Let me update you on our family before going off and ranting on everything that I haven't been brave enough (or had time enough) to rant about publicly.
Here's an update on what I know about our family, in order by age:
My mom is doing great. She's in the nursing home and can't leave her room. She's making the best of it though. As always, she's positive and resilient and hopeful. But her room is SMALL.... she shares it with a roommate with a curtain between them.
Kyle and Christy and their three kids are so far healthy. They are both teachers so they are all alone all day together. The girls have bad lung issues always, so they are being super careful. We have FaceTimed them a couple times.
Rand and Amanda are planning their wedding for June 27 but a lot of the pre-wedding stuff is getting cancelled or postponed. Hopefully the wedding will still be on.
We never hear from a couple of our sons -- M and R. They wouldn't want to be mentioned.
John is still in prison. I have been writing him more. He is due for release in August and hoping to transfer his parole to Virginia.
Jimmy is here and still working full time at the gas station in their kitchen. He's always great to be around. Typically happy and helpful.
Salinda and her husband and kids are here trying to make the best of things. Olive Garden is closed so Salinda is home all the time. Kids have no school. Mike's job involves insulating homes that are not yet occupied so his job is secure for now. The kids are bored but they got a new trampoline and now are going to plant a garden out back. So that's good.
Mercedes and Matt are fine.... Mercedes work closed down for a few days. haven't talked to them in a couple days but will try today.
Leon and Danielle are good -- enjoying an introverts dream of social isolation together. Leon had a very frustrating situation where he was accosted verbally in a grocery store because "YOU CHINESE PEOPLE BROUGHT THIS HERE." He's not even Chinese. (sigh).
Tony is ok so far -- I need to check in with him today. But his girlfriend, a former foster child, reminded people on Facebook that there are kids out there who only feel safe at school and are now at home with their abusers. Scary thought.
Dominyk is here ... hanging in there. Still working part time at a grocery store.
And if you want to know about Wilson you need to email me or send me a private message.
So, off of the family update...
Here's why I haven't blogged much. Basically it's because Joshua and Caleb almost got stoned. And every time I have something to say I feel like I'm going to get stoned as well.
You remember the story right -- ten spies checked out the promised land. And ten of them came back and scared the crap out of everyone. The giants are big. This is horrible and we are never going to be able to defeat them.
But Joshua and Caleb said -- oh, it's bad alright, but God's got us. They spoke words of hope and encouragement and faith -- and the response? The people wanted to stone them. It's all in Numbers 14 if you want to read it.
So I have kept quiet because the hopeful, faithful, positive spirit is somehow translated into a lack of caution, or a lack of concern, or a lack of empathy. But I believe in a Both - And kind of God and I think we as believers can be both-and kind of people. We can be both careful/cautious/empathetic AND hopeful/positive/faithful. But our world is so dichotomized that it seems we are asked to pick one thing and can't be both.
My take on this whole situation is definitely the words from 2 Timothy 1:7:
I will not live in a spirit of fear. If I have a spirit of power, I know God is in control and that I have his power to remain steadfast and hopeful. If I have a spirit of love then I will care about others enough to practice good hygiene and social distance -- and to find ways to reach out and support others. And if I have a sound mind, I will do the math and calculate the risks to me and those I love, and not jump to the worst case scenario.
Now, if you want to read further, do so at your own risk.
Here are some things that are really pissing me off as I watch this all unfold.
The amount of selfishness I am seeing blows me away. I understand if there are people out there who are not people of faith who have a 30 day supply of toilet paper, but I do not understand Christians who are buying way more than they need. If you are in any way connected with people living in poverty, you know that they cannot hoard stuff. They don't have the resources to buy more than what they need. They ride busses, so buying 30 packages of toilet paper just because it is there isn't possible, even if they have the funds. Taking more than we need does not mean loving our neighbor as ourselves.
The second thing is that I told myself a week ago that the church would find a way to dichotomize and fight on Facebook in regards to this whole thing and I figured out what it was. The "We cancelled church" people are claiming that the "we still had church last weekend" people are careless and think nothing of others. And the "We still had church last weekend" people are claiming that the "We cancelled church" people are faithless and lacking in hope. This makes me sad. Jesus prayed in the last prayer before he died in John 17 that we would be one so that the the world would know that God and He were one. Wow are we failing at that. Makes me crazy to see how we have to dichotomize on every issue and thus become so ineffective.
One of the things that I did in the middle of writing all this was to have a very long conversation with one of my favorite people in the world via FaceTime. For many reasons I will not say who it was, but it filled my soul and was amazing. It was like we had lunch without lunch ... like we used to back in the day.
Here are some things that I have concluded about the virus as I conclude this article.
1) We know too much. Being able to check the internet all the time for the latest just makes us more stressed. When I was 13 (in 1976) I had the swine flu with my entire family. I don't remember it now, but my mom told me the other day about it. But back then we didn't even know what was happening. We didn't know who else has it.... we didn't know who was dying. We watched the news to find out a few updates, but the amount of knowledge we had was minimal. Today people can't stay away from googling everything and then freaking out.
2). What would we all be doing without the internet? Isolation would be who
2) I touch my face ALL. THE. TIME. Who knew?
3) When we are in crisis we take care of ourselves first. Then we worry about our companies/organizations/churches and their liability. And finally, we worry about others. My neighbor shared the best and most insightful quote with me the other day in a Facebook comment:
The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But the good Samaritan reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?" MLK
Oh how I wish we could all remember this.
4). There are a lot of really stupid people in the world.
5). I am so glad this didn't happen ten years ago when we had 9 teenagers at home. I would not have survived.
6). God is still God and He is still on his throne. He's got me. If I get sick, He's got me. If I die, He's got me. And He's calling me to stand firm and as I Thessalonians 4:13 says, "not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope."
If you've gotten this far, thanks for caring what I think. If you want a dose of Claudia, I have some free time evenings and weekends to FaceTime folks.
If you disagree with anything I've said ... spare me the drama and just agree to disagree without comment. :-).
Hang in there people. We're going to survive!