My image of myself is this organized, structured person. I even have a schedule for checking email or Twitter or Face Book on my mobile. (That doesn’t count texts from family and friends.) Or maybe I should say, I did have a schedule! Under the circumstances, it’s all but disappeared. If my phone dings, I’m checking it. Forget any schedule. I want to see photos and laugh at jokes and hear how my family and friends are doing. One of my friends says she could live like the monks of old, alone for years at a time. I seriously doubt that, because she sure enjoyed getting out for dinner with me and other friends several times a week before this came up. I believe God included a desire to communicate as part of our human nature. He wanted us to need to communicate, with him and with each other. How wonderful to understand our Savior sacrificed himself so we could be reconciled into a deep intimate relationship with our Father! Thank you, Lord! Did I just hear a ding?
Something was in the street. Too big for a squirrel and too hairy. Was it a cat or what? So I slowed way down. It was a dog, a Yorkie! I honked my horn, several times, just to be ignored. So I had to fully stop. She had decided to relieve herself right there, in her chosen spot, in the middle of my lane. Did she care I had to stop traffic for her? Not a bit. She didn’t give me the favor of a glance, just squatted in front of me and the cars waiting behind me. Then nose in air, she trotted off, back onto the sidewalk and grassy yard beyond. Thankfully, she didn’t take long! I’ve not owned a Yorkie myself so looked them up. Among their description were these gems: “They can be little divas!” “They can be very opinionated, so they dislike the leash ‘telling them what to do’ and may dart this way and that, or refuse to walk at all.” Housebreaking? They were top of the list of hardest breeds to housebreak. Now I know why that Yorkie wouldn’t move out of the street, and why my son’s and daughter-in-law’s Yorkie, Kramer, failed doggie obedience school!
“Speech is civilization itself. The word, even the most contradictory word, preserves contact—it is silence which isolates.” Those words, written by Thomas Mann many years ago, seem more than relevant today as we distance ourselves physically from one another. Of course, as one who has contacted many more people through the written word than through the spoken, I recognize how important it is to keep in touch when we can’t talk face to face. Even a hermit like me needs contact with the outside world occasionally, so think about all those stressed-out extroverts! We have all the electronic resources we need. No excuses for not taking the time to write an encouraging email or text. Our phones, whether landline or mobile, still work. And, yes, the mail is being picked up and delivered. Let’s keep communicating, folks!
With so many working from home, I’ve seen a lot of jokes about dogs being happy about it and cats not so much. But now I wonder. When one of my daughters and I decided to visit this week, me in my car, her in her driveway, six feet apart, the neighbor’s grey cat came over to join us. Obviously accustomed to a lot of love, it put on a little show of rolling over, a definite clue for a belly rub. After several such rollovers, it tried to rub against my daughter’s legs. She’s allergic so had to back away. What’s wrong with these humans? My cute cat tricks aren’t working. So it meowed at us. Finally, it hopped up on the hood of my car and proceeded to make its way into my car window. Oh no, I gently pushed it back. But this cat was persistent; it tried again. We had to realize our visit was over. I raised my window and we said our goodbyes. So, now I believe although many cats may be introverts, some cats are definitely extroverts!
Some years ago my kids got me a world globe for Christmas. It’s really large, like you might see in a library and it rotates in a stand. Sometimes I put my hand on it and pray. I looked over at it while writing this and thought I need to do that again. I pray for this world daily anyway, but sometimes it helps to turn the globe back and forth and around and think about all the countries and peoples that need God. As I’ve said, I’ve isolated myself because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but I have nothing to complain about. Here I am warm and cozy, listening to slow jazz music and contemplating life. A little later I’ll be putting together a meatloaf that will last me several days. The majority of people in this world are lacking enough food and clean water just to survive. And what about all the refugees from war-torn areas trying to find safety for their families, or even closer to home, the homeless who live under our bridges and sleep on park benches in all kinds of weather. These people are already suffering and now this. Lord, have mercy!
How are you? I hope okay in the midst of the ongoing health crisis. As we’ve all heard our medical personnel and health experts are asking us to stay home. As I’m on the most susceptible list, I’ve decided to isolate myself from large gatherings for now. I’m really going to miss seeing my church family every week. (Our pastor has canceled services and is sharing messages online.) Also, I’m not meeting my friends for our weekly get-togethers at local restaurants. That’s going to be hard too. But, you know, it would be a lot harder being exposed and learning you’ve spread it to your family and friends. No, I’m not panicking. I haven’t hoarded paper products or food. I have enough to last for a few weeks and I can always order online. After all, I’m just being asked to stay out of crowds. Our police, military, medical and other service providers can’t do that, bless their hearts, but I can.
An article in the latest Christianity Today sparked a thought. It referred to the Old Testament prophet Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9. Though Daniel had lived righteously, in the service of a pagan king for many years, he prayed for his people using we, not they. “We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled….” Daniel was not at fault personally. He stayed faithful to God under the most trying circumstances. (Think hungry lions!) The article was about our taking responsibility for the faults of the entire church and all praying together for God’s mercy, even if we’re not the guilty parties. What if we applied this advice to our world, our country, our friends and our families. What if we, like Daniel, took responsibility and prayed and fasted for all, not pointing fingers and distancing ourselves from those who have wronged us or don’t agree with us. What a different world it would be. What if.