Essential is a word that’s been tossed around a lot lately.

The governor and city leaders have both issued orders limiting the activities of businesses not deemed essential during the ongoing virus crisis. Everyone is asked to limit travel and time in public to only essential errands and tasks.

We’re learning a lot of lessons through this experience, perhaps none more significant than what is genuinely essential in our lives. When so many of the daily activities we take for granted are no longer possible, we quickly find ourselves cutting back and figuring out what matters.

Our beautiful church buildings are lovely, and I’m looking forward to the day I can worship again in a crowded auditorium surrounded by brothers and sisters. Still, I’ve learned the church is essentially its people and not a building. Maintaining those relationships and worshiping God is at its heart. Showing God’s love through service and care for others doesn’t require pews or a pulpit.

There are few things I love more than a good meal with my wife and kids sitting down inside our favorite restaurant. I’ve learned takeout works just as well because the joy of the meal is not where we are, but who we’re with and the sharing of time together.

I’m a total music nerd, and I genuinely miss the joy of live music with my wife right now, but I’ve found we can still share those experiences at home as we play our records and watch videos of our favorite artists. Once again, it’s not about where we are but who we’re sharing it with.

What I think we’re all learning is, the essentials of life are not about places or things, but about people. The most basic and valuable parts of life are found within our hearts and within our relationships with our families, friends, and neighbors.

We may not be able to go out as we’ve always done, but we can find the essential love, hope, and encouragement in those essential relationships that keep us strong each day.

Brant Sappington is managing editor of the Daily Corinthian’s sister newspaper, the Banner-Independent in Booneville, and a longtime member of the Daily Corinthian news team where he currently serves as assistant editor.

Banner Independent Editor

Managing editor of the Daily Corinthian’s sister newspaper, Booneville’s Banner-Independent, Brant Sappington has been a member of the Daily Corinthian family since 2001.

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