By Sister Sharon Havelak, OSF
God and I have had some interesting conversations the past couple of weeks.
To be fair, I need to take some of the blame for what’s going on. I was the one who decided that I’d do a New Year’s Resolution this year: to be happy! I was the one who told the world about it in my blog earlier this year. Even as I wrote about it, I realized I was in dangerous waters, tempting fate. I remembered what happened to Job in the Old Testament.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the fact that the whole world would be tested!
It’s been hard making sense of everything that’s going on. The scope of the tragedy is too enormous to seem real. I’ve heard friends question whether, between the virus and climate change, the end of the world is near at hand.
But what’s even more life-altering, hopefully, is all the good that’s happening. Yes, it’s depressing that there’s no toilet paper to be bought and a run on ammunition, but there’s also a shortage of elastic because so many quilters and sewers are making face masks. People are out walking, even in not-so-nice weather, singly and as families. Neighbors are checking on neighbors, bringing them food and picking up medications. Others are finding creative ways of “gathering” or touching others’ lives: car parades, teddy bear hunts, artwork displays in windows. Some are even learning to appreciate quiet time with family.
My favorite story has to be that of Geneva Woods, a 90 year old woman in Kirkland, Washington. After suffering a stroke, she fell and broke her hip just before she was to be released from the nursing home. Then the corona virus struck. Given 24 hours to live, she said goodbye to her family and thanked them for their goodness to her. She stopped eating, until she learned that her daughter was keeping vigil, though she could no longer visit, and had brought her favorite homemade potato soup. She decided to have a bowl – and little by little her strength returned and she conquered the virus, of the 40 residents with the virus the only one to survive. She credits God, her family and friends and her potato soup for her life.
The predictions for the next few weeks and months sound dire and there will be more anxiety to come. The gung-ho spirit will falter as the privations get old. As we wring our soggy, chapped, often-washed hands, let’s continue to find solace in the love and support of God, and of family and friends, and, perhaps, enjoy a cup of healing potato soup.