PANIC DEMIC and Light At the End of the Tunnel

“Whover saves one life, saves the world entire…”

Schindler’s List

Life flows along like a song; that is until it doesn’t. Like a favorite brook or stream visited just the day before in a bucolic country setting–but now dried up from some cause out of our control–life can become so routine and expected in its ways that only a jarring from outside forces may awaken us to the beauty we loved and held to all along.

Most of us have experienced being on a train that enters a tunnel. It becomes narrow, dark, and we expect it to end when light appears. We have never been wrong in this expectation.

The heartbreaking film ‘Schindler’s List’ reminds us that life can change for us on the turn of a door nob. One day we are free, the next we open to a world that is suddenly silent but with demons waiting in the wings.

We understandably feel lost, shaken to our core by a new set of rules and reality. Such may be the case with you during this worldwide pandemic originating from Wuhan, China.

While disease knows no ideology, those at the epicenter must have some sense for what the people depicted by the characters in Shindler’s List felt as they were herded to death by brutal ideological captors.

We feel anxiety when life-altering change is thrust upon us. We feel panic at the threat of death, which means an ending to all we have come to know. It appears as a narrow tunnel with no escape.

Seeking peace with sudden changes may not be easy even when “everyone is in this together.”

But there are ways to both cope and mitigate the jarring effects of the sudden pandemic forces thrown at us.

Some with developed faith keep a bended knee to earth and clasped hands to heaven as their voices pray for mercy in the quest for light at the end of the tunnel. Others begin to do so for the first time. Still, others simply dig in their heels and determine what it is they can do as they question how we all got here in the first place. This is where Oscar Schindler comes in.

Few young people understand what one madman’s regime inflicted upon selected religious and other minorities just eight decades ago. One man stood against the cunning of Hitler and his killers of over 6 million Jews. A German factory owner kept buying lives. Now with freedom’s light at the end of a world at war tunnel, he mourns: “I could have saved more….”

When we think something like being shut-in drives us to anxiety and panic, imagine being human denied your home, family, food, health, basic rights, under constant threat of extermination in unimaginable and horrific ways.

Then imagine being a hero like Oscar Schindler — lifting, rescuing others…

Whatever comes of this present pandemic begun in Wuhan, being like Oscar was to the Jewish people meant the world now has tens of thousands more descendants to give thanks to one man for doing something.

The saying, “I may not be able to do everything, but I am able to do something…” has more meaning in moments like these. Perhaps it is simply our family, or maybe one friend, or perhaps even one stranger we can lift from despair. One thing is certain: doing something until the pandemic train reaches the end of the tunnel keeps us in the fight and who knows what it may mean to others?

We honor our first-line of defense responders to this new world of “shelter in place” and shutdowns. They include:

All health care workers, law enforcement, and fire & rescue personnel. Truckers and shippers, grocers, essential military, local and national government agencies tasked to keep necessary services operative, custodial help, and many more. God bless them all.

This movie clip says it all as the people Oscar Schindler saved during a manmade worldwide catastrophe known as World War Two’s holocaust offer him the best gift of gratitude they can; a simple gold ring made from the tooth filling of one prisoner. WATCH:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g4LxLHoIag&fbclid=IwAR3303NxOGdUruTEjZps8obZtMoSUOLtGVnEp03DMR_VhN-R5PwW1F0vGz8

Easter & Passover 2020 – A Prayer for Innocence

Easter…

Author & Easter Basket 1956

As it is with most people, images imprinted over a lifetime of celebrating come to my mind. These have become what one would describe as “normal.” Some include:

Ubiquitous Easter candy filling store isles one month before, the Easter Bunny with anticipation for traditional easter egg hunts for children, Easter baskets filled with goodies and presents for loved ones the night before, Easter Sunday church services, Easter pageants during Holy Week, celebrating the Christian heritage of and meaning for the word “Easter.”

Jesus the Christ suffering in Gethsemene, his crucifixion on the cross, and rising from the tomb in resurrected glory set the stage for these latter-day celebrations begun 2,000 years ago. But, in the spirit of celebrating, perhaps we have focused upon the marketing of traditions more than meanings.

This week also marks “Passover,” the religious observance honoring the 12 Tribes of Israel being delivered from Egyptian slavery and the plague of death by sheltering in place in their homes and placing the blood of a lamb over the lintel and doorposts of their homes. The angel of death passed over those protected by the blood of the lamb and so at each Passover Seder today the question is raised: “What makes this night different from all other nights?”

Until a world sickness captured our attention and required each person on the planet to shelter in place, we may have moved into this week more concerned about stocking up on Peeps marshmallow candies, and the perfect family photo we were planning, and what we would have for Sunday’s dinner, and the rare appearance of the family together for one of two regular church services we attended each year.

James Michael Pratt family 1988

I enjoy the normal and colorful traditions of the world surrounding this and all holidays. And as found in Christianity, I enjoy the reasons behind such a celebration as much as anyone. Anything that points to a greater good where child-like innocence, hope, peace, love, and friendship can be celebrated will find me “all in.”

Easter and Passover 2020 presents a wonderful opportunity for those who have left the faith part of the Easter and Passover traditions in the past. It also offers those who feel a need to renew their commitments to an Easter cause greater than the customarily marketed holiday fluff and stuff a chance to do so with greater focus.

This week — between Palm Sunday the 5th of April which signifies Jesus as King meekly entering Jerusalem upon a donkey before his sacrifice for sin, and Easter Sunday, April 12th, which celebrates Jesus the Christ triumphantly overcoming death for all mankind–presents a solemn and reflective time to be alone; something that “sheltering in place” to stem the tide of a deadly pandemic virus may have provided each of us in a way no other opportunity would have.

It provides the observant Christian an opportunity to place the blood of the Lamb of God, as Jesus is known, symbolically over their home through constant prayer seeking a pass-over of the scourge of a pandemic claiming the lives of many.

I am not a professional preacher, but I have been a volunteer minister and once upon a time decades ago a full-time missionary in an impoverished foreign land and have felt things. I participated in much personal, private, and spontaneously serendipitous events that greatly humbled me.

May I recommend to all those who have an appreciation for the Christian traditions of Easter, something I have called in one of my books, “a return to innocence.” We have socially distanced ourselves from one another, but perhaps we should do the opposite now with our God. A return to innocence involves belief and faith coupled with a simple and humble prayer given upon bended knee in a petition style like a child simply talks to a parent.

It may go something like this: “Father in Heaven,” followed by gratitude, and then asking for specific blessings of things you desire in this hour of need, ending with “in the name of Jesus the Christ;” simple and child-like.

This may be something that feels new, or odd, or even uncomfortable to some. To others, it may be the most “normal” thing they do daily. Whatever the reason behind such a private petition to God, “simple” is the most eloquent prayer — for it is also the most heartfelt and innocent.

Just as I wrote in the soon to be free read novel, “The Christ Report” I could cite supporting Bible passages for these words of mine, but that is not my purpose today.

My simple blog this day is to announce to the world in some literary form my witness that the Jewish son of Mary, Jesus of Nazareth from the house of Joseph, became the Messiah, and that his spiritual promises as found in the Holy Scripture called the Bible are real foundations for a unique “shelter in place” Easter — or as one friend Mary Jean Bentley of Texas called it, a “shelter in peace.”

May this and future Easters become a more inspiring hope-filled normal with a return to innocence, gratitude, daily supplications, and feelings of renewal as we seek to join a worldwide spiritual awakening of our souls to realities upon which, in the first place, our celebrating is based.

God bless you and keep you in a return to childlike innocence and humility before the present crisis confronting us all.

Coming Soon: New website with free reading @ www.jamesmichaelpratt.com

WHEN HOPE IS NEEDED

You Never Know What Tomorrow Will Bring…

     Everyone feels lost many times throughout life.  Sometimes, even when in a crowded room, we can feel as alone as if we were castaway on a deserted island.

It can happen because we lost a loved one, or a friend betrayed us, a hard-earned career is lost, financial disaster strikes after years of careful planning, a struggling marriage just got worse, an addiction we thought we beat came roaring back, sickness invades our life stealing from us needed energy like a thief in the night; in short–life just hammered us until we feel we can’t take it anymore.

On such occasions, emptiness may creep into our lives in what feels like a soul-crushing tide. Each wave of trouble crashes upon us tumbling us to the shore before mercilessly pulling us back into its current to smash us against the rocks with the next wave.

When hope is needed and you feel cast away, character Chuck Noland  recounts how hope kept him alive…

“I knew, somehow, that I had to stay alive. Somehow, I had to keep breathing. Even though there was no reason to hope. And all my logic said that I would never see this place again. So that’s what I did. I stayed alive. I kept breathing. And one day my logic was proven all wrong because the tide came in and gave me a sail. And now, here I am. I’m back. In Memphis, talking to you. I have ice in my glass…

“And I’ve lost her all over again. I’m so sad that I don’t have Kelly. But I’m so grateful that she was with me on that island. And I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?”

     Click on image and listen to the theme song of Cast Away starring Tom  Hanks:
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