The above photo: When it comes to social distancing, you can’t teach an old dog (or young ones) this new trick. Leo in back with a ball in his mouth and our grand dogs, Glen the pug and Dobby in front.
The other night (it was about four o’clock in the morning actually), I woke up on fire. I was burning up and my first thought was, “Oh no, the virus!” It lasted about twenty or thirty minutes. It was after that, I realized what had actually happened. Interestingly enough, I had my first hot flash during a pandemic where one of the major symptoms is fever. Relieved, I had a half hearted chuckle when I woke up again a few hours later.
Like most people, I’m taking all the precautionary measures to not get this thing. And like most people, I’ve adjusted, pretty much, to the Covid-19 learning curve. This Coronavirus has taught us many things… like wash, wash, WASH your hands and DO NOT touch your face! It has also taught us to be more creative in many ways, including how to stay connected from a distance; for instance, how to celebrate birthdays.
The other day while I was driving down a street in my neighbourhood, I saw a little girl on her front yard wearing a beautiful satiny dress. Her mother was on one side of her and a shiny bouquet of balloons on the other. She was glowing in the sunlight, smiling and waving at her party guests… one couple across the street on the corner, perhaps grandparents; another couple about ten feet to the left of them and a few other little clusters of people spread out waving back at the birthday girl, blowing kisses and yelling out their congratulations.
My husband Chris and I have decorated our car four times this month for birthdays. We just keep the signs in the trunk now, and discuss who’s next.
It’s not the worst thing having to adjust your birthday plans and receive kisses blown to you and gifts thrown to you instead of real hugs and long visits. On the other end of the spectrum are the major upsets that come with this situation, like illness, death, grief, loss of jobs and businesses, not being able to receive a warm embrace from family and close friends when experiencing a major life crisis… and so on. And things are naturally put in perspective.
Max Lucado, best-selling author and pastor, in a recent online sermon, said something about holding on to the certainty of God… in contrast to the uncertainty of this weird time we are living in. He used the words, “Hold on,” which gave me an idea that I’ll get to after the next paragraph.
Life is uncertain. We just forget sometimes and then when something like this major upset happens, we are surprised, and reminded, we aren’t in control. It makes me think of my mom, who would alway say, when we made plans, “The Lord willing.” For instance, you’d say something like, “See you on Friday and we will do this or that…” And she would reply, “Yes, the Lord willing.” She would say that because we don’t know what tomorrow holds. James 4:14-15 says: “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. Instead, you should say, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will do this or that.’”
When Max used the words, “Hold on,” when speaking about the certainty of God, I thought of an old blog post I wrote called, Hold On and Let Go (which inspired the title of my first book). I decided to read it for a recent Story Time on Facebook and Instagram.
I start this blog post by telling how, while driving my late husband Mike to an appointment, I watched him in the rear view mirror of our wheel chair van and observed the content look on his face. I wrote, “I couldn’t help but smile and think how well he rolls with the punches.”
I continue to tell how some people had commented on what a difficult time we must be going through, but I didn’t see it that way. I convey how it had been difficult at times, but not necessary a difficult time. I proceed, “It’s been a time to put things in proper perspective. It’s a process for sure, but we are learning how to hold on and let go. We let go of things in our lives that hinder and distract us, like worry and fear; and we hold on to things that enhance and beautify our lives like faith, hope, love, family and God.”
Then I mention how good things come from bad things all the time and how God has done it with ALS in our lives a lot, and I quote Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him…” And then I conclude by reminding my readers that no one is exempt from difficult times, troubles and trials, and that those things accelerate growth and learning, and that’s why adversity is a good thing.
After I read Hold On and Let Go, I proceeded with something like this:
When Mike was diagnosed with ALS, it felt like a wake-up call. I’ve been comparing it to what we are going through right now. Some of us might feel like this is a wake up call. Perhaps many of us are asking what we can learn and what we should learn from this experience. We are probably gaining new perspective and focusing on what matters most.
I often call my stories, lessons in letting go. “Mike had to let go of working, walking, talking, eating, moving, and slowly he let go of breathing, and slowly we all let go of him.” But long before that, Mike and I had both put our faith and trust in Jesus. At different times in our lives we had accepted Jesus as our Lord, Saviour and Friend. So even though Mike didn’t want to let go of his life here on earth, Mike had a hope—a Living Hope, and a home in heaven. And that is what brought him so much joy and contentment.
Mike said on a number of occasions that his situation was a win-win situation. He said that if our prayers were answered and he was healed of ALS, that would be a WIN for sure. But he said if he wasn’t healed of ALS, that was also a WIN because his hope and home was in heaven and he knew he was going to be with Jesus.
We learn to let go of things early in life, and the letting go only accelerates over time. We eventually have to let go of everything, but here’s some good news: Jesus is everlasting! If you are looking for something to hold on to — a Living Hope and certainty of a home in heaven; forgiveness of sins, God’s presence and contentment, you might want to consider looking to Jesus. And there is no better time than now, to say YES to Him… to open your heart and accept Him as Lord, Saviour and Friend.
That’s pretty much how that story time went. I told it over the Easter weekend, so I did say, “There is no better time than Easter time to say YES to Jesus.” But of course, any time is a good time.
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Acts 2:21: “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.”
So anyway, besides the one hot flash, I haven’t had any other symptoms of this virus and my health is great. I praise God everyday for that, because only He knows what tomorrow holds. My husband Chris and I are taking advantage of the extra time we have these days and are spending more time in prayer. We are praying for many people who aren’t experiencing good health like we are… those isolated and alone… those in crisis and can’t receive a big hug from a close friend… those grieving, struggling, suffering, anxious, afraid, financially not okay—and on it goes.
Chris and I count our blessings every day and thank God we aren’t alone… and that no one is alone. God is with us all.
I hope you are able to count some blessings every day, and know you aren’t alone! Please feel free to leave any prayer requests in the comments or Facebook messenger or Instagram message.
God bless you and I’ll see you next time… the Lord willing.
I leave you with today’s Bible verse from my Bible App. It’s the verse that has been on my mind since this pandemic started, “Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10. But I love the Message Bible wording, which goes like this: “Attention, all! See the marvels of God! He plants flowers and trees all over the earth, bans war from pole to pole, breaks all the weapons across His knee. ‘Step out of traffic! Take a long, loving look at Me, your High God, above politics, above everything.’”
My dad with Glen, happy that hugging dogs isn’t off limits.
I’ve been reading stories from my book, Hold On, Let Go: Facing ALS with Courage and Hope on Facebook and Instagram, and intend to read a few from my latest book, High and Wide: When Grief and Love Collide. See more about my books on Amazon and follow me on Facebook and Instagram.