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Seeing Rainbows

Here we are, in the middle of a world-wide health crisis, and we are quarantined to our homes until the spread of COVID-19 is under control. We, the world health leaders, really have no clue how long this will last or how it will truly affect how we all live our lives for the rest of our lives. It’s a scary time and I’m sure everyone feels pretty much the same as we do, out of control. Really, the best we can do is stay put and stay healthy.

Our daily prayers have been with the families affected by the losses they may be experiencing. It’s hard to watch the people you love suffer through such a body-wrenching virus. I know.

Through all of the craziness going on outside of our front door, my job now is to keep my kids healthy; their minds, their bodies, and their spirits. Most days, this job can be tough but, when I lay my head on my pillow at night knowing my children had a good moment or two today, I am thankful for the reflection. I am thankful for the ability to see that I truly have everything I need right here; even when “my person” is no longer with us.

One of the best activities so far during our quarantine is the family meal moments. We have been able to eat almost all of our daily meals together, around the table. It’s really been something of a blessing for us all! We’re not running from one activity to another, eating in shifts or on the run or in the car. We are together. Most of our talks around the dinner table are about something surrounding the one person who is missing. It’s important to remember him and talk about what we miss. This has been our best coping therapy. But since we are eating EVERY meal together, I’ve tried to keep the “therapy” to a minimum. But now, the therapy is happening more organically.

The other evening during dinner, the kids and I were bantering back and forth about something silly, like all normal families do. I don’t really remember specifically what it was that started all the ruckus, really, but we were all participating. During this silly banter the “silly” turned a corner to the “not so nice” and my sweet littlest girl didn’t particularly appreciate something that was said. She scrunched up her face to illustrate to us all that she was unhappy. Without hesitation, I exclaimed, “That’s such a mad Daddy face!” The other two kids turned to look at her right then and, sure enough, everyone agreed. She then realized just what she was doing, looked up to the ceiling to contemplate her next strategic facial expression and then we all began to laugh, including Camille.

The dinner went on to include us all imitating each other’s mad faces following giggles after each attempt. We all tried to scrunch our noses just the right way, to pierce our lips as tight as we could, squint our eyes as thinly as possible without shutting them, and shoot the look of “wait till we get home” for the next several minutes. We were giggling so hard. This moment all started by us remembering how our JB’s mad face used to be. The truth was, JB had many facial expressions. The “mad face” isn’t really the one we remember most. Thank you, Jesus, for giving us the gift of these amazing memories.

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.”

Philippians 1:3

These last few days of being quarantined with the kiddos because of fear of being exposed to the Coronavirus have been somewhat of a blessing. Oh, we are definitely feeling the pains of being cooped up in the house without our friends and family. There are no trips to the tumbling gym, no sleep-overs and no movie night pizza parties with the teenagers (or my mama-friends). The idea of our family contracting this deadly virus hits way too close to home for me. But, we have given it all to our good and glorious God. His will be done.

God, give us strength to survive through the storm of the world as well as grow stronger as a family. This is our rainbow after the storm.

For all of you families working from home 24/7 for the first time, I hope this story is comforting:

Back in the summer of 2015, I was doing some consulting and working from home when JB was laid off. When he accepted this job, he had negotiated six months of severance which included pay and benefits. For this, we were thankful. I’ll admit, I was a little worried about us… were we going to survive being with each other 24/7. I mean, we were closing in on our 17th wedding anniversary and had been consumed with a full schedule of kids’ activities and work obligations for as long as I could remember; leaving us with little “couple time”. Did we really still know each other? Were we still madly in love with each other? Yes and Yes.

It was a time I look back on now and cherish every moment. Moments like these:

- When we first met, we would go down to the park and roller-blade through the trees for hours. While he was laid off, we rode our bikes for hours and spent many trips on our lunch “breaks”.

- When we were young parents, JB was handy with the wood-working; he made lots of bird houses and train tables. Now he was learning how to make cheese, seriously, CHEESE.

- For 17 years, he was consumed with working for “the man”; chasing the next big opportunity and looking forward to paying for our next big family vacation. Now, he was consumed with volunteering and helping the organizations where his kids spent most of their time.

- He helped me take care of the house which is one of the most sexy things a husband can do, by the way.

- He created a misting system in our backyard to allow us to spend more time in our backyard.

- He told me to get a hobby. “The kids will be out of the house soon, you better have a hobby.” He helped me find a hobby.

- He and I created amazing meals for our family.

- He and the kids created amazing meals for our family.

- He took care of me. He took care of the kids.

While we all might be feeling somewhat unsure about having no private time and being cooped up with each other, cherish this special time. Time is something that is running out for all of us and we should make every minute count. The memories we make during this time could be the very best family memories you may ever make. Take a moment to not be panicked by what is happening outside of your front door. Close your front door, turn off the news programs, and sit down with your family and talk. Do an art project. Play a game. Cook something you’ve never prepared. Have a tea party. Make bread. Do a family Bible Study. And just give it all to God!

For those of you living through this time without your loved one, to those of you who might be feeling more alone and on your own, remember the strength that God gave you to get to this very day. He has always been with you, holding your hand. He knows you have a strength within you to keep moving forward. I am there with you!! We are strong! This is little compared to the burden you have already carried. I love you!

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

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