Oh yes I did. As part of my 31 Days Writing Challenge, I decided to tackle the word everyone is talking about, Googling and whispering. What is ebola? I am, obviously not a scientist. Maybe not so obvious, I also am not a medical professional–although I do play one in the middle of the night or after office hours whichever comes first–when one of my children gets sick. If you Googled “What is Ebola” looking for scientific or medical knowledge, you are clearly in the wrong place.
What is Ebola
As you can tell by my introduction, I have no idea, medically speaking, what ebola is. I mean, I know it’s a virus, but I cannot explain those wormy looking diagrams of the virus I see on the internet. I can tell you the symptoms, or at least what I’ve read the symptoms are and I might be able to tell you how it’s transmitted provided the information would stay consistent or make sense, and I can tell you the most likely outcome. But this post is none of the above. Here, right now, I’m going to share with you what ebola is to me.
Let’s take a proverbial trip down memory lane. I’m 42, so let’s go back about 30 some odd years. I have a vivid memory of being in elementary school and learning about ebola. Yes, elementary school and yes ebola. As an adult, as a parent now, I’m wondering what the world?!? Its’ not like it was part of a “Just Say No” campaign to warn me of doing drugs. It wasn’t even part of an AIDS educational program–wait, that was high school…anyway…I have no idea why I was learning about ebola, but for a sensitive child, it was traumatic. So maybe this post will end up serving as a warning to parents of sensitive children?
Being a sensitive child and now sensitive adult means certain stories grab me and leave deep impressions in my mind and on my heart. That’s why I don’t watch television or click too far around the internet…scary stories. When I say those stories can grab me, maybe a better word would be “strangle.” Those stories can strangle the very life out of me. Without a moments notice, I can be thinking of a great musical and the next be overcome with feelings of dread, fear and hopelessness.
So what is ebola to me? A thief. The mention of ebola can steal me from the present moment and transport me back to elementary school and simultaneously propel me into the unknown future. When I say a thief, I mean it steals any thoughts of truth, honor, justice, purity, loveliness, graciousness, excellence or praise. It steals the thoughts I should be thinking according to Philippians 4:8.
When I start to feel afraid, I have to quickly gather my thoughts and return to what I know to be the truth…Who I know to be the Truth. If I want to be a joy thinker, I have to firmly fix my mind on thoughts of joy. I cannot decide, “I’m not going to think of ebola–it’s scary.” Guess what I then think about? How scary ebola is! Try it. Don’t think of a red apple. What did you just think about? A red apple!
Remember when we considered what the Bible says about our thoughts? And I had that great quote from Tommy Newberry’s book The 4:8 Principle: The Secret to a Joy-Filled Life? It’s one of the Laws of Emotional Strength…“You can do away with a negative thought only when you replace it with a positive thought.” Instead of thinking “What is ebola,” I have to start thinking, “Who is Christ?” or “How much does God love me?” Or even “How can my children be ravenously hungry one hour after breakfast?!” Either way, I have to choose my thoughts and fix my mind on those thoughts so I will not be afraid in crisis.