Sunday, March 22, 2020

March 22, 2020



coronavirus, thoughts on living, Gods peace


A fellow writer posted yesterday and asked us to share our stories. She asked us to share our coronavirus stories, that in doing so, we would read each others’ words and not feel so alone during this time of social isolation.

A week ago my boss asked us to practice social distancing - in an effort to keep people safe and healthy - without being socially distant.

Catching a theme here? Yeah, me too. So now, at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, I will write, and pray that God gives me the words to share what’s on my heart. Let’s begin shall we?

It’s early on Sunday, March 22nd, 2020 and I’m thinking back on this month. Just over three weeks ago I went to the NFL combine in Indianapolis. People were all around me, having fun, talking football, thinking of the future in rosy hues. It was a good day to be alive, spend time with friends, and to laugh at the snow.

On Tuesday, March 3rd, Our older daughter and I went to Fountain Square. An old neighborhood in Indianapolis that has seen a revitalization over the past 20 or so years. It is where my dad grew up in the 40’s and 50’s. We went duck pin bowling, bought chocolates, and browsed the vintage clothing shops. It was a windy but sunny day full of the promise of a coming spring. We laughed and danced.

On Friday, March 6th I went to work as usual, and then the girls and I attended the opening of an art exhibit celebrating diversity and inclusion through art. The future still looked bright and free.

On the following Monday, March 9th, my youngest daughter and I went to Indianapolis. We went to the Garfield Park Conservatory and photographed tropical flowers. Then we went to the City Market for a late lunch of NY style pizza. She had been wanting to go there for years, and since it was Spring Break, I made sure it happened. That afternoon marked our first real conversation about coronavirus (COVID-19) as we walked around downtown and talked about how we thought they would work to keep everyone safe for the Big 10 college basketball tournament. Later that week the tournament would be cancelled, along with every other major and minor sporting event across the US.

On Wednesday, March 11th my mom came over for lunch. It was nothing unusual, just the girls, grandma, and me. We had wanted to see her, and get her expert advice on a knitting project Arlene was doing. My mom is 77 years old and in good health - a situation I try to never take for granted. I know many people younger than her who struggle with a host of health challenges.

Thursday the 12th was a day for errands and grocery shopping. The lines were longer than usual. People were starting to talk a lot more about coronavirus - they were beginning to stock up - there was a tension in the air. The news from other countries was not good. People were getting infected and many were needing hospitalized. This was not just another round of seasonal flu. What would it be like here? This was the day the Big 10 tournament (and many others) was cancelled. Now it was getting real - affecting things close to home. The outlook was much less rosy than it had been just 4 days before. Had it only been four days (three really) since that Monday afternoon stroll around downtown Indianapolis?

I went to work on Friday, March 13th. Our regular solid cleaning routine had been ramped up even more. Not panic, just concern. We had less visitors than usual. I think the public was just waking up to the understanding that if the Big 10 tournament was cancelled, other things might be as well. At the end of the day we had an all-staff meeting. We found out that we would be closed to the public until at least the end of the month. There would be more details on Monday. Stay home tomorrow. I understood it - we are a museum. We let people learn through experiences - most of them hands-on. Earlier that afternoon we had heard that the Children’s Museum was closing. I, along with most of my co-workers, had figured we would not be far behind. It it was closed, and we hadn’t, we would have been inundated with children and they parents, way beyond even our normal capacity - and that would not have been good for the recommendation to keep a local distance to avoid spreading the virus.

This past week at our house had been different, and yet not. Our younger daughter was granted a second week of Spring Break wile her college figures out the logistics of switching to all online courses for the remained of the semester. Our older daughter had worked that weekend, worked again on Monday, had a shift cancelled, and then was told her employer would be closing - permanently.

Having the three of us home mid-week was not that unusual, other than the news about the virus. You see, we spent 16 years as a homeschooling family, from the first day of Kindergarten, to the last day of high school. That has prepared us for a lot of this “new normal” we are in right now. We know how to go for long walks in the woods each day to get our exercise, how to enjoy curling up with a good book, and how to bake up a storms’ worth of good treats.

But more importantly than all of that, we have faith in God and in Jesus Christ as our Savior. We know where to weather our storms. Being a Christian does not make this storm easier, but it does make it possible to hold on to hope int he midst of it. We have hope because we know the One who holds our tomorrows. He is the Alpha and the Omega - the beginning and the end. He knows our future. The same God who created the universe and named the stars knows my name. I am His beloved child.

Fear may be on a daily quest to try to undermine my peace, but it will not win. This peace I have has been hard-won and will not be surrendered. It has come as my faith has been tested and tried over and over again. I have been through the refiner’s fire over and over again - and I know that He is not done with me yet. There is still dross to remove. It is a life-long process, this refinement.

I do not fear the future. I used to. Then I finally came to understand that wavering back and forth across the line between faith and fear is too exhausting. I had to decide to go all in and trust God with everything: my marriage, our kids, mu job, my very life. I had nothing to lose. I was in a dark and painful place. I knew I could not thrive there, I was barely surviving there! So I let it all go. I had been reading a book about healthy spirituality and this line stood out to me as though it had been written in neon lettering in the sky ‘ a person with nothing left to lose becomes the most powerful person on earth.’

What did I have to lose? Nothing of value. I could see my life that I thought I had control of crumbling around me each day. I surrendered. For the first time I truly meant it with my whole heart when I prayer “Whatever, Lord.” Whatever He wanted to give, or take, or do - it had to be better than what I had - which was nothing.

So where does that past surrender leave me today, in the midst of a global pandemic? Safely in the arms of my loving Heavenly Father. Hands up and open wide. I can now close my eyes, stretch out my hands, open my should and connect with God in a deep and powerful way through the Holy Spirit that lives within me.

As we look tot he uncertain future we have many questions. Will the social distancing be enough to stop the spread? Will thousand more have to die, or will most recover? Will someone I know and love catch COVID-19, struggle to breathe, and possibly even die? I do not know any of these answers, but I do not need to. I know life had been hard, is hard, and will continue to be hard for many of my friends. Some of them know Jesus and have begun to receive His peace. Others do not know Him and have no peace, no real hope. I pray for them all.

My grandparents lived through WWI and WWII. They were a vastly different generation than what I see today. They might have worried, in fact I’m sure they did, but I think they did something that we lack today: they prayed. Then they trusted God to keep His word and they went on living, loving, and serving others. The trusted God to not forsake them, to give them comfort and hope. Perhaps they were made of sterner stuff than we are. They didn’t have google to answer all their questions - shoot - they’d only had the Dewey Decimal system for 35 years when WWI began. We struggle to imagine life without toilet paper, they struggled with not having food. We want to be over-informed on what is happening across the globe, and anxiety runs rampant because of it. They were under informed, and yet lived to tell us about it.

What lessons of faith did I learn from my grandparents that can help me during these challenging times? Perhaps they can help you too. I learned that you can always, always pray the Lord’s prayer - that His will would be done. I learned that family is important, and we should be quick to forgive others. I learned that God can be trusted - no matter what!

When I was 10 my grandfather died. My most vivid memory of that summer is from his funeral. During the eulogy, their pastor talked about how Dale trusted God. Someday, hopefully quite a ways into he future, I hope the same can be said of me at my passing, “Carol trusted God.”

I am praying for you to trust Him too.




2 comments:

  1. Thank you, Carol. Sharing experiences, impressions realizations and confirmations from this unprecedented time is a Wonderful idea!

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  2. Love this, Carol! God is still in control and the most important thing we can do to battle our fear is to trust him.

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