It’s beginning to drizzle.
Is drizzle past the point of beginning
after one minute or five?
After how many raindrops
is rain past the point of beginning?
Pearls of water
trickle down a window;
Like everyone, we blinked, and our plans were changed. We went from telling our son he could take the train home for spring break to texting him we were on our way to pick him up. New York colleges had closed for the rest of the semester.
When Gene and I drove upstate to New Paltz University, we had no idea Elijah was sick until we called him to tell him we were there.
“He-ll-o.” Elijah’s voice sounded stuffy and sleepy as if he just woke up.
“Are you sick? You sound sick.” We expected him to say no, he just fell asleep for a while. Blame it on dorm life.
His answer couldn’t have been worse. “Nah, just a little achy. All my suite mates have the same thing.”
I looked at Gene wearing the same shocked expression, his mouth wide open like mine. “Seriously?”
We were doing everything we could to not catch the COVID 19 virus, to not bring it into our home and give it to Gene’s mom who had pneumonia a few months ago. We all but panicked thinking we were about to drive home for two and a half hours with Elijah coughing the coronavirus all over us. We hated seeing Elijah sick, but come on…some warning would have been nice.
He did mention celebrating with friends the night before, and this could be a hangover. I have never wished or prayed one of my sons drank enough to have a hangover, so this was a first. “Please God—a hangover and not the virus.”
When we got home, Elijah went straight to his room so I could take his temperature. He had a fever close to 101 degrees, so this day, March 14, 2020, began our quarantine. Elijah was only allowed to leave his room to use the bathroom if he wore a mask and gloves. We put a sign on Gene’s mother’s door to remind her to stay there since Elijah was sick.
Because we weren’t sure if he had it or if we had been exposed to the virus, we stayed home from work, and had our other sons and daughter stay home too. We were a week ahead of the stay-at-home order for New York. And we are grateful. Elijah tested positive for the flu and negative for the Corona virus. And we had a head start at staying safe.
What we thought was horrible at first, may have saved us. Maybe God used Elijah’s sickness to protect us from something worse. At the time, we didn’t know what we were fighting—COVID 19, the flu, or just our own fears. We worried and imagined the worst scenarios. My husband and I are pros at bouncing worries back and forth like a sport. It takes us a while to listen to God’s word and let Him in on our game.
Since staying home, my daily emotions and mood cartwheel up and down hills. Mornings begin optimistic, motivated, and busy with writing and plans for the day. By midday—what am I rushing for with nothing to do and nowhere to go? Time to pour a few cups of worry about the future. Evenings end frustrated and depressed that I haven’t accomplished my morning goals. I forget to be thankful that we are healthy and have food even if I can’t get my favorite Trader Joes yogurt. I forget to be thankful that God loves us and doesn’t give up on us even when our faith wilts. I need to reread my favorite comforting verses.
Many of you are suffering in different ways and my heart aches for you as I pray God meets your needs. I hope these verses bring you comfort and peace in whatever you are going through.
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1Peter 5:7
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 35:18