Pandemic In The Summer

This summer is weird, isn’t it? We normally see friends and family, go to the beach (most years), eat out at favorite restaurants, have drinks and fun with friends, have treats, attend church services, visit special friends, and are active along with our down time.

This year being part of a pandemic, things are different.  We now wear masks when we go out, on the few occasions that happens. We are only getting food at the grocery store, as take-out or through the drive-thru and making quick trips to the drug store. We aren’t going to church but instead are watching services online. Also, we aren’t seeing very many people.

Life is not totally awful since we are homebodies and always have plenty to keep us busy. Still, the length of time where life has been so different does take its toll. So, we keep in touch with Zoom calls and meetings, textings, phone calls, dinners at home, and seeing neighbors while outside on walks.

We are not going out and doing as much as some of our loved ones and that is by choice. I am trying to keep us healthy and listening to the doctors and medical professionals. We are doing about the same as many of our loved ones. That is good since we are in this together but usually apart.

We are visiting family in North Carolina this summer but have mainly been at the house keeping busy with work. We always visit a few friends but that is not happening this year since they are in the high-risk groups. That is a bummer but we totally understand.

We like shopping at a favorite toy store each year. This time was different since they are booking appointments to have one family shop at a time. Also, masks are required for the entire time in the store. My thanks to them for that option in which I felt safe while shopping. A rare feeling these days.

I have friends and family who are going out and doing a lot more that we are. That is okay for them if they feel comfortable doing so. I, however, do not. At least not yet. As a single parent, I am doing all I can to keep myself and my son healthy. And, I have a few risk factors to keep in mind.

There is so much stress and awfulness happening right now. It is often hard to deal with. I am praying, trying to meditate to calm my mind, exercising, listening to music, reading my Bible and devotionals, trying to get enough sleep, talking with loved ones, and trying to eat well.

Still the doubts, worries, and concerns are there. We all have to do the best we can right now. I just hope and pray that we can help one another and support each other, rather than bringing harm to our loved ones.

With all of the uncertainties in the world, I am thankful for a few things:

  • Remotely watching my nephew’s high school graduation and seeing him receive his diploma. We were there in spirit!!
  • Watching my son build new Lego sets
  • Enjoying my son having time with his grandparents
  • Savoring a favorite meal that we have picked up or prepared
  • Shopping at the grocery store and choosing a delicious tomato
  • Having the option to order food online and then pick it up or have it delivered
  • Finding books at a used bookstore
  • Walks, bike/trike rides, and fresh air
  • Eating an almond strudel from a favorite bakery with a glass of cold milk
  • The anticipation of seeing Hamilton: The Musical online in the next week
  • Dinners with my parents and time to chat with them
  • Seeing loved ones and chatting with them online
  • Laughing with my siblings, cousins, aunt, nieces and nephews, and others during online chats
  • Working at home on a flexible schedule – a real blessing
  • Getting to know our neighbors and their new dog while social distancing outside
  • Listening to my son’s first D&D game online with family – he had a great time
  • Sitting on our front porch in the evening and chatting
  • Laughing with my son during an episode of Psych
  • Chatting for a long time with my son on many topics
  • Hearing about what our loved ones are doing
  • Having time to read a great book or watch a movie

I hope and pray that things will improve soon and the numbers of illness will go down.  I pray that people will be kind to one another and stop judging the wearing of a mask or not. It is not political, but a health care choice that each of us have to make.  At least it shouldn’t be political.

I pray that my loved ones continue to stay healthy. I really want to see them again and give them a hug. Again, not sure when that will be but I am hopeful. I pray that there can be real healing with all of us no matter our race, religion, education, profession, family situation or who we love. I hope and pray that the violence and racism will stop.

I pray that we have peace, respect for one another, and treat each other with kindness.  I pray that we learn from one another and listen to each other. I pray that our differences stop being hindrances and stop causing problems. I pray that we take care of one another and build one another up.  I pray that we always, always love.

Who Tells Your Story?

Alexander Hamilton (from Power Point clip art)

Who Lives? Who Dies? Who tells your story?  These are part of a song in the amazing musical, “Hamilton,” by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The show will soon be a movie and I for one cannot wait. Those lyrics are in two songs – first in History Has Its Eyes On You and later in a refrain.

Some of the other lyrics are:””Let me tell you what I wish I’d known when I was young and dreamed of glory. You have no control. Who lives, who dies, who tells your story. … And when you’re gone, who remembers your name? Who keeps your flame? Who tells our story?  …history has its eyes on you.”

A lot to think about, right? In my family, that person is my mother and before her my grandparents. Mom wrote a family book about her dad’s side of the family. We learned that some of our ancestors came over on the Mayflower. Amazing. Now, she is working on her mother’s family history and is able to go back to the 1300 and 1400s.

It means so much to know our family history and what the people many generations ago did: where they lived, who they married, and their children.  I am blessed and know that I am. And, over the course of this project, I have realized that not all people have this legacy.

My ancestors chose to come to America. They decided as a family to make the dangerous crossing across the ocean for a life in a new land. The ancestors of my black friends did not have that choice. They came as slaves, often forced on a boat in chains, or were born into slave families. Worst of all, they were treated as property.

The notion of owning a person is disgusting and quite troubling but was part of our nation’s history. In a PBS show about “Hamilton: The Musical,” Christopher Jackson was interviewed. He played the part of General George Washington and later our first President. Jackson said that he enjoyed doing the show but had a very hard time dealing with the fact that President Washington had owned people.

Many years later and thanks to President Abraham Lincoln and many others, slavery was abolished. Still it took centuries to make changes. There were struggles in the 1960s and a Civil Rights movement where some changes were made. Many people were killed during that fight, including the eloquent Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

But, we still aren’t past it. We are seeing that only too clearly again this year. The racism and hate is something I don’t like or understand. In fact, I am very much against it. However, I haven’t consistently done much about it. I haven’t thought about my privilege and for that I am sorry. There are things that I have taken for granted that so many families don’t have in their lives or that they are asked about or profiled about.

A partial photo of my son and his friend from several years ago.

It is time to change and realize that with the privilege comes responsibility. We need to stand up for our brothers and sisters and speak out against mistreatment, violence, and hate. We need to change the narrative, how we treat one another, and practice the love that Jesus taught us. And we need to vote for leaders at all levels of government who aren’t racist, but instead believe in real and true opportunities for all people.

As my son and I discussed yesterday, we are all made in God’s image. All of us – everyone. We are all equal. We all have value. The two of us talked about this and a lot of other things during the commercial breaks of the Sesame Street-CNN Town Hall on discussing racism with children and fighting against that racism.

It was stunning to see 6-year-old children asking why people didn’t like them because of their skin color, or how should they talk with police officers, or are their fathers safe?Also, a 12-year-old boy was interviewed and a clip was shown of him singing a song that his mother wrote. The song was called, I Just Want To Live. 

“…I am seeing what’s being done to my kind. Every day, I’m being hunted as prey… I just want to live,” sung by Keedron Bryant. These words gave me chills and I cried when I heard the entire song.

He is 12 and is singing about being hunted as prey.  That is shocking to me and should not be happening – to anyone. My son is in his age group, so it really hits home for me.  The fact that his mother wrote these words too is telling  She knows what can happen to black men, women, and children.  And, that to me is heartbreaking,

Let’s remember that the Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Sadly at the time that this declaration was written, black men and women were owned by white people and not treated as equals. That too is so very wrong but I know it happened. So, now it is long past time for all men and women to be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity.

We all need to be treated as equals by the government, by society, by police officers, by our religious leaders, by our medical community, by our schools and educational communities, by all walks of our lives, and by all of us.

We must do better for our fellow men and women, for our children, and for each other.  We must live in peace, not in violence or by causing harm. We must treat each other with respect and kindness, not disrespect or hate. We must remember that Black Lives Matter. And, we must remember to always love.

Let’s Remember That All Are Precious In His Sight

As the song goes that I learned as a child, “Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

We now have many mixes of those four colors as well as brown to include. And, Jesus loves them all.  So should we. Black lives matter. Brown lives matter.

We must love one another as He taught us to.  We must respect each other, be kind to one another, and say no to hate and violence. We must do better.

Too many black and brown people are being killed or injured.  Some have been at their homes, others have been jogging, others going about their lives, and others at the hands of police officers who should not be holding those positions.

I know police officers who are great people and treat people fairly and decently. They have said about this recent death of George Floyd that it was murder and was awful.  And, one police chief said if you think that incident was good policing, you need to turn in your badge and gun and quit the job.

It is heartbreaking to see and must stop. People also must stop fearing men who they may not know. Just because you look a certain way doesn’t make you a criminal.  And, calling the police on someone who isn’t committing a crime can lead to the man’s injuries and possible death, even if unintentionally.

What can we do about it? How can we change the racism that doesn’t seem to have gone away over all of these years? Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for it and died having been a peaceful protester. And, yet, he was still treated badly by some and treated as less than. Despite all he did, some still didn’t see him as an equal.

No one should be treated as less than. We are all special. We all have value. We are all equal. We are all to be respected and treated with kindness. We are all to be loved. We are also more alike than we are different. We all have loved ones, families, and friends.

May we remember that children have to be taught to dislike someone and to be racist.  They aren’t born thinking that way. They are born liking others and are able to make friends with many different people. Until someone does something that they may not like; then they might think differently. But, it is not because of what someone looks like.

My prayer is that this racism will stop. Our country has been dealing with this long enough — ever since slavery.  I had thought it was finished but we are seeing that it isn’t.  The number of people who have been protesting all over the country are wanting to do something about that.

I hope and pray that it will remain peaceful and be safe for all who gather. Today, George Floyd’s brother, Terrence, asked for people to stop the violence as that wasn’t what his brother would want. But, he appreciated those demonstrating peacefully and encouraged people to vote at all levels of government.

Those stoking the fires of hate and racism also need to stop. And, we need to stop listening to them. We need to turn that off and focus on love and kindness. We need to be better for one another and for our children and future generations.

Let us teach our children and each other that all people have value, that no one is better than others, and that racism is bad and should not be practiced. We are to love everyone as Jesus taught us to do.

My prayer is that the officers like the ones who killed George Floyd can be weeded out, and that those officers who are good and decent can continue to do their jobs well and with support for their communities, and that their communities support them.

I also pray that the harmful attitude towards black people and especially the men will change. No one should have to live their lives in fear that something will happen to them or that someone thinks they are less than.

I also pray that those protesting will stay safe and not get the coronavirus as they are peacefully gathering. I pray that those looting and destroying property will stop and realize they are doing harm to others. I also pray that the police officers responding to these events can have peaceful responses and discernment.

And, I pray that the escalation of hate and violence will stop. I pray that cool heads will prevail from all sides, and that kindness will be practiced. I pray for peace and respect for others.  And, I pray that we will always love.

(The pictures are from Power Point clip art.)