Posted on March 29, 2020 1…2…3…Breathe.
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Dear Friends,

Everything has slowed way down and in this anxious moment we don’t quite know what the next breath will bring.  But we are continuing to breathe and find God’s full presence with every new breath.  Unlike any other time in my life, things are actually slow enough to count each moment…1…2…3…breathe.  Kids don’t have to be dropped off and picked up from school.  All events are canceled for the foreseeable future.  Travel has halted.  Once bustling cities are near ghost towns.  Life for some has found a simplicity like never before, while others working in health care, for example, may be overwhelmed  and working non-stop.  Whether at home or in the hospital, we are all anxious and I think that is okay.  God is still present.  I am finding joy in the simple things while praying for those on the front lines of this.

Being overseas in this moment has its own challenges.  Today while grocery shopping, Katrina and I came across a longer line than we have ever encountered in Thailand, but no one was buying any groceries.  Instead they all had their ID’s out and were meeting with one of three clerks taking their information.  There was an announcement over the intercom, but our limited Thai wasn’t able to make much out through the garbled voice.  So, we scooted past the line, paid for our groceries at another teller and went on our way.  Because of this strange moment in history the experience left me thinking, “Did I just miss some really important information.” …1…2…3…breath.

I thought I would try to communicate what it is like dealing with the pandemic while in a country where I can’t understand a whole lot.  We are trying to follow the cues of our neighbors.  From the many memes online, I don’t think our experience in Asia has been much different than those in the States.  The unique moment that we all are sharing is not lost on me…1…2…3…breathe.

Very few times in history has the entire world been so singularly focused on the same thing.  I pray that this is a time that we can realize how much we have in common and work to build bridges, rather than walls, from nation to nation and culture to culture…1…2…3…breathe.

This current moment, the one right now, isn’t what most people are anxious about.  A podcast I listened to called it “the moment before the moment.” I get that.  It isn’t the present that we are anxious about, but the uncertain future: our jobs, incomes, mortgages, and health.  All of which may be affected.  Large open-air markets, where most of the population finds their food, are shutting down here in Thailand.  We are standing on the brink of the unknown.  We can’t see the next step even as time moves us forward into it…1…2…3…breathe. …1…2…3…breathe… The whole world is navigating this unknown together, not quite sure of its footing…1…2…3…breathe…

School has been moved online, both our language school and the international school, non-essential businesses have been closed, travel is becoming more restricted…1…2…3…breathe.  I find hope and comfort in Scripture.  There are so many stories where the next moment was uncertain, but God has always been present.

Imagine sitting in a crowded room, your good friend was just murdered on a cross.  The same friend that you were certain was going to liberate you from the cruel rule of the Romans, and now he is in a tomb somewhere…1…2…3…breathe.  The disciples were in one of these moments before the moment.  Fear can keep us from breathing, but I want to breathe.  Breathe in the Spirit and out his love to my children, to my strangers, and to all of Creation.  I pray that we can all find strength in this sacred shared moment.