Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Thanks, COVID-19

My husband, who typically travels the great plains weekly from January 15 – April 15, has been issued a flight travel ban through May and frankly, I’m not handling it well. 

He wants to talk. 
He wants to be included in meals. 
He wants me to run the headgate while he breeds cows. 
He wants to begin watching a movie at 8:00 PM, oblivious to the fact that I prefer to be in bed before 9:00. 

Thanks, COVID-19, for bringing Cody back home early so we unexpectedly have a full dining room table this season. 

The COVID-19 virus situation has transpired into a much bigger issue than initially thought. I never dreamed a bat in Wuhan would inspire me to find what lies on the bottom of our deep freezer (beef soup bones from 2013 when we bought the farm). 

Thanks, COVID-19, for reminding me how fortunate we are to have a freezer full of food for our family. 

My role as an agricultural communicator has been kicked into high gear as we work to tell the public on radio, web and in print that our work as your local farmer-owned cooperative is essential and we will continue to operate as long as we legally can. We have homes to heat, first responder fleets to fuel and a 2020 crop to get into the ground so we can supply the global food chain. 

Thanks, COVID-19, for giving me professional purpose outside of the home, while I write to remind the 300 folks who work for Harvest Land Co-op that the work they do daily is absolutely essential to the rest of our community. 

Late last week Cody went to Lafayette to pick up beef embryos, so the kids and I went into town for a walk. When I was expecting Cyrus in 2018, Caroline and I walked the same route through town multiple times a week. We haven’t been back since he was born. 

It was fascinating that we’d pass a house – or even a dog statue on Sycamore Street – and Caroline would remember it from two years ago. She remembered big hills on Parkway Drive where I inevitably get winded (I’m not even 6 months pregnant this time) and she was quick to point out her beloved veterinarian’s house on Washington. It is foolish of us to think children aren’t paying attention.

On this particular walk, we entered West Lawn Cemetery and that really changed our exercise routine. I figured if the official instruction was to stay further than 6 feet from the rest of the public, a cemetery was surely safe ground. 

Boy, was I wrong. 

I saw gals I went to high school with. Caroline saw pre-school buddies. We saw old family friends who hadn’t even met Cyrus, yet. And also strangers so eager to say hello. It was sincerely the most joyful time I’ve ever spent in a cemetery. 

Then came the questions from the 3 ½-year-old:

  • If people are in heaven, why did you put rocks on them? To keep them in there?
  • Why does that one have an angel on it?
  • Look, Mommy! A rock puppy! Is the puppy in there?
  • Is this where Great-Grandma lives?
  • Why haven’t they taken down the Christmas tree?
  • Does Santa live in heaven, and that’s why we never see him?

Thanks, COVID-19, for presenting these moments where I have an opportunity to (try to) explain heaven to our children. 

I don’t take lightly the number of people who are economically affected by this pandemic. Homebuilders, daycare workers, restaurateurs, beauticians, bartenders, teachers, librarians, those in food service and retail, the list goes on. The financial loss that will affect nearly every American due to this outbreak could linger for years.

Thanks, COVID-19, for teaching us a lot. 

Thanks, COVID-19, for teaching us to break bread again. 
We sit down around the same table and share a meal, as intended. We have a brief (how fast can brother inhale his supper these days?) conversation about the day and likely about tomorrow, too. We connect. Wifi not included. 

Thanks, COVID-19, for removing so much distraction. 
Thanks for allowing us to read a book, thoughtfully prepare for a garden, make an intentional grocery list, learn from our devotions without rush, read a book to our grandchildren. 

Thanks, COVID-19, for keeping us home. 
Quarantined together, against a culture that tells us to be anywhere but within the walls of the family home. Thanks for reminding us who will be there, under the same roof, when nothing else in the world seems to make sense. 

This will change how we do business, eat, lead families, live. 
There is a tremendous opportunity to learn before us. 
A tremendous opportunity to learn, and I hope it isn’t only to wash your hands regularly. 

But if it is: Please make sure you utilize the full 20 seconds. And use the brush.