Monday, March 16, 2020

Inspiration for Worrisome Times

by Paula Gail Benson

During this time of uncertainty about the corona virus, it’s good to hear messages that encourage. Yesterday’s reading from my worship service (although the actual gathering was cancelled, the devotional materials were shared via email and social media) is a particularly relevant passage to consider. From the book of Romans, Chapter 5, Verses 3 through 5: “we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.”

The words made me think about the situation the world now faces. The recommended progression is a good path to follow. When confronted with suffering, we find means to endure, which builds character and creates hope. And, hope is uplifting, relieving us from the suffering.

As I consider that process and realize it empowers us to deal with crisis, I can’t help but notice that it also is what I expect of a good story: that I’ll encounter fictional individuals who face challenges, figure out ways to overcome them, and, in doing so, become different individuals. For me, the story is best if it ends hopefully.

On Facebook, an author friend Warren Moore, posted a newspaper article from 1918 informing the citizens of Newberry, South Carolina, that all churches, schools, public meetings, and soda fountains in Newberry County were closed until further notice due to the Spanish influenza. Who could have imagined that just over 100 years later, we would be dealing with a similar situation?

While we socially distance and self-quarantine (would you have expected those words to be common place a month ago?), my hope is that we invest ourselves in the wonderful access we now have through the internet to remain in the world without exposing ourselves and others to harmful conditions. Let us find ways to learn and create while the health care professionals discover the answers to address this virus. And, let’s use our current means of maintaining contact at a distance to make certain all those we know are safe and not in need.

Read, write, and stay safe and healthy.


  1. It IS 100 years later, isn't it? Maybe it's just time. I agree--how wonderful to have this tool, the internet, to connect and inform us now. So glad to be living now and not in 1918!