This current worldwide crisis has both inspired me to write and constrained me from writing.
There is so much to say but I’m not sure most folks would understand.
Suddenly everyone is living a life they would not have chosen and for most, a life they couldn’t have imagined. But eventually most will resume the life they once had.
Things will return to normal. Kids in school, parents working, social distancing a thing of the past.
But some will never again know the life they had before this virus made its way across the globe. Someone or several someones they love will be snatched from the here and now and transferred to the hereafter.
So what if I’m not rescued?
What if my family isn’t spared?
What if all the faithful prayers lifted on behalf of ones I love don’t stop death from claiming them?
Will I still believe?
Will I still trust that God is a loving Father who is in control and working all things together for His glory and my good?
That was precisely the question before Jerusalem’s Jewish citizens on Palm Sunday and the week that followed. Jesus entered the city to shouts of “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”.
The faithful lined the streets and believed the Messiah had come to rescue them from the tyrannical rule and reign of not only irreligious Gentiles but corrupt leaders within the Hebrew hierarchy.
It didn’t take long for them to give up hope and call for His crucifixion.
He didn’t live up to their expectations. He didn’t act according to their timetable. He didn’t rescue them from persecution and suffering.
So they discarded Him.
Six years ago I woke to Palm Sunday wondering why my family wasn’t spared,why my son wasn’t rescued, why death had crossed our threshold and taken up residence in our home.
I had to decide if Jesus was Lord of all or if He was Lord at all.
I came face to face with the fact that God doesn’t need my permission to run the world according to His will. He doesn’t require my consent to do (or not do) anything.
But a God that needs my approval is no God at all.
I went to church that Palm Sunday, lifted my hands and voice in spite of my broken heart because I knew Jesus had not abandoned us.
Child loss has changed me in ways that continue to unfold even years later.
As pandemic and panic sweep the world, my heart has been both more anxious and less anxious at precisely the same moment.
I’ve experienced more generalized dread and unease fed by media frenzy, friends’ posts and comments and the other-worldly photos of empty streets in big cities and families hanging out balcony windows in Italy and Spain.
Trauma from sudden death has left its mark and societal panic is is ripping open the wound.
The thin layer that protects my heart most days is wearing thinner.
When the thing you think won’t happen DOES happen, you simply can’t find solace in platitudes or pithy prayers or puny human promises that “every little thing will be all right”.
In a perverse twist, knowing the worst HAS happened, makes me less apprehensive about the future.
I’ve given up the idea that protection is guaranteed by doing all the right things or following all the rules or obeying every law.
Oh, we still do all that!
We are washing our hands, practicing social distancing and limiting necessary trips to anywhere. But my faith is not in any of those things to necessarily keep this silent, creeping evil from my doorstep.
Some might call it defeatist.
I call it reality.
The hours of each day are filled balancing these two opposite but very much connected feelings. Sometimes I want to crawl out of my skin or run as far and as fast as I can. Sometimes I just sit, waiting for whatever might happen TO happen.
The anniversary of Dominic’s death is less than two weeks away so all THIS is layered on top of THAT.
Honestly, it’s exhausting and I wake most mornings already worn out.
Almost six years has taught me the world doesn’t stop spinning and the rising sun won’t wait.
I don’t often pull the “you never know if today may be the last day for someone you love” card.
But I’m going to do it now.
People. Just stop.
Your need for a latte does not trump the necessity to stay away from potential sources of infection. Your need to socialize with friends because you “just can’t stand to sit inside one more minute” is not an excuse for ignoring requests from health care professionals to stay home.
Your careless and carefree attitude is putting others at risk.
It’s entirely possible that if or when you contract Covid19 it’s no more than a miserable two weeks. But it’s also entirely possible that the person you give it to might die.
Trust me, you don’t want to be the one who brought it home to your mama, your daddy, your spouse or your child.
There is nothing easy about watching someone you love suffer. It’s even harder to be forbidden from sitting next to his or her bedside, holding a hand, wiping a fevered forehead.
Dominic died almost six years ago. It is no easier on my heart this minute than it was then.
This is not a joke, not overblown, not a government conspiracy or a hoax perpetrated by whomever you think might do such a thing.
Do you love your family and friends?
REALLY love them?
If you do, thenSTAY HOME!
For those of you (like two of my children) who perform essential work during this crisis, thank you.
And may God place a hedgeof protection around you and those you love.