Peculiar Situations and Strange Sights These Days

Many of us have surpassed the month (or longer) mark of residing nearly 24/7 within our respective homes. We are glued to the newscasts, read endlessly about COVID-19 and talk to family and friends who are essential workers. Despite our deep interest in what is occurring to the world at large, most of us are experiencing this bizarre historical occurrence in a quiet containment, wondering, questioning what is really happening. We are the fortunate ones.

There has been chaos in hospitals and nursing homes. They have been operating on 24/7 high alert. There was early confusion but orderly response. Thankfully, the infamous infection and death curve is flattening and the non-stop pace for healthcare workers is slowing. They have been soldiers at war. They deserve our respect and gratitude. They have sacrificed. 

There has been loss of family members and friends. The survivors of the virus and  survivors who are now without parents, children or grandparents do not want to hear you tell them that the flu kills more people annually than Coronavirus. 

21 million food and shelter providers known as ‘Mom and Dad’ have lost their jobs. No doubt, that number will increase.

These peculiar circumstances are accompanied by peculiar sights. Some are humorous. Some are unnerving. Here are a few strange sights and peculiar circumstances these days…

  • Swing sets without swings – to reduce the risk of sharing the virus.
  • Nets and rims removed from basketball courts to deter kids playing games.
  • Empty napkin aisles and paper towel aisles.
  • Empty meat counters at Wegmans.
  • My 401K.
  • Church on the laptop.
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  • More humorous sights include grown men wearing longer hair😄. When my 23-yr son complains about how awful his hair is, I remind him that when he was 15 yrs old, he thought his hockey-flow hair peeking out from the back of his hockey helmet was “sweet” :). 
  • Children re-appearing to live in the nest… One was sent home from her university. The one we just moved to a stunning oceanside town seven states away said 3 1/2 weeks alone in her apartment was enough. With my son still here, the nest is officially full! What an unexpected Easter table!
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  • My work, my daughter’s virtual university work, my other daughter’s professional work covering our dining room…Skype classes and conference calls and laptops and phones…
  • My husband’s work strewn about the back sunroom…Zoom videos and laptops and phones…
  • Huge, electric signs on the thruway yelling, STAY HOME.
  • Broken eyeglasses that can’t be fixed anywhere but at home. I’m guarding my prescription reading glasses like they are a brick of gold. 
  • Children’s playgrounds with “no play” signs.
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  • “Currently unavailable” being stamped on products sold on Amazon such as isopropyl alcohol, disinfectant wipes, tissues…even good hand soap is a tough find. This is AMAZON. The company with “too much” of a supply of absolutely anything and everything. 
As I walked my local park recently, I observed an older woman stop in front of the American flag we walkers all lap by every 30 minutes as we round the path. She put her hand on her heart, whispered something brief and started walking again. I’ve been walking that park over 10 years and have never seen such a thing. Are we more grateful these days for our country? Its strong and protective response to this crisis?

All of us have different lives in some big or small ways as a result of COVID-19. The inconveniences may last a couple more weeks, while the economic impact may be more detrimental than we even imagine. Will the remaining anchor stores make it? Macys? JCPenney? Will the smaller ones like Ann Taylor and LOFT survive? Will our local restaurants close shortly after they attempt to reopen?

Will America begin manufacturing their own antibiotics and other medicines? Who knew that 80%-90% of all vital pharmaceuticals are made in China? Not me. Further, I’m disappointed in myself for never noticing the litany of articles from the last few years literally warning the U.S. of the profound dangers of permitting merely one country to supply Americans’ critical medicines. The implications of this are endless. 

Was this global shift in every society on every continent the result of a nefarious plan or was it purely accidental? I don’t think much about that, but others are diving into the theories all pointing to Wuhan. 

We all look forward to freely moving about society again someday. But when will we literally move about “freely”? 

When can we shop for Kleenex because we actually need some and find that it’s in stock?

As for me, I try to keep my eyes above the empty shelves, above my monotonous computer screen filled with work, higher than the frightening economic months ahead…to Him will I bow down and cling, remaining closely attached to the Vine Whose love spreads higher, wider and deeper than any rapidly contagious virus. 

☘️St. Patrick’s Cathedral – Ireland🍀

My daughters and I had the joy and privilege of touring St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland last August. While I didn’t share these photos last summer, it seemed very appropriate to share them today!We feel especially blessed to have seen it, as the cathedral is closed in Ireland today due to the current global pandemic. God willing, it will reopen in a couple of weeks, but for today, we can enjoy beautiful pics many bloggers are posting. 
Incredibly, I had never realized until I was at the cathedral last summer that stained glass windows served as learning tools for those who were illiterate. What an interesting historical fact to have learned about one of the purposes of stained glass windows. From the cathedral’s website: “Stained-glass windows can be incredibly beautiful pieces of art, but they would also originally have acted as an educational resource for the Church. At a time when most people were unable to read or write, stained-glass windows were used to explain the stories of the bible in picture form. To follow the story of a stained-glass window you read from bottom to top, rather than from left to right (as you would when reading a book). The story always begins with the image in the bottom of the left hand window pane, then moves to the right and the centre panel is read last.”
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy St. Patrick’s Day today!

Apology Doesn’t Always Equal Changed Behavior

“I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made….”

This lyric of the worship song, So Will I (100 Billion X) by Hillsong United, rang in my mind as I looked at a disgruntled employee in my office.

The manager stood over the young man’s chair, describing a serious event that had transpired a few minutes earlier. I was surprised by the situation but remained focused on the employee, searching him for explanation…as if his body language, his dark eyes and clearly agitated presence would reveal to me why he would have committed such an act at a professional office.

The young man expressed sincere remorse and I truly believed him. He was indeed sorry. I’m certain of it.

With certainty, I also knew that if I retained his employ, another instance of something bad would definitely ensue. Perhaps even more serious.

I thought of David and King Saul. After the second time David could have ended Saul’s life but didn’t, David confronted Saul… why did he continue to hunt David to destroy him? What had he done wrong? Saul expressed disgust in his own behavior, apologizing to David, “I’ve sinned! Oh, come back, my dear son, David! I won’t hurt you anymore.” (1 Sam 26:21 MSG)

King Saul had sincerely asked David to come back with him, but notice David “went on his way” (verse 25). Even palace living couldn’t entice David after all he experienced with Saul.

David likely believed Saul was sincere in the moment. He also knew Saul well enough to know, it was just a matter of time before another spear flew at his head.

In the world of work, it is easier to receive a sincere apology and yet, still follow established rules. Making hard decisions knowing there will be limited, if any, contact with the person adds a sprinkle of ease. Still hard, but not like seeing the initially remorseful person regularly, observing again and again the repentant heart offend, hurt and leave new scars in the wake of their path.

God is merciful. To have us consistently sinful humans come to Him with remorse, knowing we’ll fall again, He still accepts and loves us. From a human perspective, it’s much easier to cut the person out of your life. Thankfully, He’s not us.

Let’s be clear that I do not see His heart in “everything” such as disgusting spiders, truly evil humans, etc., but I could see good in the young man across from me. I had observed him for a couple of months and surmised there was something in his life causing confusion in his mind and cluttered thinking that led to irrational comments and eventually, the concerning event which transpired. But, he was also energetic, engaging and had mentioned on more than one occasion that he liked his job.

I pray the young man grows wiser. We all fall short. It’s how we move forward that continues to develop our character.

“And as You speak, a hundred billion failures disappear…”

(Hillsong United, So Will I)