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Waiting for The Fall

Hey everyone! It's good to be writing to you again after a much-needed week off from work. I may be jumping the gun a bit with this post, but oh well! Call it wishful thinking, but I am MORE than ready for the fall. I'll admit I'm biased (my birthday is on Halloween), but you can't deny that fall's crisp air, hot apple cider, and gorgeous colors sound great right now.

As we get closer to the start of fall (it's officially September 22nd), many of us have a lot on our minds. Worries about going back to school, whether or not extracurricular activities will happen, and what our world might look like at the end of 2020 abound. This is a very different feeling than what we're used to at this time of year.

This is typically a time of looking forward to seeing our friends at school after the summer, prepping for fantasy football drafts (maybe that's just me), and anticipating the release of pumpkin spice everything. But this year isn't like that. Obviously the world has been turned upside down recently, but this goes deeper than the coronavirus. This year, the way we're talking about fall is dramatically different.

This pandemic has taken much from us. Handshakes, hugs, many in-person activities, and even lives have been lost due to this virus. I would posit that one of the greatest losses we have incurred is the loss of hope. Now, this is not because there is no hope. On the contrary, there is much hope to be had at this very moment. But many are having trouble finding it right now.

In many ways, we're suffering from mass trauma at the moment. We've all been affected in ways we never could have imagined by this pandemic, and we're all dealing with it in our own way. One of the saddest ways I've seen people dealing with this is by forsaking hope. Trust me, I get the temptation! You can't be let down if you never expect anything to go well, right? But this is not what God wants from us.

For evidence of this sad phenomenon, look no further than the fall. What is the majority of the discussion you hear about the fall focused on? Is it those beautiful leaves? The pumpkin spice? The (much-needed) drop in temperatures? Sadly, no. What we hear is fear about schools, debate about whether sports should come back, and endless discussions of an "inevitable" second wave of the virus.

I'm not saying that we should stop taking precautions and discussing the right path forward regarding the coronavirus. Far from it. But what you talk about and focus on can have a huge impact on your mental health, especially now. I want to share with you some things we can be hopeful about right now. I promise, they exist!

First of all, the NBA and the NHL (who have both adopted the "bubble" model for the remainder of their seasons) both reported ZERO positive coronavirus tests in their most recent round of testing. This is great news, because it is a concrete example of the virus being contained with proper precautions and safety measures. Hope springs eternal!

Okay, there's one. Need some more? Check out how CT is doing in terms of Covid response, per CT's positive test rate is 0.8% (compared to a 9% national average). That is really, really good, especially compared to April. It also means we have widespread testing! In April, we had 30.9 daily cases per 100,000 people. Today, we have 2.0 per 100,000. Boom. Hope springs eternal!

I'm not saying that we've beaten the virus entirely, but those are raw numbers that should bring us some hope. Still not enough for you? Well, here's one last thing. No matter what your politics are, I hope that we can all agree that the 2016 Presidential election was exhausting and divisive. At least we haven't had to deal with another year and a half of campaigning like that! One of the few benefits of the pandemic, I suppose. Hope springs eternal!

One of the biggest sources of fear I've heard is a potential second wave. I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be one. I cannot promise that we won't have a second wave and need to scale some things back again! But I'd submit that if we're worrying about a second wave so much that we can't appreciate the progress we've made (or the the beautiful season right around the corner), we're doing something wrong.

Worry and fear are not always bad. In some ways, they're biological survival tactics that we've had since the dawn of humanity. But when these things rob us entirely of hope, joy, and healthy anticipation, there is a disorder there. Matthew 6:34 says, "Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself." If that ain't a perfect microcosm of my point here, I don't know what is.

The devil is having a field day with us right now. He is fighting to take away our hope, and in many cases he is winning. Don't let him! Fight back. Hope IS there. There ARE things to be hopeful about, both leading into the fall and beyond. All we need to do is look for them. As a faction in a popular video game I've spent far too much time playing says, "Look for the light."

I pray that you and your families are all safe and healthy. May God bless you.


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