Keep your Values, Change your Practices

Fanny That.

Ever since the Chicago Marathon 2007 I have carried a fanny pack with a bottle of fluids no matter how long I will run.  Three miles, five miles or more, the fanny pack with the fluids is always there, I have multiple packs.  This marathon triggered my change in practice.  It was a grueling test of endurance and patience.  The sun was hot, and the temperatures climbed throughout the run.  In Mid-October the temperatures rose to over 90 degrees by the time I finished.  But the most troubling situation occurred when there was no water for the runners to hydrate along the way.  The first two aid stations were in absolute pandemonium as there was no water to be had. 

Why no water so early in the race?  The faster runners were already getting overheated.  They did what comes naturally—they pulled several cups off the tables at one time.  These were not to drink, but to cool their bodies off.  When scarcity occurs, we move into the mentality of “every man for himself.”  It’s human nature.  The saviors along the way were the residents with hoses, misters, bottles of water and Gatorade.  From mile 8 all the way through to the finish, these were the real heroes. 

We are living in unprecedented times with a pandemic on the loose, our livelihoods at stake, and troubling uncertainty of what even the next hours will bring.  We all will need to change our practices.  What worked in February may no longer be viable in May.  But I have extreme hope that we can and will cross the finish line standing.  I have extreme hope that our lives will resume with some semblance of normality to what it was just a few weeks ago.  That hope comes from the memories of the real heroes stepping up quickly and coming to the rescue.  But we will indeed have to change our practices.  Are we, am I, up to the test?

Here are six suggestions on how to Change a Practice today:

Let Someone Else Have Their Way.  Now is not the time to argue or squabble.  Immediately, without hesitation go with their need or desire.  If we all are doing it, we will get our way too!  This will require the practice of accepting.      

Offer Help and Support to Others.  Start a practice of saying, “how can I help you?  What support will you need to make that happen.” 

Teach Someone a New Practice.  We are not all adept at working in this virtual world we find ourselves in.  If you have surplus time, offer to teach–not just tell–someone a new practice so they have mastered it, and can execute it routinely. 

Give Grace.  When someone makes a mistake, is inadequate, misspeaks or seems confused, put aside the instinctive need to correct or be critical.  We all are suffering from shell shock.  This will require the practice of unselfishness.       

Speak Life.  “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”  Hebrews 10:24. We all are feeling emotionally malnourished.  Practice encouraging.

Pray Without Ceasing.  This is not non-stop talking, but the practice of making prayer a recurring way of life.  It is a deep awareness and surrender to God for everything in our lives.    1 Thessalonians 5:17.                             

Thank you to all who have stepped up and rained down showers of support for those most vulnerable in our community.  Thank you to the first responders, to the healthcare providers and caretakers for those who need the most acute care currently.

Not one, not two, but three!