Dear OC Family,
I hope you and yours are doing well. I want you to know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. In meetings on campus - in groups of less than 10 now - we regularly begin with prayer, and we always remember our community.
As I am working through decisions and plans in these unprecedented days, two realizations have really impacted my thinking in the last week.
First, in the span of just a few hours last Wednesday evening, I watched as the NCAA and NBA made unheard-of decisions in the sports world, I listened to the White House news conference that changed the tone of the COVID-19 conversation, and I saw a growing number of institutions - in higher ed and elsewhere - make unparalleled decisions about changing operations. The societal shift was rapid and undeniable.
Second, over the weekend, I read a Washington Post article that demonstrated to me the critical importance and impact of community-wide social distancing. While I knew the consensus of experts was to limit activity in groups, this article really brought home this concept for me. I would encourage you to take 5 minutes and read and watch the article. (You will understand why I say "and watch" the article - it's fascinating.)
Despite all the turmoil in our country and the world, and despite my concerns for the vulnerable in our communities, I have faith in God and confidence in people.
So, here is what I am going to do - and I hope you will join me.
Pray. Wash my hands. Limit time in groups. Check on older folks and others who might be especially vulnerable to this threat. Be kind and patient. Tell family and friends how important they are. Don't neglect our spiritual lives - read the Bible, listen to good lessons and podcasts. Work on important things - including school work! Get some exercise. Eat healthy. Think about how normal everything will be again once this pandemic is history. Don't put dreams on hold.
And, memorize Philippians 4:4-9
Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
If you are hurting, struggling or anxious, please reach out to a trusted friend. And you’ll receive information soon about options with OC’s Counseling Center.
I look forward to having you back on campus when the time is right!
God bless you and yours,