The Great Invitation

My sister was headed to the local drug store and asked her adolescent what she needed. Her daughter flatly lamented, “Pick me up a case of disappointment and a box of despair.” How many identify with that feeling right now, I wonder? 2020 has been a year of reckoning, discomfort and loss for many. I’m trying to sort out my response and understanding of it all. It’s natural to want to understand but I’m realizing maybe that’s not the point?

I was at work today when a customer called crying. She had a destroyed yard and a totaled vehicle- all related to Hurricane Sally. She also was at the doctor’s office and had just been diagnosed with Strep. She said, “ I just can’t catch a break.” I felt terrible for her as I have had those exact feelings before myself. My circumstances may have been different but I knew too well the panic she felt. That understanding aided me in calming her. I could tell she got a modicum of relief from my validation alone.

I was chatting with my senior friend also today and she said, “One doesn’t know what the next day will bring.” She was referring to the health state of someone in their 80’s and 90’s. We had a mutual friend who moved to assisted living and were saying how she seemed fine recently. That made me realize also the same with everything now- ONE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT TOMORROW MAY BRING.

My husband and I were driving tonight and he said, “No one is guaranteed tomorrow. We need to be making healthy decisions for other reasons than just Covid. Sure we could die of it but we are more likely to die of a car crash or heart attack.” That brings me back to the minutiae of our daily decisions. Am I operating out of fear? Am I recognizing this moment I am here as a gift and maximizing it? Am I being a good coworker, parent, spouse, daughter, friend?

I admit I am not at all afraid of dying. Am I chasing it? No, definitely not- I feel owed the chance to meet my grandchildren. I plan to spoil, love and cherish each second I’m blessed with them. (I was an uptight, perfectionist mother and I WILL balance that with my plans to be super chill grandma.) I want to celebrate life and the years I have left. Why live terrified? Doesn’t make sense to me. And thinking I know the answers to everything also seems limiting. What I want to convey is that all that is forcing us out of our comfort zones in 2020 might be beneficial? 2020 could be “The Great Invitation” to get out of our ruts and make changes for the better.

Is there someone you need to reach out to? Are you happy at work or just getting through each day? Are you taking care of yourself? Do you need to improve your health/attitude/relationships? Is there a relationship you need to end? Are you living within your means? Now is the time to make meaningful changes. I don’t believe we will get back to “normal.” Normal is a setting on a dryer. We choose our values by how we live. Hopefully our living will reflect we’ve accepted the invitation to do better.

“The Black Widow”

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They were high school sweethearts and were deeply devoted to one another. To hear her tell their love story is to meander down beautiful roads of memories filled with spectacular views. I felt privileged to be invited to peek inside her heart to meet the love of her life.

She was younger and he older when they met. They went to the same, small high school and vowed to stay together even when he left for college. He was so loving, he urged her to attend dances with other young men in his absence. He didn’t want her to miss out on anything. Right when she graduated high school, however, he popped the question stating, “I’m not turning you loose on campus!” And so they were a married couple attending their state university together.

She got through a few years of studies before he took a professional job elsewhere. He was an engineer and she a homemaker. They went on to relocate for his employment and raise their family which included two sons and a daughter. She shared joyous memories of her young family and recounts his habit of coming home from work and immediately playing with his children in the yard, “Baseball, basketball, any kind of ball, he would play with the children first,” she sweetly said.

“He and I worked together. We were partners. He respected me and was good to me. We laughed a whole lot and were happy. He was the love of my life,” she reminisced. I could hear her voice trail off down a private path. Her wistful voice let me know she was in another place with her first love.

Things dramatically changed for her when he became ill. It took them out to MD Anderson to get the proper diagnosis. Cancer. He only had weeks left. Her world was shattered. She did not know how she could manage three young children, finances, and build a life without his presence. “That was a very hard time for me. I had to raise three children alone, go back to work and relocate my family,” her voice trailed off. She mentioned that his biggest concern was her raising the family by herself. Her young husband passed away at only 38 years old. Part of her heart got buried with him- a part no one would ever have again.

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Being a devout Christian is what sustained her through relocating states away, joining the workforce, and watching over adolescents as a single parent. Her oldest son even waited a year to go off to college to help out at home, she proudly added.

It took her 10 years to even think of dating again. By then, her children were older and she felt more comfortable at the thought. Friends set her up and she ended up eventually marrying a wonderful man. They traveled and enjoyed life together until he fell ill years later and she became his caretaker until he passed away. She said he was a very good man and that they had a happy marriage. They were married many years.

Time passed and once again, she was asked on a date. She went and ended up eventually marrying this fun-loving man and had years of fun and travel with him as well. She told me she thoroughly enjoyed their travel clubs and they made fond memories. Theirs was a harmonious marriage for years until he became ill. She was also his caretaker until he passed away.

When I first met my new friend, she jokingly called herself “the Black Widow,” because she had three husbands that all passed away. I knew she was good through and through and that she was only making fun of her predicament. (For naysayers, she let me know she had signed prenuptial agreements with the final two husbands.) She said after three successful marriages, she was done in that department. I was dumbfounded she had experienced THREE successful marriages period! One seems to be too hard for many. It just goes to show how good of a person she is.

She was single, in her eighties, and relocating to a retirement community when we met. She was making a huge life transition like me. I was a motherless mother entering the empty nest phase. Our friendship grew into a group of friends that prayed, laughed and ate together biweekly. I’d call to check in on her and she’d end up chatting about her family or a favorite memory. That was how she conveyed her life story to me- over many conversations. Her reflections became mirrors for me. I began seeing my life in a bigger picture too. She taught me that it is family that is most important yet still, can be quite difficult at times. She also lovingly reminded me that my children are still growing up. I appreciate her more than she will ever know and feel by knowing her story, she has helped me write mine.

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Rage Queen

“Instead store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy and robbers cannot break in and steal.” Matthew 6:20

One year ago, if someone told me the circumstances we would have in our country right now, I’d have thought they were insane. No way could that much possibly happen at one time! It would be incredulous to have protests all over, natural disasters of epic proportions, a global pandemic, a BIG recession, and ferociously feuding politicians during an election year! No way! Impossible! Nope. Possible. Actual.

I was in the eye of Hurricane Sally recently and got really, really scared. So much so that I went and slept in our old, cast iron bathtub. The damning winds, snapping trees, and rain pummeling us for hours had me in fervent prayer at 4am. I’d been through several hurricanes before and assumed same old, same old. Oh, how I was wrong! When we saw daylight, we saw new topography and landscape in our yard. Things had changed permanently. Yes, a few bad incidents happened like a boat and car got totaled but not one of 60 trees fell on or torpedoed through my home. Miraculous, truly miraculous.

Boat Placed in Our Yard for Protection by Friends

I cannot complain one second that another hurricane is headed to the Gulf Coast or about lack of electricity, internet, AC, etc. of recent weeks. I cannot, will not, and SHOULD NOT because some people actually live in these conditions all the time. In America, we have had such prosperity for so long it seems an entitlement. This frightens me more than the actual hurricane did.

What has occurred to me is that I was not ready for 2020. I cannot imagine most people were ready for such intense, life altering circumstances all at once. I believe every single person breathing has been affected in one way or another. I will admit, it got to me last week when things had been so rough for so long that I indulged myself by throwing a mega, pity party. I cried, got angry, exploded at co-workers and felt absolutely horrible afterwards. That party stunk and I don’t believe I’ll ever host one again.

To indulge ourselves in emotional anger only fans the flame. Once burning, it’s destruction is swift and fast. It leaves charred remains and a blackness like none other. I quickly recognized I was getting no where and genuinely disliked myself. I sent her bye-bye and won’t invite that bitty over ever again.

Then, I started thinking what I could have done differently to avoid such idiocy in the first place? I consider myself a practicing Christian and believe I TRY to live by faith and God’s promises. Yet, what happened that flipped my switch off and turned me into the rage queen????

I have asked myself and God these questions. I think He has provided the answer. I allowed myself to get worn down by not prioritizing what I should have and instead spent precious time on frivolous pursuits. This robbed me of important energy. Second, I indulged myself in numbing activities that did nothing but make matters even worse. Third, I wasn’t seeking guidance through disciplined prayer and Bible reading. I also wasn’t exercising (picking up limbs wasn’t enough??). I know myself and what works to keep me healthy and on track. I was not practicing those things.

So, I went back to basics and made myself do what felt unnatural and inconvenient. Why? Because this I know- it has worked before and if I truly, really, honestly believe in Jesus and all He has done for me, I darn better live like it!! I’m not preaching at anyone but myself. This was my experience and I recognize we are all free to believe (or not), worship (or not), and live like we want because we are in the “Land of the Free.” I also believe God is big enough to understand our disbelief and human weaknesses. He just sits back waiting to be invited to whatever we have going on- the good, the bad and the ugly. All we have to do today is ask for help from Him. That’s it- pretty basic and clear.

Next, I got thinking about America compared to the early nation of Israel. Back in Moses and Joshua’s time, they were a stubborn bunch and it cost them dearly. Only the offspring were allowed to inherit the Promised Land. Then, that bunch got wild and indifferent and forgot too. It kept going until the fall of Judah- the last remnant. Our blessed country is not yet 300 years old and we are in a mess. I still believe we can work this out, however, and come together to improve things. I still have HOPE for a better tomorrow.

This gets me back to my last point. If we prepare properly for storms, negative circumstances, crises, and sickness by planning ahead and being ready, it won’t be as painful to weather whatever comes. (Here comes my self-preaching again.) I absolutely HAVE to practice spiritual discipline by filling up my spiritual warehouse EVERY SINGLE DAY, regardless what’s going on. It’s essential, less the rage queen comes back for a visit and she’s a terrible houseguest.

Punch to the Face

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I woke to a puff of fur nuzzled against me warm and trusting. The contrast was palpable. Outside the bustling world with all its battle wounds was rearming for another round. I forced myself from my safe cocoon and triumphed over the act of making my bed- a tiny success. Breathing inaudible prayers, I reminded myself my family is well, we have a lot by world’s standards- and that “this too shall pass.” My husband flicked on the news and the anchor’s voice instantly grate on my nerves as she provided a litany of negative morsels for me to chew on or spit out. So much, too much, how much? I wondered silently. I decided to spit and turned off the tv.

Being 6 months into a pandemic and reading about another shooting last night during protests, I had to STOP. Stop digesting the ugly, stop absorbing the poison, stop believing it will always be this way. Yes, it is happening, yes, it is real, yes, I cannot stop it all. I don’t want to deny the truth of events, yet I don’t want them to harden or jade me either.

I read a devotional seeking spiritual asylum from my weary shell. I am reminded the only power I can exert is over my attitude. Attitude, blasted attitude! I have been sparring and wrestling with it for decades. By sheer will, I demand change yet slide right back into the muck of its dark puddle. Seems I am an old dog forgetting my hard learned tricks. I am like the man who keeps looking at his face in the mirror forgetting what he looks like.

Arriving at work, I reached for my belongings from the backseat of the car. WHAM! Right in the bullseye! I’m struck between the eyes by the contents of my bag- a heavy, wooden picture frame. I winced and got completely still. “Okay, okay,!” I cried to no one. Darkness flees and I am feeling Harry Potter “stupefied.” Yes, my face hurt but it was the knock to the head I needed. Yep, I am an old dog, but my tricks are still with me. I remembered it’s not HOW I feel but WHAT I tell myself: that God is for me, not against me; He asked me to be IN the world but not OF the world; We have gotten through much darker, personal storms already; He is ever present in good AND bad times; He promised a glorious future and all I have to do is hang on. Even if it requires a punch to the face. 🙂

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MENTAL LOAD MARATHON

Finally, all three sons in one room. It’s been months. The deep laughter and humorous barbs make me smile. How did we FINALLY get to the place I’d always pined for? When did the “Please, grow up!” statement become reality? When did the maturity hit? I’m perplexed because we didn’t change anything- we just kept on keeping on. And I prayed ceaselessly for years. I wanted so badly to be a good mother and see them to adulthood. I also wanted them to eventually be friends. Had God noticed my MENTAL LOAD?

Recently, a coworker introduced me to the term “mental load.” It’s when a person makes mental notes of things or people needing attention. This certainly captures the hurricane swirling inside my head at any given moment. It’s the “to dos” that are unrecognized by other members of the unit. It could be as small as future appointments to make, mental grocery lists, emotional concerns about another, upcoming birthdays/events, or repairs needed to a paint job. Apparently, I do too much of this. However, it is real and appears women carry this load most.

My husband says I worry too much and that I’m going to have a heart attack. Well, I haven’t had one yet! What he calls worry, I call concern. I’m hyper aware of others and their perceived needs. Perceived, of course, because I have yet to master mind reading. Maybe my personality type makes me overly empathetic. But, hey, I could be a sociopath and that’s not good either. And I’m the one noticing tiny details and nuances. Maybe we are a perfect match? I don’t know but I would love to shut off the perpetual “to dos” in my head.

Seeing all three sons sitting (!) at the table together today chatting is something that started occurring only recently. For some reason, they interacted in passing fragments for two decades or were in a pile on the floor. Now, three humans with albeit humorous words have taken over and I love, love it!

My mental load might ease up in one area with this newfound pleasure but takes over like a V8 engine when it comes to their relationships and future plans. Peace Corps, anyone? Cross country relocations? Can I get an amen? Mamas will always be concerned with details of their childrens’ lives no matter how many times we hear, “It’s really none of your business.” Haha, go ahead, try to make me disinterested. But please, for the love of God, do not stress me out!

GOD, WHERE ARE YOU?

I’ve failed at attempts to reconcile our global pandemic, societal unrest, racial injustice, and political chaos. Spiritually, I am struggling and asking, “God, where are you?” I truly believe He is ever present and all knowing. I believe He is a just and good God. So why is all this happening and what does he want us to do?

Originally, I equated COVID-19 to science fiction, but now it tops my news feed. Reality has become WORSE than sci-fi. I also read in “Time” that global warming is imminent. Climate change is apparently devastating Earth and like Covid, not going away any time soon. If God created this world and man is custodian, we are apparently failing. So what would God suggest we do?

Along with scientifically terrifying scenarios, there’s societal upheaval from decades of injustice. One person unleashed fury that demands to be reckoned with. Whether referring to the current movement or coronavirus, one person’s choice has had an unbelievable reach. I see one person CAN change the world.

From prayer and scripture reading, I’ve come to understand the following: God wants us to recognize we are NOT Him; we are NOT entitled to ANYTHING; we are His creation and only temporarily here. Our comfort and enjoyment are not the point of our existence. If anyone reads the Old Testament, he can read of suffering for waywardness. Is this possibly why God is allowing our circumstances today?

Referring to the Old Testament, plagues, wars, and destruction are not new. All of this can be recounted in scripture. Man has the uncanny knack to obediently follow God but then drift away. If we look at our country’s 200+ year history, it’s not hard to decipher which way the pendulum has swung. So I cannot help but wonder if there’s a reason all this is happening now? Are we at a point of reckoning?

The believer in me wants so badly to find God in the midst of the storm. I desperately want to believe God is still God and He is aware of our plight. Yet life suddenly seems so fragile. People are financially, physically and emotionally devastated. Hospitals are filling up to the point refrigerator trucks are substituting as morgues. Why is my loving God allowing such circumstances?

Seeking further understanding, I look to history. Plagues aren’t new. They’ve happened many times before. It seems we are just the lucky “once in a hundred years” recipients of a global pandemic. And when last has our society collectively been outraged for a movement to occur? That was 50 years ago. If events just happen, why so many collectively now? Could this be one big wake up call?

With all this questioning, I have to return to what I DO know. I DO know God is the alpha and omega. I DO know He wants us to enjoy His presence and a relationship with us. I DO know He loves us and wishes us no harm. I DO know He has provided for and responded to urgent prayer in my life before. I DO know He promises us a future and eternal life in His majestic presence. All I have to do is believe, trust and remain obedient.

I cannot answer the whys of our current circumstances. I also realize I cannot fix them. But I can be the hands and feet of Jesus to someone else who might need them. I can pray and trust and remain obedient. I CAN listen so as to understand others. I CAN develop more empathy for others. I CAN try to be a better steward of Earth. And I CAN exercise my freedom to vote. I also CAN trust that “ALL THINGS WORK FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE THE LORD.”

HIGHER LOVE

I woke to an unexpected song running through my head. It was unusual in that I had not heard it in ten years and hadn’t been listening to music to recall it. It was the song “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood. The lyrics spoke truth.

“Think about it, there must be higher love
Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above
Without it, life is wasted time
Look inside your heart, I’ll look inside mine

Things look so bad everywhere
In this whole world, what is fair?
We walk blind and we try to see
Falling behind in what could be.”

The song was a segue from a book I had finished last night. The book “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” was a work of historical fiction about C.S. Lewis and his wife. Their shared journeys of seeking and finding Christ lead them to a close friendship. I identified with their honest questioning of the who, what and HOW of Christ. Her exasperation when she said, “He demands too much of us,” was palpable to me. I too have asked God before why things had to be so hard?

The book was so relatable I forgot it was written about an earlier century. Their quest was as current as ever. When I finished the book I felt like I was saying goodbye to kindred spirits. They, like me, had been on a journey of understanding- a quest for God’s truth. It was never about religion for them. I giggled when I read C.S. Lewis hated the organ and sat behind a column so the pastor couldn’t see his face when he disagreed.

Enter Steve Winwood this morning. Why was my mind replaying lyrics from that song? How did the recesses of my mind find a single song so applicable? Higher Love is something everyone wants. We want to be respected, protected and accepted. We want to be adored and treasured. The quest begins in infancy and never really ends. But what of this “Higher Love?” Higher Love has to be that like Christ’s. The selfless kind we give without expectation. I figure it looks something like this:

Loving the unlovable. Showing up when you don’t want to. Listening attentively while not thinking of my next comment- (five fingers at self). Negating feelings and instead acting on truth. Acting with integrity when it is inconvenient and unpopular. Caring for those who cannot care for themselves. THIS, I believe, has to be “Higher Love.”

I wish Jesus would just hand us the blueprint of how to navigate relationships, parenting, marriage and well, everything! I know I want to get it right but nonetheless don’t. I wish my secular leaders would at least TRY. This pandemic has stripped us of frivolity and excess. We are forced to be close to our families and I pray fervently that’s a good thing. I know I’ve interacted more with my college-aged sons than I have in years. And of course, at times it gets tricky.

But what if we all attempted Higher Love? We could treat it like bike riding. We would just try, fall, get up, fall and so on. And then one day we wouldn’t have to try so hard anymore. It would certainly make our current predicament more pleasant.

I think I will reread the book. I need to take it slowly this time. I’m thankful for both the author, Patti Callahan, and Steve Winwood’s song for making me even think about Higher Love. I need to start practicing now.

RESCUED

I was immediately in love. The tiny features, utter dependency and warmth made bonding natural. I felt like some imposter receiving a gift I wasn’t supposed to receive. I had adopted a one pound black ball of fur and did it for me and no one else.

For years our family had pets. One dog per child and a plethora of others. We had smelly turtles in a tank, a demonic rabbit that bit, a corn snake that grew from inches to feet and hamsters. Oh yes, and fish and a mouse named Ronaldo. The fish was interesting in that it was a goldfish that was won at a fair and lived about five years. Another fish inexplicably flipped itself out of its bowl and was never seen again- gone, without a trace.

The goldfish I was telling you about had the most curious name, Grace Cannot Name Me. Our son had enough of our daughter naming pets and so it stuck. The snake, found in the yard, was domesticated by my husband and son while I was out of town for the weekend. They had the tank, heating lamp, rocks and bedding up and running before I could say no. I detested having it inside and its escape four years later was the only way I was finally rid of its presence. Of course, there was the shed snakeskin found behind the fridge some years later that made me wonder.

The tuft I fell for appeared unexpectedly while our three sons were in high school. I was talking with a woman who volunteered at a shelter and told her I would love a tiny dog. Apparently, another shelter I requested a small dog from didn’t trust my motives. I found out later they had contacted my vet and wanted to know if I really did take care of my pets properly. I found that humorous. Regardless, the woman was also a foster dog parent and wanted me to meet this particular one.

My husband, on the other hand, forbade me to have a tiny dog on the grounds that we “were not small dog people.” He said it would get stomped or slammed in a door. I got him anyway and it was love at first sight.

My daughter and sons laughed at me. They said he was the favorite son and that if the house were burning down, he’d be the first one I’d save. My daughter also made the humorous statement that she didn’t know what they were going to do about me if something ever happened to the dog.

At first I felt guilty having him. It was a purely selfish move and it was all about what I wanted. I took him everywhere. He went to work and the grocery store. He was so small I could put him in my tote and nobody knew he was there. He had sweaters and was beyond cute.

I was telling a retired pastor how much I was enjoying him and how I couldn’t believe a ball of fur could bring so much joy to my life. I told him I felt like God had sent him to me at the time I needed him most. He said, “Of course He did! God loves you and wants you to be happy.” At that point in my life, I had come to believe that life wasn’t supposed to be happy or joyful anymore. I felt it was all duty and responsibility. And then along came the furry love note from above.

My boys and husband finally got used to the fact I had a “girly dog” and it took three years for them to quit calling him a “she.” He was the only dog I’d ever had that peed in excitement. He would pee every time I came home and I found there was no remedy. Somewhere along the way, this ball became 27 pounds and became quite portly. He loves food more than anything. I have to be careful to put away our other dog’s uneaten food and buy weight management dog food. I honestly believe he would eat until he burst.

He’s five years old now and my husband calls him his vanguard. My sons love him and hug on him as much as I do. He still thinks I’m some Hollywood starlet. I won’t be correcting that assumption. If I’m gone mere hours, you’d think I’d been gone weeks. He gives more adoration, loyalty and unconditional love than anyone. I am so thankful for him. I think I was the one rescued when I adopted him.

The Twilight Zone

Recently I was wondering if we were on a movie set like “The Truman Show.” Is a director about to yell, “Cut!” And we’re all about to be told this is all a big hoax? Never would I have imagined our predicament were possible outside a Hollywood sci-fi movie. This situation has me recalling Rod Serling’s “Twilight Zone” and I think we are all starring in a strange, double feature.

We seem stuck in a time warp with people asking when we will get back to normal. I am wondering if instead, we are hitting an invisible reset button that will forever change our existence? We cannot assume immunity anymore. Terrorism was our greatest threat but now even terrorists are being terrorized. The entire world is being attacked collectively. We will all have to learn from each other to manage a future outbreak.

Last Sunday my husband pushed me to join our family for a kayak excursion. Reluctantly, I went and was pleasantly surprised at the meditative calm I experienced while drifting down river. The cool breeze under green canopies was peaceful. I also observed a large cross on someone’s waterfront that reminded me of the cross on the St. Lawerence River and El Cristo Rey in Cali, Colombia. It was huge and rustic and was stuck in the center of their peninsula. I was grateful for it and it’s unexpected appearance. It was like I was being sent the message, “Hey, remember me? Remember the suffering I went through? I KNOW what you all are experiencing.” That was a good reminder to continue to hope regardless of the daily news.

A major concern of mine has been my older ladies in a retirement community. They cannot go anywhere or visit one another. All activities and meals are cancelled. They cannot have visitors less immediate family. This virus has given even more loneliness to people who were already dealing with health issues AND loneliness. I call and send flowers (with MD approval) but that’s all I can do. It seems insult upon injury for them.

My home on the other hand is the opposite. I have everyone home all at once on what feels like an extended summer with endless dishes and laundry. I pine for peace and quiet yet know this is not forever. It is a moment in time in history. We will all remember it vividly as everyone and everything seems impacted.

We all are getting weary and restless. Someone today posted that if anyone was wondering, today is “March 97th.” That is absolutely what it feels like. And tomorrow is the beginning of a new month. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if someone could say April Fools! It’s all fake news and not really happening! I’d probably drop dead like the man on the Twilight Zone episode where his friends had him arrested for some unknown crime as a ploy to deliver him to his surprise party. He dropped dead in the doorway when everyone yelled, “Surprise!”

The Corona Millennia

I sit alone in my room listening to my adult sons dart like missiles through my home. College is out early so we are all here inside. Unfortunately, I’ve been sick for two days unable to leave my bed. My head is pounding and my eyes are pulsating out my head. I don’t know what I have and can only guess.

My daughter came home early from Colombia with a cold. Another son flew home from skiing with a cough. I stayed in bed almost 3 days before I had energy to even shower. Is it Coronavirus? Is it just a bad cold or a virus? I certainly won’t go to the doctor to find out, that’s for sure.

It’s surreal that only last Saturday I was out running errands and a shop keeper lamented the way this was “blown out of proportion.” It’s shocking how wrong that statement was. The WORLD- not just my city, my state, or my country are being ravaged by an invisible foe. We are at war and the militia are our healthcare workers.

As I lie in bed staring at the midnight ceiling, I thought about how much has happened so early in the new millennia: The 9/11 attack in 2001; Hurricane Katrina in 2005; the Recession in 2008; more financially devastating hurricanes followed; the California wildfires of 2019; and now the lightening-quick attack of a virulent giant we’ve never seen before. The history books will be the mirror of how we make out. Our grandchildren will hopefully know much more than we do and be better prepared. One can only hope.

Never in my wildest dreams would I believe my church would shut. Yet here we are. It’s nearly shameful to go anywhere less essential trips. How long will this last- weeks, months, who knows? The unknown is the hardest part.

The only way I know to get through the bleak unknown is to lean on what I DO know. I know that God is STILL GOD. Jesus is STILL HIS SON sent to redeem us all. Peace is to be had DESPITE our circumstances. People are also mostly good. I’ve seen so much goodness on social media that I’m thankful I didn’t give it up for Lent!

One day this storm will pass. We will reflect on it as our grandparents do the Depression or World War II. We will say what we did to bide our time and probably share bizarre, humorous stories. Hopefully, we will rebound stronger, kinder, and able to remember what truly matters.