Faith, joy, pandemic

April 5, 2020

I wrote these words on my Facebook page a year ago today, almost a month into the pandemic. Yesterday, I hugged my fully vaccinated sister for the first time in over a year. I hugged my nieces and nephews. We celebrated Easter and things felt more normal than they had felt in a long time.

But I think it’s important to remember how April 2020 felt. I remember thinking that I would never take for granted a hug from a friend or worshipping in person at church. So far I have not. I can’t express in words what it felt like to hug my friends at church yesterday. Vaccinations and masks have allowed us all a lot more freedom than we had last year and I’m so grateful.

The reality that we would spend Easter worshipping from our living room had set in on April 5, 2020. And I was amazed that our lilac bush had bloomed earlier than ever before.

This is going to be long… but I process things through writing, and honestly I want to be able to read this in the future and remember. So, feel free to scroll on. This is for me 🙂.

It’s been 25 days since I last visited a public place. My neurologist has me on strict orders to only go to work and keep my distance from all people. No public stores, gas stations, etc. Thankful for clicklist and a husband who makes grocery trips for us.

Both kids are homeschooling. Daniel is finishing up his final classes at CU before graduating. Diploma will come in the mail in May, but ceremony won’t happen until hopefully August. His graduation announcements are sitting by the door… not sure when to mail them out. Bethany is missing her friends and dance terribly, but is impressing us with how she’s keeping up with class work and dance.

Brian has spent the last week on furlough and is preparing to go back to work tomorrow. They have divided the staff into different teams to limit cross-contamination between employees and to limit the number that would have to be quarantined when someone becomes sick. So he will work this week and then be furloughed again the next week. It’s brilliant management and we are so thankful for this. His work instructions for this week: leave wedding ring at home, bring a change of clothes and a laundry bag to put scrubs in. Leave shoes in car and drop laundry bag directly in washer when he gets home. Then shower before touching or talking to anyone. This is the instruction given to all Norton employees. The virus lives on everything.

I’m continuing to go into the office to work. My doctor has given the approval so I will continue to go as long as it feels safe to do so. I am considered “high risk”, but not as “high risk” as other MS friends. My work load has significantly increased as we are brainstorming the best ways to support our team and make their jobs easier and safer. If nothing else, I pray I’m able to give a smile and brighten their day. Many folks wear their worry on their sweet faces. They have high risk spouses at home and they are on the front lines, making sure our customers have clean water and working sewer. It’s often a thankless job so I want them to know just how thankful I am for them each of them.

Our days are filled with many ups and downs. We find joy in long walks, singing, The Office, movie marathons, TikToks, and communicating with our loved ones over various technology. When things settle down and get quiet, the worries creep in. I love Jesus. I have faith that this will all work for His good. But I also know we are going to lose a lot of people. And selfishly I’m praying it’s not any of MY people. Not my family. Not my church family. Not my MS running team or my MS friends. Not my co-workers. Not my friends.

Our podcast is on hold. I have always wanted the blog and our podcast to be a place of JOY. And right now, I’m struggling with content that both acknowledges what’s happening and puts a spin of joy on it. This is so scary. For my MS friends and my friends and family over 60, this is life and death.

I miss my family. We have cancelled my nieces birthday party and our annual family Easter party. We are waiting to hear if our vacation in June will have to be cancelled.

But every day, I focus on what is constant and what is true. Every day the sun rises and sets. The spring flowers are blooming right on time and I don’t think I can remember a prettier spring. Thank you, LORD, for that. My family and my friends and I have never been closer. Even though we can’t be together, our love and care for one another has never been stronger. I’m so thankful for this. And Jesus. This is the beginning of Holy Week and I’m reminded that He left the 99 to come looking for me. That He loves me, that He loves all of us. And that He will work all of this for His Good. I’m clinging to that.

So. If you need to post something silly and joyful today, DO THAT!! We all need that. But if you need to cry, and write your feelings, that’s okay too. We have never, ever done this before. Give yourself and others plenty of grace.

This will not last forever. Someday this will be a story we will get to tell our grandchildren. And I really do believe we can come out as better people on the other side of this. I love my people. And I pray we all walk into this new week with renewed grace and patience for each other.

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