Homefront #8: Embracing the moment

Sitting on my back deck Sunday morning with my coffee, I was watching the birds flying in to enjoy the seeds and suet cake at my feeders a few feet away.  Cardinals, doves, sparrows, and a chickadee.  And it hit me that we’re almost out of seeds.  The storage bin on the deck has no more supplies for our feathered friends.  And then….

My wife Bertha walked out and said, “Amy (our next door neighbor) called. She’s at Kroger’s.  Do we need anything.”

“See if they have any birdseed.”  Kroger’s seems to have some of everything.  Maybe they’ll have this too.

They did. A huge bag.  And Amy refused to accept our money.  Everyone should have such a friend, particularly during this time of lockdown.

The news all says the same thing…

–It’s bad and going to get worse.

–Ventilators are in short supply.

–No one should go anywhere without a mask.

–People can make their own masks.  Bertha’s sister Laura, a seamstress of the first order, is making some for us all.

–The world is gradually realizing that everyone–literally everyone–needs to stay at home in a self-quarantine.  God bless those who cannot do that–the health workers, law enforcement, and all those keeping the world in food and other essentials.

We went to church. Sort of 

Bertha and I watched the worship service from FBC Columbus MS where I am “interiming” for the months of March and April.  And since we can no longer drive up to the church (150 miles), Discipleship Minister Marcus Cochran arranged for me to video the sermon from my dining room table.  We did it last Wednesday.  Four days later, I sat here at the kitchen table and watched all 35 minutes of that sermon.

Thirty-five minutes?  Actually, since it’s not being broadcast anywhere expensive, Marcus said the time does not matter. So, I took as long as I needed.  The message stays on their church website.

I’ve had a few comments from viewers far and wide who caught the service.

How to react to all of this.  What to do…

It’s not all bad if you’re the way Bertha and I are. She teaches college English online and is able to do her job from the kitchen table on her laptop. I’m across the table working on my website or studying for sermons or drawing cartoons.  We have books to read and food and supplies enough for a while.  And friends who call to check on us.

A pastor friend says one of his members and her husband are having a personal revival.  “We are reading scripture together and praying together.  We are closer than we have ever been.  It’s wonderful.”  Sheltering in place means different things to different people, obviously.

My sister Patricia (on the family farm in Alabama) quoted someone that when this is all over, there will be a rash of divorces from people who have been shut up with spouses they cannot stand.  I had thought the exact opposite, that couples who have been too busy to take care of the essentials (like spending time together, talking, listening, playing) might rediscover what attracted them to each other in the first place and emerge with a stronger marriage.

Some are predicting a rash of babies born nine months from now.  One person predicted lots of girls named Corona.  I begged to differ.  There were babies born in the Gulf South after Hurricane Katrina but everyone hated that “girl” so much, no one dared name a child for her.  (On a related note, talking with my second son about this.  I told him he might be interested to know that he was born nine months after Hurricane Betsy went through our area west of New Orleans and left everyone without power for a week or more.  But he was pleased we did not name him Betsy.)

Carpe the moment? 

I noticed the huge pine trees in the woods behind my house are growing new branches.  It’s easy to spot because the new growth is lighter colored.  And I thought, “Lord, I want to grow also.  I want to learn from this strange time in our lives and emerge on the other side stronger and more effective for Thee.”

How to do that?  The thought occurred: Embrace this moment.  Quit griping about it, worrying about tomorrow, and feeling anxious over something you can do nothing about.  Give the Lord a chance to use this in my life.

Embrace the moment.  Which is a variation of carpe diem, seize the day.

We are determined to stay at home and survive this crisis, Lord willing. And to see what God has done as a result.

We pray constantly for Him to take charge and do a marvelous thing in this world.