I don’t know how many days this sheltering-in has now been, but it has been a while. How are you doing? I am doing good. At first, I was extremely stressed. I have two sons, two daughters-in-law, one grandson, and one granddaughter living in California, and when the governor shut down the whole state, I was really stressed. I worried for their safety and their sanity! On the other hand, I have two more sons, two more daughters-in-law, one more grandson, and three more granddaughters, and a step son living in Missouri, in the St. Louis area, who I also worry about. Now that everyone there is also sheltered-in, I am a bit more at ease.
I remember when I was still working and talking to retirees, and they told me they didn’t know how they had time to work because they are so busy as a retiree. I feel the same way about being sheltered-in. I feel like I am busier than normal. Of course, I put that on me. I had decided that I needed things to keep me busy.
A few weeks before this sheltering-in started, I decided to make a quilt. I purchased all the fabric for the front and back. Unbeknownst to me, it was perfect timing. Therefore, I have that project going. I am also privileged to have been chosen to be an ambassador for John O’Leary’s new book, In Awe, and have been reading it, and going online with a Facebook Live book discussion with John and the other ambassadors. My husband is a hiking fanatic (I just like it), and so I make sure that at least three times a week I join him on the walking paths throughout our huge neighborhood or on the hiking paths at the San Tan Mountain Regional Park, which is only a five minute drive from our home.
On top of that, I am doing all the cooking and baking—no eating out. Since baking is a stress reliever for me, it brought great stress when I realized that I was short on flour and brown sugar. The store shelves have been void of any baking ingredients every time I have been there. Then I got a suggestion from a cousin that The Olive Mill in Queen Creek, AZ had flour. Really? I have been there several times since we have been in Arizona. It is near our home. This place has their own olive groves. They press oil of every flavor. They have a store that sells their olive oil, and other products, like pasta, wine, salsa, etc., all produced in Arizona. They also have a very busy restaurant and bakery. Usually when one goes there, the place is elbow to elbow with people. There are picnic tables outside along with the indoor seating, and it is a great place to have a meal with friends and family, and the kids can run around outdoors happily, Not so anymore. The other day Dennis and I decided to drop by, and lo and behold, there was not only flour, but milk, eggs, butter, yeast, sugar of all kinds. Why of course—they are not baking at this time, but they have a ton of ingredients, so they are happily selling it to us. The place was pretty much empty, as a few people were there shopping.
I realized that baking is a stress reliever for me, but having a ton of baked goods laying around, is not. Yesterday I washed up good, I scrubbed my kitchen, then wiped everything (counters, appliances, food packaging) with antiseptic wipes, and baked cookies. Then I bagged them up in zip lock bags that were labeled with the type of cookies in the bag. I put them in a double bagged plastic grocery bag and sent them across the street to my neighbor, who is a school teacher, and is now home schooling her two children. I sent her a text, and told her that when her doorbell rings, to get the treats from her porch. Later in the day, Dennis and I got in the car and drove to the home the cousin who gave me the tip where to buy my flour. She is also a school teacher, who is now home with her children. We did a drive-by cookie drop. I put the cookies at her front door, got in the car and called her to tell her the treats were awaiting at the door. As much as I would like to send some to other neighbors, they don’t know me as well, and may not trust all the scrubbing down I did to make the delivery of the baked goods safe.
Along with my reading “In Awe,” I have another book on my Kindle app on my phone. I recently discovered through my school teacher neighbor, that I could apply online for a library card in our county, and order online books. I received my card the other day, but will wait until I am finished with the books I have in progress, but am excited to start getting free library books online to read.
I have enjoyed all the fun people have had on social media to entertain us with funny memes and sharing funny videos about being sheltered-in. I have also enjoyed the Facebook broadcasts from the many churches that are sending out encouragement to us daily. It is good to know that we are all in this together, not just in the United States, but all over the world. It is good to hears songs of praise and hope, and messages of hope.
I spend my days texting friends and family to see how they are doing, especially those who I know live alone. I do believe it is important that we connect with others to bring them hope and cheer, for this time shall soon be over (I hope), but in the meantime, love needs to be spread in whatever way possible.
So there is hope. We have a loving God. He has gone before the Israelites as they wondered through the desert for years. Things got bad for them—they whined and complained—they even started worshipping idols—they were unfaithful to God. BUT . . . God was FAITHFUL. He protected them, and got them to the promised land. Was there some tragedies in between? Sure there were. Or move on many, many years, and the disciples who are the closest to Jesus got pretty squeamish themselves when Jesus was arrested and crucified. The disciples scattered—Peter denied he knew Jesus when asked by someone in the crowd. Are you kidding? He didn’t want to get arrested and who knows what—so, he denied he knew Jesus. BUT . . . Jesus didn’t abandon him. We humans seem to forget who is in charge when things look bleak to us. BUT . . . God is still faithful. We are so easy to take things for granted when life is easy, and so easy to forget who God is . . . until we are in trouble. Then all of a sudden we are brought to our knees and begging God for help. “Sometimes we don’t realize that Jesus is all we need until Jesus is all we have.”
In 1527, the Black Plague hit the hometown of Martin Luther. In a letter to a friend he wrote, “Use medicine; take potions which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor does not need your presence or has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city . . . What else is the epidemic but a fire which instead of consuming wood and straw devours life and body?” He also stated, “If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely. . . .”
So what does he say? If you are feeling sick, take your medicine or call the doctor. Be sure everything is clean—house, yard, and street—wash up (and wash your hands). Then he tells his friend to social distance himself. All the wisdom of the 16th century is still wisdom today!
So, my friends, keep yourself busy. Remember that God is in control. He loves us and he is faithful, even in our unfaithfulness. I look forward to when this is all behind us. What a celebration we will have — parties, barbecues, seeing our children and grandchildren again. If you need to talk to someone, make a phone call, send a text message or email. If you don’t know who to talk to, send me a note. We will get through this. I’ll be able to relax, and not be so busy!