By Kevin Walker
Like most of you, life as we know it has really changed over the last couple of weeks. I work from home every day anyway, so that has not changed. My wife, Sarah, is not working outside the home right now, so that has not changed either, but almost everything else has. We have had to make several adjustments, but like everyone else, we are coping with it and we are hoping and praying this will soon be over.
A couple of weeks before the “stay at home” policy became a way of life for everyone, Sarah went shopping several times – stocking up on things she thought would keep for a while and that we could use over an extended period of time. Since then, we have not been back except to make an emergency run for an item or two. For the most part, the only time Sarah ventures out is to visit her 93-year-old mother who lives in Gwinnett County. Two of the biggest changes her mother has had to adjust to is not being able to go to church or shop for groceries.
Not being able to attend church in person is the most difficult adjustment Sarah and I have had to make in our lives, as well. Our pastor at Freedom Worship Center in Greshamville, Rev. Wayne Powers, is arranging for the services to be livestreamed over Facebook each week. He continues to preach to the camera with the same heart-felt passion as he did in the past with a congregation, but we miss the personal contact, the meeting and talking face to face, the handshakes, the hugs, the live singing, and the corporate worship of the church body. As drastic of a change that this has been, we have all learned that the church is not a building – the church is the body of Jesus Christ who continues to live for Him, pray to Him, worship Him, and to be His hand and heart extended during this very difficult time.
An equally difficult change for us is not being able to see our grandchildren and their parents. Until about three weeks ago, Sarah was babysitting our four granddaughters two days a week, but that changed like everything else. Sarah’s son and his wife (who is a schoolteacher) were told to work from home until this is over. Our oldest granddaughter really felt the effect of the quarantine last week when she was not able to have a party with family and friends to celebrate her 8th birthday. Trying to make the best of things, her parents coordinated a surprise drive-by birthday parade on the street in front of their house – before the stricter stay-at-home rules kicked in. Those who could come drove by their house with decorated cars and presents – which made for a birthday like no other and one that she will never forget.
Another extremely hard and sad adjustment was made last week because of the quarantine, and it resulted in some changes that no one thought would ever happen. My late wife’s Dad passed away at the age of 85, and the funeral home – acting under CDC and Funeral Home Association guidelines – allowed only 10 people in for the visitation and funeral in the chapel. As disappointing as this was for his family and friends, we had to follow the rules. We tried to make the best of the situation and decided to live stream the funeral over my Facebook page, which was another first. Immediate family only were allowed in, but one blessing in disguise was the livestreaming allowed family and friends in four states to watch and listen to the service – either live as it was conducted or later as their time and schedules allowed.
Whether it is missing church, or visits with family and friends, or birthday parties, or even taking unusual measures such as livestreaming a funeral, we are adjusting to a new way of life that we hope is temporary. Thankfully, we have a love that binds us together and keeps us bound, and a faith that God will see us through this as we stand on His promises. We are praying for all healthcare workers and all those affected by this coronavirus – especially those with sick loved ones who they cannot visit or who have passed away. May God bless you, all, as we depend on Him and as our trust in Him deepens with each passing day.
Kevin Walker is a husband, father, and life long resident of Morgan County.