In my last blog, I said I would share anything you sent about how you’re doing so that we could all feel a little less isolated. Here are your responses:
I did get out in the fresh air and sunshine the last 2 days and mow the pastures. That was awesome. It was chilly—50 degree weather, but I bundled up and enjoyed it…Derek [her grown son] has continued to shop for me as he has done since my stroke. I gave him a list of things we needed from Costco this past week, so he has gone 3 times and the lines are so long and no parking places in the whole block so he’s come back here empty-handed each time because he doesn’t have time to stand in line before he goes to work. But we’re getting by okay.
We put on hold our travel plans and are at our home base in Louisiana until the dust settles! For us, we are reminded of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Our community grew stronger as a result of this catastrophe! I see the same happening now! With all the advancements in technology, we’ve not missed a single worship service! God’s at work! To Him be the glory!
Capi (a church office administrator):
Just went to the church to post the “building is closed” sign for CoVid-19. Don’t have a reopen date but did get the building cleaned yesterday so if people will just stay out, there ought not to be any virus germs alive in the whole dern place… Then there is this issue with spring allergies so there are all the sneezers and runny noses and throats to boot and everyone is scared — well not everyone — I just stocked up on BOOKS!
Yesterday we went on a hike a little east of Hood River called the Mosier Plateau Trail. Now, I figured plateau meant flat, like my chest, but this hike was really uphill! And it was very rocky, so it was challenging for me. It was only three miles but took me 1 hour and 40 minutes. Craig can walk so much faster. He’s very patient to let me hike with him. My asthma has been kicking up, so sometimes I’m a little out of breath just sitting, so I was breathing really hard on this hike! Ha! I think I’ll look for a hike around a nice, flat lake. 🙂
Donna (my mother):
Yesterday afternoon Jean from across the street called and asked if I wanted to walk in the neighborhood with her. When I walked out the door I saw she was standing in a gaggle of 3 others so I joined the crowd. My 55-year-old next-door neighbor was one of them and it was the first time I’d seen her since the day she moved in. She’s the, what we used to call, airplane stewardess. Is it attendant? I forget. . . She was flying out that evening. The young gal [Mom lives in a senior living community, so 55 seems young!], Jeanette, was entertaining us with her airplane-coronavirus stories. She’s quite a kick, very animated and “up-front and out-with-it” with people with whom she doesn’t care for their behavior, like when they try to touch her on the plane, or in the supermarket when they have 2 shopping carts heaped with items other people need. The other two live next door to Jean, and he [the husband?] had just bought a fixer-upper vehicle and we were looking at how much work it’s going to be (bodywork) to get it drivable. The couple are immigrants from Iran, and very nice. Jean and I walked a short way around the blocks and on our return to our street, a lady who’s name begins with “M” which has slipped me just now was out in her garage sitting in her makeshift art studio framing one of her beautiful paintings so we stopped and visited with her for half an hour or so. So fun . . . I’m going to call my next-door neighbor, Phyllis, today to see how she’s doing.
I received a post from one of my former library school classmates who lives in Japan:
Down here in Saiki, we feel pretty isolated from the rest of the world, and although schools and public facilities are closed, events are canceled and fewer people are out and about, life continues as usual. Apparently, the situation here mirrors the rest of the country. [Japan has had a low rate of coronavirus cases and hasn’t felt much need for caution.] A few weeks ago there was a run on TP, paper towels and tissue, but the stores have since been restocked. Masks, hand sanitizer, and rubbing alcohol are still impossible to find anywhere, though. In fact, many people seem confident that Japan has been spared. I don’t share their optimism and am being cautious.
Mark and me:
I wasn’t sure what to expect when Pastor Adam asked Mark and me to meet and greet at church today. During the week, he showed Mark how to operate the sound and video system and he left written instructions in case Mark forgot. Adam had put out a notice to the church that he was going to broadcast online for those who wanted to watch from home, and for any who still wanted to come to the church, the service would start at 10:00. Our usual service is at 9:30, so sure enough, one older member came and knocked on our door at 9:30 wondering why the church wasn’t open.
Even with the written instructions, Mark had trouble with the audio/visual machine. The visual wasn’t showing on the monitor where he was operating the program, so I had to stand up next to the screen and tell him where his cursor was and where to click. We probably should have been testing the system out early, but we were only ten minutes late starting the service. There were four of us including Mark and me!
It was pretty cool. The pastor and his wife sang some worship songs we are familiar with as the words were put up on the screen. Adam had pre-recorded his sermon in the church library this week. He was talking about the passage in Luke 7 where the centurion sent the Jewish elders to ask Jesus to come and heal his servant who was dying. As Jesus came, the centurion sent some men from his house to tell Jesus that he wasn’t worthy to have Him under his roof and that if Jesus would just speak the word, his servant would be healed. I have always been a little confused by the centurion saying that he had the authority to tell men to go do something and they went, or to do this and they did it. Adam said that basically the centurion was saying, “I know You. I know under Whose authority You are and I know over what You have authority.” Jesus was amazed and said He hadn’t seen that kind of faith in all Israel. Indeed, in chapter 6, Jesus was challenged by the Pharisees because He had let His disciples pick grain and harvest it on the Sabbath, and also, He had healed a man on the Sabbath. They didn’t understand that He had the authority to do that.
In all of the upset of our lives and lifestyles these days, I think Adam was saying that we need to remind ourselves Who is in charge. He loves us, just as the centurion loved his servant, and when we know there’s nothing we can do to help ourselves, we are in a good place to remember Who can help us.
Today, I am grateful for the wide-open world that God created so that we don’t have to just isolate ourselves at home. We may have to distance ourselves from others, but we need never distance ourselves from God. Technology has made it possible for the Word of God to be proclaimed so that try as he might, the enemy cannot silence it. I was glad to hear that folks in my mother’s community are checking in on each other.
I want to end with words from an old Neil Diamond song:
I said brothers,
(Hallelujah) Now you got yourself two good hands
(Halle-hallelujah) And when your brother is troubled,
You gotta reach out your one hand for him
(Hallelujah) ‘Cause that’s what it’s there for.
(Halle-hallelujah) And when your heart is troubled,
You gotta reach out your other hand
(Hallelujah) Reach it out to the Man up there
(Halle-hallelujah) ‘Cause that’s what He’s there for.
Take my hand in Yours
Walk with me this day
In my heart, I know
I will never stray.