April 1, 2020
One Day at a Time
When uncertain times come, I’ll often catch myself remembering the wisdom of the ancients. Wisdom that comes from experience, from taking a long perspective view. Wisdom born from all the experiences of life – joy and suffering, relationship and isolation.
My great Aunt Dora was one of those wise ancients in my life, one whose memory continues to burn bright. The story begins when my grandmother – my mom’s mother – died when my mom was only three years old. Aunt Dora and Uncle Silas took Mom in and raised her as their own.
Then, thirty or so years later, Mom contracted polio during the epidemic of the mid-’50s. Aunt Dora came to stay with us to help Dad take care of a two-year-old (brother Gordon), and a four-year-old (me). Years later, Mom told me about asking Aunt Dora during those anxious days, during what must have been total despair for my mom, “What in the world are we going to do?” Aunt Dora’s reply was a firm and simple, “We’re going to take it one day at a time.” Mom claimed that those simple words became a mantra for her and helped her get through the crisis.
For many, “One day at a time” is a casual phrase, something said without great thought or intended meaning. For my mother, pictured here, they were holy words, as they are for our family today, words that come out in special circumstances.
One day at a time is what I have been thinking about as we deal with the Covid virus crisis. Obviously, there is much in the way of long-term thinking and planning that must be done. But in managing the emotional burden of what is before us, perhaps one day at a time will do.
Our best response to the Covid virus requires organizational as well as individual initiative. At TMF we are making both long-term and daily decisions to walk alongside our partners in ministry, so they can walk alongside someone else – even if from afar. We are directing grant dollars to unrestricted use, offering interest-only or payment deferral to borrowers for a period of time, soon announcing a microloan program, and establishing the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund described here.
But the values lived are the same for both organizations and individuals – goodness, courage, resolve, compassion, and a willingness to step up when the need arises. And then, at the end of the day, give thanks for health, for the fact that we can be God’s gift to someone in need, and that we are one day closer to a time when we can again put our arms around those around us. And then, tomorrow, we’ll do it again, one day at a time.