought a buddy and then two ants were consistently crawling across, then it became an issue - an issue of sanity that is. Normally I see them, but the one that crept across my black keyboard did me in, and the one that crawled up my arm --well, that just bought me two hours of hyper thoughts of ants crawling up my arm. Tye Cobb (thank you Tye!!!) has sprayed three times, and the third time was thorough.  

While the spraying has worked well, there still is an ant a day or every other day that crawls across my desk. It uses the same track as the ant the day before. I have learned a few things from these tiny but mighty creatures of God that I think can help us during this Coronavirus time.

The first is that ants are attracted to their ant pheromones, which they leave behind so that the next ant will follow their trail. During this stay at home time, we have no navigation, no instincts on how to handle this, so we must rely upon our Good Shepherd to create the first footsteps and create a path. The path is brand new. It is not a well -worn trail that has signs pointing the way, nor has it been cleared of brush and trees such as our trails through our forests have been. No, this is a trail where Jesus takes a step, and you have to look carefully for his footprint, and then you place your foot in the exact same spot. You do not dare veer to the right or the left. It is not a rush through the wilderness, even though you want to get out as quickly as possible; it is a careful tiptoeing and careful placement of small steps that move you forward slowly.

The second thing that I have learned is that the ant is small but mighty. I tried to step on one that was dying from the spray and discovered that wasn’t easy, and thus was worth taking outside. They are resilient creatures, just as are we. Yes, our lives have changed. Yes, this is not fun, nor is it healthy to be away from others as I am sure we are all finding out, but we can do it -- we can.

We need to dig into our mental reserves using the tools that we have to get through this. One of our tools is the story of Jesus. Holy week was a reminder of Jesus’ journey to the cross. grief). He was tortured, beaten, and crucified. In addition, Jesus was also persecuted. In his home town they wanted to hurl Jesus off a cliff. The same people who had seen him grow up and knew his family tried to kill him. He kept going, and we need to do that too.  

What tools do you have? You have a faith community that cares. You have the outdoors to walk in and appreciate. You have the ability to be grateful for the small but mighty ways that you can get through to the next day. You also have your faith: your faith in Jesus, the risen Christ. The resurrection brings new birth and new life, not just once but over and over again.  

The third thing is the same as the second. The ant is small and mighty. The Coronavirus stress is gigantic, and on a scale of 1 to 10, I think it hits about a 92. For me, it was the small ant that crawled across my desk again that really could have tipped the scale. The ant across my desk is a call out to be mindful that this is a really hard time. The ups and downs of emotions that you may be experiencing are a part of a grief cycle (which in turn can tip off other unresolved grief). It can be a very little thing that can set off your emotions. The ant is a reminder that self-care is needed. You all have your own “ants”. What is that small tiny thing that brings you to a breaking point? Note what it is and recognize that it is a reminder for self-care. When your “ant” comes in front of you, call someone, take a bubble bath, listen to music, watch something funny, write a letter, journal, get outside, read the Bible, read a book, pray. And note there are ways to see people and continue social distancing through technology or talking to someone spaced 6 ft away. It is more difficult, but it is possible.  

We are mighty creatures. We can do it. We can get through this. Each day is one day closer to the cure. You are an amazing, resilient mighty creature of God. Jesus walks before you. One step, then another. Look for his rod and staff. They are there. They point the way. My prayers are with you.

With love and care,

Pastor Susan

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