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A Virus Manifesto – What this hot mess may be telling us about ourselves.

This Halloween picture we took a few years ago feels more & more like reality lately. The end of the world, every man for himself, protect you and yours, Armageddon.

Ryan & I thrive off a “live off the land” ideology – it makes us a bit giddy – making bread & soap & homemade wine & growing food. It’s why we lived in rural TN for 6 years. But – there is an unsettling fear when this lifestyle is forced upon us by the threat of a virus. Maybe the fear has been manufactured by the media or perhaps by our internal desire to survive at all cost but what I’ve found interesting is this – along with the fear is a bubbling of anticipation.

I’ve tentatively posed this question to a few people – barely whispering

“Do you feel it too? The tingle of expectancy?”

Afraid that maybe I was the only one who felt the silver lining, but I wasn’t. There was agreement – yes, there is a sliver of anticipation attached to the anxiety and fear.

And why? What are these emotions telling us?

I believe these feelings are screaming out our desperation. Desperate to return to the basics. Desperate for our lives to have meaning; desperate to defend our loved ones in the face of danger; to act valiently & courageously & have someone come through for us – that’s why books like The Road and Grapes of Wrath are world wide best sellers and movies like Armageddon and End of Days sell out at the box office and The Walking Dead is on its 10th season – we are achingly desperate to have something replace the never ending scrolling & online shopping & google searches & accumulating & acquiring & rushing, and, and, and…. & we detest our habits, but our addictions hold us firmly tethered to their poison & now we see this world wide catastrophe – everything everywhere shutting down & we’re being forced into our homes with our loved ones – like cattle forced to the feed lot – & we see it as an opportunity, a glimpse, of maybe stering our lives back on track & that’s exciting.

We are so ready to defend our children against illness rather than against online bullies and pornography which seems like a battle we can not win. We are so ready to have meaningful conversations with our teenagers because we’re actually home for more than 5 minutes. We’re so ready to protect our loved ones within the safe confines of home & we’re so ready to make meals together & gather for family games & educate our children & kick the ball on the front lawn. We’re so ready to have time again.

Our hearts are screaming to slow down, but we have no idea how to make it happen and this – THIS may be our ticket out of the craziness we call life.

Go home.
Exhale.
Stop scrolling.

Practice gratefulness & contentedness & patience & self control – manna for the moment – values buried in the madness of modern life. Be still & silent. Teach your children these long lost arts: reading & baking & looking one another in the eyes as we speak.

Do what matters. Be in life fully with those you love.

Whether this madness pans out to Armageddon or fizzles in a few weeks, let’s examine our lives. The busyness, the constant stress, the depression. What is our heart aching for in these troubled times. Family? Peace? Joy? Follow that thread as we collectively hunker down. Not detracting from the hardships many are enduring but perhaps these might be self induced & aren’t really serving us to begin with.

Myself included.

Just keep livin

A Resurrection Only Occurs After A Death.

When Ryan and I met in 2010 we were in a season of death with the passing of our spouses, & this death included a burial of lifelong dreams and expectations.

The next few years we enjoyed a resurrection as our lives merged and birthed new realities: our marriage & family, a simple life in rural America, the birth of a book, a teaching career, a non profit & another child. Lots of growth & beauty.

We now find ourselves back in a season of decay; broken bodies over the past year: Ryan’s, mine, and Luke’s; broken ideals and dreams as we restructure & determine how we’ll proceed, lots of unanswered questions and concerns & the burial of systems that no longer serve us emotionally or spiritually, and we wait because we know. We know because we’ve been here before – this is familiar soil, deep & dark & rich soil where we’ve been planted and now we await our reemergence into the light.

We wait for our resurrection.

And we are confident that it will arrive in due time because that’s how life works.

Everything remains in motion; a continuous movement of death and resurrection, waves upon waves washing away the brokenness and moving what remains to the shore – natural disasters and coronavirus and despair not excluded – it’s all involved, collectively and individually; ashes to beauty and back to ashes again, circular movements until the maestro sweeps his baton for the last time & bows his head in holy reverence, that moment when his beloved creation leans into the finality & releases a labored breath – bursting through the birth canal into an everlasting resurrection.

And until then?

We just keep livin.

WHAT HAPPENS?

I spent an intense morning with Luke at the eye doctor. Honestly, we’ve been frequenting doctor’s offices most days. Yesterday was PT for Ryan my husband, today, eye doctor for Luke, tomorrow and Friday PT for Ryan, Saturday, family doctor for a new wheelchair for Luke…

This is life for special needs families.

I made this appointment months ago – before Ryan had committed to his new surgery date in Feb – before when the original date was Jan 6 but then Luke was still in PICU & so we rearranged our schedules.

Today – 8:30 a.m. Feb 25, 2020. 5 days post op for Luke’s father who usually joins me on these exhausting excursions because it’s hard. But Ryan couldn’t join today with his arm in a brace, and I bribed my oldest daughter Mya to help. Bribed her with the promise of Starbucks. She agreed because that’s the kind of person she is. A lover of people and a lover of hot chocolate.

At 15 years old, Luke hates almost everything out of his ordinary – “GO TO SCHOOL!” was heard loud and clear – repeatedly- during our time spent in the serene waiting room added with the ants in his pants which resulted in a loud “GO WALK!” to the cacophony of chaos as mothers quickly shielded their children from his outstretched, unstable movements which threatened to grab or lick or stumble headfirst into their small toddler’s bosom.

What happens?

I asked myself – my blood pressure rising and heart palpitations quickening with each high pitched scream as Mya and I stared at each other with helpless looks as we tried to wrangle our big man child back into his stroller.

What happens when he becomes too big, and I can no longer physically restrain him?

What happens when he can’t go out in public because he might cause harm to another person?

What happens when my mental stability is hinging on instability?

What happens when his iPad isn’t interesting to him anymore?

What happens if he needs a diaper change and there’s nowhere to change him?

We were able to calm his anxious soul today quite by accident. The nurse played classical music from a contraption with green blinking lights (price tag probably $5000) to get an idea of vision capacity. He loved it and relaxed. I asked if we could keep playing the song on repeat for the remainder of the visit. She agreed & patted his knee “it’s ok buddy, it’ll be ok.” She was looking at me.

It’s okay is what happens. Mercy happens. Compassion happens. Occasionally someone really sees us – that’s what happens. Hot chocolate and strong coffee happens.

Moment by moment as we “just keep livin”

That’s what happens.
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Sunlight Burning at Midnight

Sunlight Burning at Midnight