By Carol Seabolt
Not quite sure when it all began but one day I found myself thrust into an ever changing, ever evolving world of a pandemic called Covid-19. It seemed to innocently sneak into our lives and begin to upset normal life and daily routines. As the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases started to rise and schools, churches, restaurants, and workplaces began to close and/or adapt to change, it dawned on me that this pandemic thing was getting too close to my world.
For weeks I had heard the references to Covid-19 and how it originated in China, but then we learned from the news media that it had also spread to Italy and its trail was devastating. We were becoming more aware by the day that our safe little Madison and our great nation were also preparing for the spread here. We had no idea what a profound impact it would have on our personal lives as it crept closer.
The virus has had devastating effects on our families and communities, but the fact remains that it is also having positive aspects as we’ve learned to navigate through it. I personally have experienced a wakeup call and changes that I hope stay with me for the rest of my life. Most importantly, I have grown closer to my God in recent days. I finally get it. I’ve learned that I cannot control everything that happens in my life and I certainly cannot control the outcome of issues that come with the virus, other than doing my part to follow guidelines and keep my family and myself safe. With all the news surrounding us every day on Covid-19, my anxiety and worry for the future for my children and grandchildren was over the top and I could feel myself starting to panic. But then one day I was reminded of God’s promise to be with us. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Therefore we will not fear…” Psalm 46: 1-2. He made us and in spite of ourselves, he loved us so much that he gave us his only Son so that through faith we can spend eternity with him. He will never leave us and we need him more than ever! I finally get it! What a wakeup call!
I’ve been so encouraged and grateful to see the many ways this pandemic has created a renewed sense of people reaching out in acts of kindness to help others. In our own community we have many healthcare workers and first responders who have faithfully worked to do their part to keep us safe and healthy. Many have been served through foodbanks and people coming together to help our elderly by food shopping and making sure needs are being met. No one is immune from the effects of the virus and it’s so heartwarming to see people drawing close and helping others, even while social distancing. Thank you to all who have given their time, resources, creativity and humor to be an encourager during these trying times. It has been a joy to see how people have stayed connected through this experience. I pray we can maintain this culture of caring moving forward because it can have a lasting effect on our well being as individuals and communities.
And talking about creativity, my Church has been the best! Never would I have dreamed of worshipping on-line and thinking it could be effective, but how wrong I was! We have had the most beautiful music each Sunday. Sometimes we have had organ and piano preludes that have been just beautiful and we’ve had different musical presentations from adult and children’s solos, hand bells and other instrumentals. My grandchildren look forward to the children’s sermon each Sunday and various teachers have presented Sunday School lessons that have been a highlight for me. Our worship messages have been spot on and I have the ability to pause to look up scriptures or google something I want to understand better. At the close of the service, I feel blessed and I’m certainly grateful for the staff members that work hard to coordinate all the components of the service from various locations. Awesome job! I look forward each Sunday to getting up and tuning in to church services.
Family life has changed for many and I hope that people are using this time to reconnect and appreciate the time we’re spending at home because it’s the right thing to do. Quarantining has made me reflect back to my childhood and growing up in a family of seven. Back then, home was the place to be and we were happy being there. We grew up on a farm and our Mother was a homemaker and our Father farmed and repaired small engines. Our daily routine was going outside and playing (with each other). We had many acres to cover so our world seemed endless and we spent many hours playing in the creek, swinging on vines and playing in the dirt and we were happy. Mostly, my Mother cooked every meal and we all sat down together at the table to eat. We took turns saying the blessing and no one picked up their fork before the blessing was said. We sat down at the same time and we were all excused at the same time after everyone had finished eating. Of course my sisters and I had the responsibility of clearing the table and washing, drying and putting away the dishes.
My husband and I have been blessed with six precious granddaughters. Mimi and Pa as we are called spend as much time as possible with our children and grands. We’re grateful that we have been able to safely follow the guidelines but still spend time with these most special ones in our lives. We’ve taken great pains to sanitize, wash, wear masks and keep a safe distance and see each other mainly out around the pool on the weekends. So grateful and blessed that this routine has worked for us!
Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and move forward with a new world and way of living with new opportunities. This is a good thing because change is healthy and sometimes a shake-up renews the spirit. I must say that I miss seeing people and moving about my world by means I consider normal, however, I have a renewed appreciation for nature and all the beautiful birds in my yard, hummingbirds buzzing and sipping nectar, and the frogs croaking their daily sounds and beautiful flowers and their sweet scents. What an awesome reminder that all is well and God is still in control! It’s also encouraging that the pandemic has helped to heal the environment through less travel and slowdown in industry emissions. Maybe, just maybe this has been a wakeup call to evaluate who we are and decide that moving forward we will present a better version of ourselves.