These are strange days. I don’t like them. And I am coming to loathe the terms coronavirus, Covid-19, shelter-in-place, lockdown, social distancing, no longer in business, projected death rate. I know we must each do all we can to stay well and respect the authorities. But while I comply with new rules and try to be patient, the independent 9th generation native Texan blood in my veins has me chomping at the bit for full freedom. Freedom we had just weeks ago before Fear took its place.
I have nothing to complain about. I realize how fortunate I am at the moment. So many are fighting cancer or have a child with special needs or battle mental health issues or live in an abusive situation or struggle with loneliness or the loss of a loved one. Those are serious concerns needing sustained prayer. But for this extraordinary season, currently without an end date, when I think of how our lives have changed in just three weeks, these are the things I miss.
I miss going to church for worship, fellowship, and nourishment for my soul. I miss going to the library, to the grocery store without a sanitation and social distancing wait, standing 6’ behind and 6’ ahead of the persons close to me. I miss a fully stocked store, and I marvel that those who for years have insisted we bring reusable bags now post signs telling us not to bring those same bags because they carry germs. (Don’t they carry germs in non-coronavirus times too?? ) I miss going to my hair salon and not having to re-schedule so many appointments on my calendar. I miss being able to stop by and visit my mother or my siblings. I miss taking my grandson to school. I miss being able to call my Dad who would surely have a brief but calming, very common sense word of encouragement for me in these strange days. You have your own list. We are all missing something (well, except for traffic, I don’t miss traffic.)
Yet there is much to be grateful for amidst the missing. I’m grateful to be alive to write this, able to express my frustration at this enemy illness that I personally have little control over. I’m grateful that my mom and sisters and I had that girls’ retreat when we did, just days before shelter-in-place (what I wouldn’t give now to be at the hotel playing games or back on that sunny afternoon at the Little Darlin’ crammed in a tiny photo booth. But don’t worry, I’m not going to post THAT picture here.) I’m grateful for technology to keep me in zoom- touch with my church family and enable me to continue my weekly Bible study group. I’m grateful for Christ who is “the same yesterday, today and forever.” I’m grateful for school teachers who make new ways of accountable learning available online and bring needed structure for young students. I’m grateful that I can pray for family members out of work or with incomes lowered and little ones’ time at home increased, for those with the virus and those at high risk working hard to fight it, including first responders like my brother. I’m grateful for the certainty that this pandemic will eventually pass.
A friend and former co-worker keeps a sign I like hanging above her desk: “I hate to spoil the ending, but everything is going to be okay.” Maybe not in the way we had hoped, maybe the new normal will not be my preference, but at some point this will all be over.
As the saying goes, I don’t know what the future holds but I do know The One who holds the future. Therefore I have hope. And so can you.