Good morning. How are you this morning? We live in a strange new world, don’t we?
After spending my life as a child, young person and adult surrounded by people, now to be separate from those you care for and love is certainly difficult.
When I began my college years, I started to question the meaning of my life. Up until that time, I was my parent’s child in a loving home not thinking much about my own future. It was hoped that I would follow my father into dentistry, but the sciences and I had little in common. Not enjoying math, most of my time was spent in reading and English literature. As days and weeks passed in college, I came to believe the most important pursuit in life was helping and being with people. Teaching was what I thought I wished to pursue; little did I think my love of people would lead me into the Christian ministry. It was in college that I came to believe God wanted me to serve. Still loving to be with people, retirement and the pandemic have been difficult for me to accept. However, I am grateful that Dale and I have sought to keep up with technology so we are able to be with people on Facetime and Zoom; yet that is certainly not like being with someone physically. In this new time, we have found that certain relationships have grown stronger even though we are unable to be physically present with our friends and family over a meal or a visit to one another.
Two weeks ago, Dale took our dog Molly out to play with a toy Molly loves. It is a fishing pole with a stuffed squirrel on the end of it. You can make the squirrel jump and leap, and Molly loves to catch that dancing stuffed creature and hold it under her paws and chomp it a bit with her mouth as dogs do. Well, Molly missed the squirrel but did not miss Dale. Dale went head over heels onto the ground. For nine days, Dale did not see a doctor, timid under the present circumstances, when she was finally convinced she should see her physician, it was found she had broken the smaller bone in her leg. For nine days, she had walked on a broken leg. Now we have a problem, who is going to exercise Molly. I do not walk Molly for I have a difficult time walking for any distance. We take Molly two days a week to doggie day care and she comes home tired having played all day. But what about the other days of the week? That is where kindness during this time is so important and a great blessing.
Through the kindness of our day care facility, we were able to have Molly go for three days a week. That is through the kindness of Bo and Melissa at Peace and Paws. Then a member of the church we attend, a true wonderful farming couple, also take Molly for a walk. Brad brings us flour and eggs, and Anne walks Molly. How wonderful is that!
Our grandson Ben comes and also walks Molly sometimes alone and sometimes with his girlfriend, Christina. At first Molly was hesitant around Ben, but you should see her greet him now it is like her tail is going to come flying off.
Ben’s sister, our granddaughter, did shopping for us and Mark, our son-in-law, comes and brings our rubbish to the recycle center. That was and is truly difficult for me to do and I sigh a sigh of relief every time Mark comes on Saturday to take away our bags for recycling. We may have to practice distancing but love for each other finds a way through that distance.
How important it is for all of us to remember each other in this time and, hopefully, beyond. A telephone call or face time can mean so much. I have mentioned Maddie before she is our eleven-year-old granddaughter. Well our granddaughter has become much closer to her nana and grandpa since we have had to remain in our homes. I look forward to that strange face time buzz on my phone that tells me Maddie is ready to read. We are reading from the Tales of Narnia. I am so proud of how well Maddie can read and pronounce and sound out words she does not know. Not only that, it is so much fun to be with her. She takes me to see her cat, Oscar, and her fish, Rosie, and her fluffy rabbit. I find it hard to believe that she is so skilled in modern technology. She can show me herself leaping on her trampoline or setting up her robotic vacuum. In fact, I was so impressed with her vacuum that I ordered one for Dale -please excuse me – for Mother’s Day. I know that is not a great gift for a mother – but – but – my budget is now limited, and Dale works to keep ahead of Molly’s fur, so I think this is an appropriate gift. The gift was thanks to my watching my granddaughter using the vacuum and then cleaning it out. “Gross,” she said, “all that hair from Oscar.”
One of the things that delights me most is Dale’s cooking with Maddie. They do this over their iPads. The first item they made was a lemon pudding cake. It came out delicious, so Dale and Maddie said. Next, they made muffins, both blueberry and chocolate chip; chocolate chip are my favorite. Their next adventure is to be this week when they are going to make a dinner and a dessert. Now would that have happened if Maddie had not had her schooling in a classroom taken away by this miserable virus?
How true it is in our life that when we are in dark and dismal times, we need to reach out in love to each other. We must do that for so many around us are having financial troubles or illness and even death. One of the most difficult parts of this pandemic is the isolation of our loved ones in rehabilitation or nursing homes or those who are in the hospital. How difficult it is when you cannot even visit an ill husband or wife, father or mother, or a loved one in your family who is hospitalized. How difficult it is for there to be a death of a loved one and not be able to attend the funeral service or hug those who mourn. No – we desperately need to be there for each other through technology, or even by letter.
Both my sister, who is now home, and my brother, who is still in rehabilitation, could not have a family member visit them during their recuperation time. I texted and talked with my sister and her family, and I seek to call my brother every day. I’m no saint – you who know me know that is true – but I try to be a thoughtful and loving person. That is what our Lord Jesus teaches us. It is not in our great deeds that we will find our salvation, but in the small ways we show love to those who need a loving friend.
Like you, I long to hug those I love in my life – but for now it must be an enfolding of our spirits around each other. We can do that – make sure that you talk with someone today who needs your love and support. I promise I will do the same. We do this because God loves us, and we love God and our neighbor, too. God bless you my friend. In Christian love – retired but always a pastor – ken.
May Jesus place his arms around you. I will walk with you again next week. “ And now may the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other.”