Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Seeking To Bring The Kingdom In Small Ways

I saw a meme on Instagram earlier this week that said, "What a year this week has been", and isn't that the truth? When I shared my last post about my Spring Home Blessing, the panic surrounding CoVid19 had yet to hit. I was aware of it, of course, but like so many other viruses over the years, especially those that arise in other parts of the world, I didn't give it much thought. But then late last week my daughter and I were out shopping, when I overhead a number of women say that they had just come back from Walmart, Target, CVS,  and they were all running out of toilet paper. It was then that I realized that perhaps I should give this a little more thought.

Twenty four hours later, life as we knew it had come to an abrupt halt. My husband, who is 65 pre-diabetic and often susceptible to respiratory illnesses, informed his job (a big box retailer), that he would not be returning for the foreseeable future. We made lists, stocked up on food and the necessary items we thought that we will need (no hoarding here, we were considerate), and went into self imposed quarantine. I've  established a daily cleaning protocol, wiping down all surfaces with more frequency, a daily round of cleaning light switches, handles, door knobs, and processing laundry daily. My seasonal home blessing quickly evolved into a daily prayer for protection. So far, we are good. They say there are no reported cases in our area (as of today), but I'm not putting my faith in those numbers. We're assuming it's already here and doing what we can to limit the spread in our home. Our daughter, who is 20, is still required to work, so that does pose some threat. But if I've learned anything over the past fews days it's that I can't control this. All we can do is the best we can do to try to prevent it in our homes and families, and rather than living in fear (I do have my moments), we have to rely on our faith in God. This may have taken us a bit by surprise, but not our Father.

I've been reading from Be Not Afraid by Richard Havermale and in yesterday's reading I came across these words.

"The Lord our God calls us to His service. This is the message of St. Therese of Lisieux, that we are called and we should have great confidence and humility seeking to bring the kingdom in small ways and asking our Lord to multiply our efforts."  

The author goes on to say that the greatest way that we can bring the Kingdom is in our families. He explains that families are under attack from a media that pushes instant gratification, but in light of recent events, I would insert CoVid 19. But I do want to temper that statement by saying that I don't believe that all of the information the media provides is harmful. We just have to injest it with a certain amount of caution, because there are so many conflicting reports and honestly so much that we don't know about this virus. If you aren't careful it can become overwhelming.

I found that happening to me yesterday. I had spent the greater part of the morning seeking out information about the latest statistics and the nation and state's response when suddenly I found myself becoming extremely nauseated, a physical reaction manifested by the stress that was building as I processed the alarming figures. Thankfully I was able to tie the two together pretty quickly, and my husband suggested that we go for a walk to work off some of the stress that we were both feeling by then. I was reluctant at first because it was misty and not as warm as I would have liked, especially since it was damp, but he encouraged me to try and I'm so glad I did. We walked for probably an hour, exploring the neighborhood around our home. There were people out, but we practiced keeping a wide birth between us, and you could tell that others were intent upon doing the same. We've decided for the time being, or at least until we are advised otherwise, to make it a regular part of our day.

As we walked I began thinking about ways that I could "bring the Kingdom" into the midst of our lives during this time, which I believe rests primarily in acts of service to one another. I love my family more than words could adequately express, but I think we all might be a little challenged in the coming weeks, living so closely and with very little time apart. I know for me, an Enneagram 5, it will be particularly hard as I thrive on time alone.And my daughter, who is an Enneagram 7, will have her own struggles as she is the complete opposite and functions best when surrounded by friends. We are going to have to impart a lot of grace in the days ahead to make the best of this.

That being said, in considering the needs of my family, I've jotted down a few ideas for how I can perform small acts of service, or "bring the kingdom", into our home.

- Plan special meals that appeal to the tastes of each family member. My daughter loves meatloaf, mashed pototos and field peas, so I already have that on the rotation. But my husband is much more health-conscious eater and prefers salads, so most of our lunches will satisfy him. I'm a mixture of the two, so I'm good either way!

- Plan for fun! I've already looked though our games and puzzles and I'm hoping that by engaging my daughter in this way that it will help her to ease her anxiety over the lack of social interaction with her friends. Movies are another activity I hope we can enjoy together. My daughter has her own TV in her room, but since we may very well be her only source of socializing, at least face-to-face, this may need to happen with more frequency.

Additionally, I'll need to monitor my own needs and balance them against the needs of my family. That will mean less time alone for me, but I also need to not be afraid to ask for it if and when I need it. The key for me is going to be recognizing that and making sure that I don't wait until I've over extended myself and perhaps become harsh in my communication. To aide me in that I've already thought through how that might be accomplished and arrived on a couple of areas where I can retreat for a bit to unwind and recharge. Thankfully in our planning to be home for the foreseeable future, my husband had the insight to encourage me to buy some plants for our balcony to make it more inviting, and even went as far as to go ahead an make a purchase of some more comfortable chairs. They were already on our list of things to buy for our transition to life on the road (which has obviously been delayed), but he felt it would be good to go ahead and get them now since the chairs we currently have are pretty, but not particularly comfortable. I'm thankful for his insight and willingness to make this happen. It's a perfect example of being sensitive to each other's needs during this time.

I'm sure there are many more things that will come to mind as the days and weeks progress. Even my amped up cleaning routine is an act of service to my family, another way of "bringing the Kingdom down". And I am certain there are some things that will reveal themselves as our needs arise. As I said, we can't control the circumstances in the world today, we can only do our best to make our homes a haven of rest.

Do you have any suggestions? What changes have you made, and how are you adjusting your schedules and expectations to meet the challenge? I'd love to hear your thoughts! We're all in this together friends, so lets encourage each other on! Let's do our best bring the Kingdom into the days and weeks ahead!  I'll be checking back in with updates, and I'd love to hear from you!

Until then,


pam said...

We are doing similar to you as far as the Corona virus goes. We've also got my ailing 80+ year old mother living with us, which is a concern, too. Our 20 year old daughter works at Chick Fil A, so she's "out" each day, so that concerns me as well. She doesn't seem all that concerned about the Corona virus, but I've been the Nazi when she walks in the door that she must go straight to the sink and wash those. hands. But like you, I can just do what I can do and let go of what I cannot control, and pray to the One who is in control.

As for the rest of us, we continue schooling while my husband continues to work from home.

Kimberly Lottman said...

It is so good to hear from you, Pam! I will be praying specifically for your mother, I am sure that is hard. ((HUGS)) to you and yours. <3 Kim