“This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad.” Such beautiful words from the Psalmist. But is there anything to rejoice about, you ask? Good question. Trust God. He is at work.
The other night I went to bed and my heart was heavy. The tally of virus victims worldwide kept rising. News from Italy was bad. Here at home we lost several front-liners who risked themselves to save lives and lost their own. These brave souls passed on from this troubled world into one of peace and joy. And the country, the world, has new heroes.
A friend called and shared her thoughts. “It’s not fair. They were fighting so gallantly. It isn’t like they were done with their mission. The fight still rages.” Then she went into a monologue, as if talking to herself: “The hospitals are overflowing with sick people. Why them? If you think about it, those of us who stand ready to ‘cross the bar’ and don’t have a fight left in our souls are quite expendable. Why destroy our best line of defense, Lord?”
And I flinched at the impact of her words. How presumptuous and typical of us to try and tell God what to do and how to do it.
A line from the Book of Esther came to mind. And I respectfully but loosely paraphrased and said, “Maybe the Lord meant for us to be here, ‘for such a time as this.’ Maybe we still have work to do.” She was quiet.
Thanks to technology, I have been in touch with family across the world. My daughter in Florida has closed her salon. Her husband works from home, as does everyone else who had an office job. Her youngest daughter is in college online. Her eldest is newly married and the husband is a nurse. And my heart aches at the thought.
My grand-and great-grandkids in Seattle and the West Coast are doing school and work online. Over there, they call it “shelter in place,” and this is now the mantra all over the United States. I am pleading with friends and family to please take it seriously, and stay home. They are not on lockdown. Not yet.
I believe everyone should have a sense of urgency. Not panic, no, although it seems rather easy to slip into that. I have to stop myself from getting morbid and depressing ideas, or inflicting them on others. I try to concentrate on hopeful and cheerful thoughts, if only to raise my level of optimism.
But I am uncomfortable with the “rah rah reassurances” of US President Donald Trump who wants to reopen America on Easter Sunday. Some people around him are not in full agreement. They look at the facts and statistics and shake their heads. Some say it is wishful thinking.
With all my heart I pray he is right.
Each one of us wants to grasp at any vestige of hope, the proverbial straw in the wind that may bring us some relief for our anxieties, no matter how foolish or fabricated these may be.
But it is also imperative to get real.
We were in a similar stupor or state of denial not too long ago. Shortly before our Luzon lockdown, we were making light of masks. We had some left over from the panic of Taal. We figured we’d just wear the masks and stop kissing and hugging. When experts said that masks didn’t work against the virus, we put them on standby, in case someone sneezed in our direction.
Soon we started running out of alcohol in the stores. I still don’t understand that run for toilet paper.
And then “it” hit the fan.
And here we are today, now on our third week in lockdown. It is finally sinking in that this is not moro-moro. This is not a political trick. No, this is not the work of terrorists, although yes, there is terror all around.
The name of God is on the lips of many today. Prayers and passages from the Bible have largely taken the place of gossip and bashing in social media. Not all of it, but it’s a start. Why, there was even a presidential address without a single cuss word. It was in fact, an appeal for prayer.
God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.
Life in my ‘casita’
There’s an air of Christmas in our home. We have put up our star parol and red buntings to celebrate our front-liners. I invite you to do the same.
My day starts early. I have coffee downstairs by the window. I watch birds come and go chirping happily, as if all were right with the world. My twins and I live under one roof. Social distancing is strict. But they drop in to see me, every day, for a quick “Hi, Mom.” And I love it.
In the afternoon the music starts. Across the lanai I watch my son, the singer/entertainer whose mission for the last 37 years has been to make people happy, fall in love, make them laugh and lift their spirits. With his most loyal fan and twin sister at his side he goes “live, online,” and sings his heart out.
This is his front line.
As it is for every artist who has created his own platform to virtually reach out to the world and say, “We are all in this together.”
At my age, and at this stage of my life, I am awed. Inspired. Grateful.