Families are forced to stay home, and be with each other. What an invaluable gift.
|So quiet, no one on the road. My husband and I drove to my daughter's house to do shopping for my Mom who lives there, and to visit my daughter and my grandkids. There was no traffic along the way. I noticed all the cars parked in driveways. The thought occured to me- This is what America used to look like on Sundays when I was a kid, when businesses and banks were closed, and God and family came first.
My daughter Joy hasn't had any time off in months. Today, when we drove up, she was outside, with her 4 year-old daughter Lavender, holding a large piece of cardboard. Lavender turned around the cardboard to show us the alphabet written in large black Sharpie marker on it. Lavi was beaming with excitement. After the greetings and hugs, Our granddaugters went to swing on the wooden swing overlooking the yard.
"Lavi, What are you doing?"
I'm just swinging in this swing, eating orange slices, relaxing, and enjoying the sunshine Grandma!", Lavender replied, sounding like an old soul, with Her big sister Luna beside her.
I was always telling my daughter to cherish the kids, this time, because it goes by in a flash. Like many of us, She got busy, overworked, distracted with life and the daily grind. Worrying about money, their bills, raising three kids. And like me and her Dad, she got sidelined by worry, lost the enjoyment of the simplicity of just being, breathing and relaxing in the company of those we love, especially our family. Today, my grandkids were beaming as if Heaven itself had come down, and in way it had, Mom and Dad were home all day at the same time, and they were doing wonderful, little things with such joy!
For the longest time, Our granddaughters were begging to stay with me and their PopPop, as we have the "Fun" house, and always make time for our grandkids. Their home had two working parents, who were often too tired or busy to just enjoy each other, Working to provide the important necessities of life. I know, and so does my husband, We've been there. My husband worked a full-time job and a part-time job for many years, coming home to sleep, eat, and be off to work. I missed him, I craved his nearness I was lonely for him, even though I was raising our kids. I often felt like a single parent. The family unit both benefitted financially ,and suffered emotionally from my husband's abscence. He became so accustomed to being apart from us , that he struggled to be a husband and father when he was home. I know what I went through and how my kids were so happy when their dad had time off.
I worked as well, and it was always a tightrope balancing act to find time to connect. For the most part I was home when they were babies and very young kids. And even when I worked, it was in a Christian school and daycare where my kids were just a couple rooms away from me, peeking in on them at breaks throughout the day. It wasn't until they were a little older that I took jobs where I didn't see them all day.
A few months ago while out shopping alone, I was having a tough time navigating the parking lot, In intense pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis and a horrible flare of the disease. Stress makes it worse, and my youngest was also in the ICU dying. There I was, limping with a shopping cart, alone, my hands, arms, shoulders, legs, spine all in agony. I couldn't return the grocery cart to the stall due to needing it lean on to walk and get to my car as I couldn't manage a shopping cart and a walker. as I was alone. I left the cart in the generous space between the two handicap parking spots. As I was about to leave my spot, a young man and a rough and rude older woman perhaps his mother, started yelling obscenities and insults, In so doing, they added to what was already a very trying day. It seemed to be the norm lately, people all about themselves, so offended by the idea that they have to share the planet, let alone a parking lot.
Flash-forward after the outbreak of Corona, I am in the same parking lot, and as I was struggling to get in the van, I noticed man who came up and was quietly and patiently waiting for me to get in my vehicle so he could get into his car,
"Oh! I'm sorry, I didn't see you there", I said. Feeling guilty for taking up moments of his time.
"No problem. Take your time.", he said, smiling.
What a foreign thing that was, for up until lately, I was confronting people who were emotionally triggered, self-centered, and just plain rude. It was so refreshing to see come in contect with a kind person, they are becoming a rare thing.
Has the recent COVID situation made people stop, see their fellow man with kinder, more compassionate eyes, and even appreciative eyes? I believe so. I think God takes situations the enemy wants to use to divide and destroy us, and he uses those situations to bring light and life and hope.
Children are home from school with many parents unaccustomed to being stay at home parents. While they face a drop in income, in the long run, this could very well be a precious time of precious memories. Just like in the Depression, when the home fires of families and the comfort of being together made it seem more bearable and brighter, People today are finding each other. The frenetic pace, of heads downcast while texting has subsided some. There's no hurry to be anywhere, Just to be.
My 73 year-old Mother is having hard time coping with her loss of independance and movility due to a crippling Rheumatoid Arthritis, which I am battling as well. Rather than being thankful my daughter and son-in-law offered her a room in their home, she has complained about everything. I keep telling her thing like, "Mom, you had to move in with family because you cannot care for yourself. Do you know how lucky you are to have me and other family willing to care for you? What a blessing it is to se your grandkids and great grandkids every day?" After speaking some tough love to her, I've noticed a little less complaining from her. Her addiction to compulsively money has been curbed by the lockdown imposed under COVID prevention. She refused to belive there was a limit to buying things and somethings were not even in stock. She has become so disconnected socially, and doesn't even use a computer. Youtube and conservative radio news are her thing.
Don't get me wrong, I love my Mother. But she has been a very difficult person to be around, and kind of a toxic narcissist. She struggles with being rather controlling and manipulative. She resents not being able to be the iron-fisted, controlling woman I grew up with. She has some great qualities too. Thankfully, she does not use a computer. She has been in a type of quarantine, forced to live in someone else's home with her family. and she wanted to go live in a nursing home for prinacy, i told her she was nuts. Had she gone to a nursing home, she could very well have contracted CORONA and died. I told her this. I told her to give thanks for her living situation,which is nice, and those around her who love her.
My oldest son has mild cerebral palsy and Autism, and he said that he became aware how isolated he is when people under CORONA lockdown described their daily life to be what he lives as everydai life. I keep nudging him to get out, go to church, but people with autism find comfort in being socially distant. Which is what they promote now under this proclaimed pandemic. It has made my son pause and reflect on his life.
My youngest son lives with me and my husband as well. He works in, of all things a grocery store. It has been a sobering experience to see the things I spoke of in the End Times playing out in grocery stores, He is currently on the fence about bekieving in Jesus Christ, and this recent world scenario has him rather innerved. So I thank God for that. I speak about the love and peace of Jesus, His goodness and mercy. I speak the Word of God in tidbits to encourage and bring hope to my boys as often as I can without going overboard as some do, which just makes some people turn off their ears. But lately, my Sons have been asking me more about the Lord, I have shared the salvation of Jesus Christ, they know I am always here to speak with them. God is moving. I play sermons on Youtube on the living room TV so they hear the Word and testimony of the goodness of Jesus from others as well.
My husband is the first one to rise most days, he makes my coffee. It's a trade-off, as I cook all the meals. I get used to him being here, But I've been thinking more lately, It is a gift, tomorrow could be our last time together, There are no guarantees, And while I live for the hope in Christ, life has it's downturns. I've lost both sisters recently and life has become even more precious to me. So even my husband's mornimg cup of coffee to me is a precious affirmation of his love.
So even if this time of carefulness and lockdown only lasts a short time, I hope during this time, families fall in love with each other again, that hugs happen, smiles and giggles abound, and people connect as families should. The outward attack upon the family unit has taken a constant hit, and maybe this is God's way of strengthening it, even if it happens during a pandemic. Perhaps we are being made stronger for something even more challenging in the near future?
There is joy in connecting through the mundane and little events of stay at home time. I see my daughter being a full-time mom again, if only for a couple weeks, and my heart rejoices for her. And I think, Isn't this what life is supposed to be about? About people. Life is people. Family are the most precious people. It's a shame that it takes a tragic pandemic to make people remember what counts. And while "social distancing" is being promoted , I think perhaps we've had too much disconnected and socially distant society. So let's enjoy this time of imposed isolation , and use it to fall in love with our neglected families all over again, and grow closer than ever before.