Sunday, March 8… 65 degrees and sunshine brings lots of people to the lake. I waited until 4 PM so I had a little time with my husband before he left for work, and then we loaded the bikes and the girls for our first round of Shawnee Park this year. Judging by the state of the parking lot, a lot of other people had the same idea, but it’s very quiet in our favorite spot by the dam. There are spring peepers and seagulls and soft rocks washed into roundness on the shore. The whole world is full of wonder, waking, opening petals to the sunshine. It’s the miracle we wait for every year, our hearts expanding with the joy of living.
March 13… We are nearly halfway through this month and it just keeps getting better and the world just keeps getting worse. I know many healthy people are scoffing about the fear-mongering that goes on with the coronavirus. I am not fearful about it, but I understand the fear. While I have a store room in my basement full of food we preserved and meat we butchered, I know that many do not have that to fall back on. Just putting myself in their shoes (a little imagination) helps me to be compassionate. It is a time to be kind and share, just like we always hoped we would be as Christ-followers in a time of mass panic.It is also a time to be kind and not share. Germs, that is. Before you shake your head and walk away, consider that your impulsive response may be from the privilege of a healthy person. I am far from a germaphobe: I let my children get extremely dirty and play with animals and do wild and free things. But I also take them home from places where people who are obviously sick are hanging out. I once sat behind a person at an event and she was streaming out of her eyes and nose with a cold, mopping it up with a roll of toilet paper. After she produced a few explosive sneezes, I quietly moved to a spot far away. I have taken my children home from church when it became obvious that there were sick people sitting there. This is not because we didn’t want to be in church, but because I know what that sickness can do to a medically fragile person and I’d rather not face that. If you shrug off your germs and cough with abandon in public places, or go to Walmart with your kids who have chickenpox, or refuse to miss a concert even when you have a stomach bug, it is probably because you live the life of the privileged healthy person. Those who live with medical conditions on a daily basis do not begrudge you your status, but it is really helpful when you consider them as you go about your robustly normal life. I know covid19 can be a fear-mongering fest, but before you fume and complain too much, try to remember that you are part of a whole. Few live so solitary that their actions affect nobody, and if they do, they are to be pitied. If you know anyone who is fighting cancer, or anyone who carries an inhaler for asthma, or anyone who has ever been hospitalized for “routine illness,” then you know someone who deserves your consideration. Elisabeth Elliot said that Christian courtesy is “my life for yours”. It’s the pattern Jesus set, and it is the way of love. That’s all I have to say about that, I guess.