It is difficult to know what to write this week. There is so much news coming at us and no time to digest it.

From the time I write this article to the time it is published, life in our community may change a little or a lot. Each day brings information we have to learn and absorb very quickly. The bottom line is that it is about our relationships and how we are to “be” with one another. We can’t ease into this. Nor can we ignore it.

This week there has been 24/7 talk about the virus and what we need to do. And as quickly as things are changing, some things remain the same. We love, we pray, we care. With our best efforts, we can tap into our courage as well as our common sense.

I was going to write about hospitality as the golden rule for these times. But then I realized that we all need to be compassionate to one another. Being hospitable and compassionate will serve us well. Offering the best of ourselves to another and listening deeply to their fears.

It is certain that this is a time for encouragement. How can I let you know how much you are loved? How can you let me know it’s OK to be confused? I am vulnerable and so are you, but we do not have to stand alone.

Nonjudgmental, deep listening to each other is what will get us through these uncertain times. Without it assumptions are quickly made, and rumors spread.

 As quickly as things change, our God remains the same — ever-faithful, our rock. Some days the mountains are hidden by clouds, but we still know they are there.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Ps. 18:2

Fear is the opposite of feeling safe. If we act in fear, we hurt ourselves as much as we hurt each other. If safety feels far away, prayer can bring us comfort. Prayer can bring peace of mind.

Lead with the heart. Unexpected, rapid change, as hard as it is, cannot — should not — leave lasting cracks in our friendships.

Now more than ever we must give one another the benefit of the doubt. We don’t know where they are coming from or where their fearful places are. All we can do is listen. If this needs to be by text, phone or video calls, so be it for now.

Courage, common sense and compassion are key. Reach out — safely — to one another, especially those who are alone.

Let the words we speak and the actions we take be encouragement and hope. We can be the messengers of God’s abundant love.

Margie Adams, MA, is the staff chaplain at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.


Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.