Governor Bill Lee recently designated October 15th as a Day of Prayer, Humility, and Fasting. And the need has never been greater. The proclamation acknowledges the “pain, suffering and challenges Tennesseans are experiencing from this unique season of life in our state and in our nation.” It speaks to, among other things, our need to “act with justice, kindness and love, no matter the circumstance.”
Regardless of political or religious beliefs, few have been untouched by this pandemic. Right now, we all need extra compassion, love, and peace of mind, especially as we head into the holiday season—a season that will be unlike any experienced before in our lifetime.
As if social distancing hasn’t been difficult enough, experts are now warning us of the dangers of large holiday gatherings. We’re being encouraged to celebrate virtually. I don’t know about you, but the thought of sharing Thanksgiving dinner with my extended family via Zoom just isn’t the same as holding hands around the dinner table as we say grace and share all of the things for which we are grateful. But our family will, as I’m sure your family will, do what we need to do to keep our loved ones safe this year.
I’m reminded of Job, the successful, faithful servant of God who experienced a multitude of misfortunes set upon him as a test of his faith. He loses his livestock, many children, and his health, all within a matter of days. But he doesn’t give in to despair; he continues to praise God. What we’re living through now is not unsimilar to Job. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have suffered great loss, from family members to jobs and businesses, to health, homes, and more. That’s why it’s so important to stay steadfast in our faith and to comfort each other, no matter our differences.
As we walk through the grocery or go to church with masks on our faces—or even without—it’s often difficult to tell how much someone is suffering. We need to remember that even in our own suffering, God’s grace works through us to lift each other up. Chip Sekulich, our chaplain and patient advocate at TwelveStone Health Partners, put it well. He said, “We need to stop, turn and reflect on our dependence upon God’s direction and sovereignty as we navigate these challenging days.”
At TwelveStone, we believe it is our mission to provide compassion, love, and peace of mind to the patients we serve every day, but even more so now. We see the grace of God in our treatment centers all the time, like when patients with complex chronic conditions like Hemophilia and Cystic Fibrosis see vast improvements in their quality of life through various treatments like enteral therapy of infusion therapy. Our clinicians feel it is an honor to be there, to comfort, to hold hands, and to pray with patients. That’s the spirit we all need to carry with us at this time and in the upcoming months.
We hear it every day: These are unprecedented times. As a fellow Tennessean, I want to encourage each of you to show extra compassion to each other—whether stranger, family or friend. Like Governor Lee said in his proclamation, “The people of Tennessee acknowledge our rich blessings, our deep transgressions, the complex challenges ahead, and further acknowledge the need to pause, to humble ourselves and seek God’s guidance for the days ahead.”