Deep evergreens and our magnificent blue spruce trees look spectacular against a high blue New Mexico sky. From our kitchen and family room windows, the sight of the pinion and cedar trees is thrilling, and from the living room and bedroom, we can see the blue spruce and across the valley to more evergreens. These are God’s mercies we can see anew every morning – well, blue skies almost every morning. Looking out just thrills my heart! It reminds me of an old hymn that says:
Lord, in the morning Thou shalt hear my voice ascending high;
To Thee shall I direct my prayer, To Thee lift up mine eye.
Okay, like you, we are sequestered in the house and away from others at this moment, but there’s so much we CAN do to keep us occupied and not worried about the Coronavirus that is spreading like a wildfire in our country. Because of the intensity of the virus, we are all “quarantined” until it’s over, and it can be difficult to not see friends or run to the grocery store on a whim, but it does call us to other pursuits. We do have a trusted couple who are neighbors and equally sensitive to the virus and protection from it, and we see them a couple times a week, just to exchange something we have made in our kitchen. It’s become a tradition; she cooks something and brings some of it here, and I do the same, taking her goodies I’ve made.
Yesterday, I sprayed the inside of the car with disinfectant, let it dry and air out, and told Ron that we were going for a ride – just for a change of scenery. He was indeed enthused for the change, because just sitting in his recliner with his iPad or watching decent things on TV gets boring. Considering the stage of his Parkinson’s, there is precious little he can do on his own, but looking out on this beautiful mountain scenery, helps our frame of mind. We took a picnic, found a lovely spot, rolled down the windows for fresh air, and ate in the car. It was a fun thing to do and gave us a new perspective and some outdoor enjoyment. When we came home we turned on TV church from the Loma Linda University Church – amazing! How in the world Stew Harty (the head of the church’s Media Program) can pull off what he does is totally amazing! Musicians played the in-home organ or piano while others sang in harmony – and they were all in their respective residences! Ron and I were amazed! You can go to YouTube and find the channel where the weekly service is broadcast, but of course, because of the virus, no one is at the church; still we loved the service!
Today I hope to get my Ron out to our patio, where I will do a bit of transplanting of the African violets, and plant a few herbs I bought at Walmart. They have been getting stronger on the kitchen window sill for a while now, waiting for the NM winds to slow down. How I love to harvest them fresh when I need them for cooking, or dry them in the fall to use all winter. I grow them in raised pots to save on old age back strain. Nectar for the humming birds is made and cooling now and will be put into the feeder for the thirsty little ones later today. The weeds in Holly’s (our mini-Schnauzer) run are three feet high and must be cut down! I will ask our son-in-law to start the weed whacker for me, so that Holly doesn’t get lost among the intrusive weeds. A bit more of the fresh mountain air will do us good!
While Ron sleeps in this morning, I have the opportunity to write this newsletter, and catch up with a couple of friends by e-mail. This is precious time for me to write – working on the two books I am writing at present.
From what I hear, some folk are already “stir-crazy,” having to be quarantined at home during the pandemic. We get so used to our routine, our friendships, our outings, etc. that we have become addicted to “our way.” I am also like that to a degree. I can look around our living room and see objects that were given to us or inherited from folk in our family, and it’s easy to become addicted to things, to objects, because they remind us of those we love or have loved us in past years. The china closet is filled with such treasures, but they are about to go to the next two generations in our family.
Jesus is speaking to his disciples, the multitude and to us today, in Matthew 6: 29 where He counsels:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
And you know, I think it’s the same way with our ways of living life, our routines. They too can become treasures, idols or addictions, things we must have. Be ever-so-careful though, my friends, because addictions stem from unresolved childhood rejections, where we put things (objects) and routines where relationships should be. Consider using this time to work through one of our recovery programs: Binding the Wounds, Binding the Wounds Shorter Version, or The Journey. They are available at www.LifeRenewal.org.
Such a program can hold you in good stead for the rest of your life. It’s amazing what you can learn about yourself and life in general!
So in this time of the fear that many experience because of the pandemic, in this time when folk are upset and stir-crazy because they are sequestered at home, ask God to show you new and different things you can do to make the time enjoyable. If you’re like me, you’ve wanted to peruse through your library for books you no longer need, through your closet for clothes you haven’t worn in months or years, through your tools for multiple screwdrivers all the same size, for anything you don’t need or use. Plan for a giant yard sale or donate after the virus has passed, to your local library, to Goodwill, or a different thrift shop. Wrap up some of your precious treasures to pass down to the next generation. Make this time of quarantine one of memories you have made with your in-home family. Write to your friends by e-mail or letter, sing old hymns or songs with your mate, plant those seeds you’ve saved up, and enjoy all the fresh air you can get. In a way, it’s like cleaning out your brain and your heart, so there is more room for Jesus Christ, and for your loved ones. And while you’re at it, look heavenward at deep blue skies, budding and blossoming trees, twinkling stars at night, and thank God for His unending love and protection. A grateful heart is as good as a medicine!
Back to that old hymn . . .
The men that love and fear Thy name shall see their hopes fulfilled;
The mighty God will compass them with favor as a shield.