Summertime in Appalachia means trying to develop immunity to poison ivy and having legs decorated in countless chigger-bites. It’s long, wonderful days in a garden, around the creekbank, and breezy naps on a porch swing. We were sweaty, dirty, and wild until one warning would stop and bring intense caution to every hillbilly child: the smell of cucumbers.
If only every danger in life was so apparent, and we were quick to heed its warnings. Life as an adult is either much trickier, or we are just far too easily deceived. For those without a little country wisdom, the smell of cucumbers is emitted when a copperhead snake feels threatened, such as when a rambunctious child is running about its territory. Today, few of us are regularly in danger of a poisonous snake bite, but countless other dangers lurk.
To say the least, this spring and summer have been different. The global pandemic has changed the way we work, worship, learn, and leisure. We are supposed to be enjoying our families and the great outdoors. We should be more relaxed than ever, right? Yet anxiety, restlessness, and mental/emotional fatigue levels are through our safe-at-home-roofs.
The serpent’s craftiness is well known in the story of Adam and Eve, and Satan has only become more artful in his slithering, seductive schemes. Being sheltered at home with our own thoughts and fears has only increased our uneasiness. Have our fuzzy house-slippers fuzzed our thinking? We’ve forgotten the greatest commandments to love God and love our neighbor. We’ve erected twisty walls that stretch far past the labels of political parties and church denominations. We’re brother against brother over simple face coverings and skin color. We’ve forgotten that we were all made in God’s image… and He loves everyone. We’ve forgotten, and now our sense of unity stinks.
Like many, I haven’t been out of my comfy mom-attire (hello pajama pants, flip-flops, and adventure!). I certainly haven’t applied any perfume, even to go to church, since mask wearing and social distancing tends to make spraying senseless. It seems like ages ago when I had become too accustom to my longtime favorite fragrance for it to bring me satisfaction when sprayed. In a similar way, we’ve grown too familiar and desensitized to some sins. We’re used to being at odds and jumping on virtual soapboxes. It’s too common to go about skeptical and critical of our fellow man.
Many haven’t had the opportunity to stay home in their pajama pants during the Covid-19 Crisis. Essential workers are continually stocking the shelves, caring for the sick, and keeping us safe. They’ve trudged through with few (if any) breaks, and there is little or no resolution to the madness in sight. They’re exhausted from work, while others are tired of being stuck at home. It’s not another label for division, Essential versus Non-Essential, because we know everyone is Indispensable to the Lord. My friends, everyone needs to get to the Lord’s essential work and pray for peace and healing.
When looking for an object and missing its obviousness, my mother used to say the common idiom, “If it was a snake, it would’ve bitten me!” May we not be so off guard as to the snakes in this world. In all of the confusion and chaos of today, Jesus offers clarity for eternity. Remember the Letter to the Philippians, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near.Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
We’re all so tired. In God alone we find rest.