I would like to tell you that we have been well here in the Q (that’s what I’m calling the quarantine because it makes me feel like I am at a trendy restaurant instead of at home in dirty pajamas with a bunch of sickies). In the past two weeks, all four of us have had to visit the doctor, three out of four of us have had fevers and are on antibiotics, and one out of four us had an emergency root canal and an oozing-infected eye. Our house sounds like a cacophony of coughing, nose-blowing, whining (me), and an occasional wince (dying tooth). All this while worries about the coronavirus lurk in the crevices of my head that aren’t already filled with infected sinuses. In addition, we have implemented a new homeschool regimen, a work from home office, and an innovative exercise regimen of video games, backyard pacing akin to caged zoo animals; and playing keep away from the pollen that won’t keep away.
Still, there have been bright spots — praying the rosary as a family; the intimacy of Sunday mass at home; a birthday boy to celebrate; and time sitting outside just being. I appreciate the simplicity of this life in the Q, the perspective it illuminates about what really matters, and the extra time it’s given me to be with my family — as germy as they may be. For all of it, I am thankful.
Here’s what else I am thankful for:
LENT DAY 22: I am thankful for teachers. Most of us who are just days into our unplanned homeschooling gig, are feeling homesick for the nurturing, committed professionals we entrust our children to daily.
To the teachers:
What can I say? Thank you seems too trite, like a mere nod to your efforts when you clearly are worthy of an embrace. At the same time, that’s awkward isn’t it — to have all of us mamas hugging on you? Besides, it violates social distancing guidelines.
What can I do? Nothing I could buy could compensate you for the way you have stepped up, poured out, and gone above in your efforts to educate your students. (I know I should try anyway.)
How can I show you how much you have made a difference? From teaching my children to love reading to showing them how we love others, you have shaped them. From ordinary moments, you uncovered interests, carved out strengths, and careened them away from wayward paths by your own beautiful examples of Christ’s love.
When would I be able to tell you how much you staying after school to host clubs and sports and extracurriculars has given my children confidence, tenacity, and cherished memories with their friends?
Henry Adams said, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Likewise, I can never tell you where my gratitude ends. It’s kind of like the last 10 minutes of class after a long day. It just goes on and on.
LENT DAY 23: I am thankful for my home. I feel like I’m on house arrest with this quarantine and being confined to this space makes me realize how grateful I am to have it. It’s a respite from life’s tilt-a-whirl spin — the place I feel most like myself. It is freedom from all the world’s want. Content in the stillness of pleasures as simple as the cat folding its doughy body into a warm circle on my lap, I know peace.
Home shelters the love of my family; it shelters my heart.
LENT DAY 24: I am thankful for play. I am thankful for big boxes that invite me inside – for spontaneity and silliness. I am grateful for moments where everything isn’t serious or dire or urgent — when self-consciousness isn’t more important than self.
Play nice. But make sure you play.
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” ~ Meister Eckhart
LENT DAY 25: I am thankful for nature. This is where words fail me because what God creates in nature is so organically stunning that my words feel plastic in comparison. So I will silence my words and listen to the ants march, leaves rustle, breeze whistle, birds chirp, and blooms whisper. And I will be awed by the glory of God.
LENT DAY 26: I am thankful for technology. Most days, I would rather complain about how it pings at me; how it makes my already fragmented mind feel like it has 100 more tabs open; how it brainwashes my children; and challenges my own self-worth. But today, huddled around the television with my family watching Bishop Estevez celebrate mass I realized how much good technology makes possible too.
I am grateful that in this time of social distancing, technology connects us. It reminds us that we aren’t alone. It gives us a platform to reach out to others, to offer encouragement, and to share our faith.
Let’s show Covid-19, how we Christians do viral by using technology to spread love to our neighbor.
LENT DAY 27: I am thankful for birthdays. Life is a gift. Birthdays remind us to celebrate. It doesn’t matter how many candles are on the cake, or if no one can find the matches to light the candles. It doesn’t even matter if there is a cake. Ice cream is more important anyways. What matters is that we recognize that every life should be celebrated and every day is a chance to be a gift to someone else.
(Happy 15th birthday to my joy, Alex. He didn’t get a train-shaped cake or the learner’s permit he so badly wanted today, but he has a mama that loves him more than anyone on this earth. I would like to think that makes up for all of it!)
LENT DAY 28: I am thankful for joy. It is of God – a glimpse of what awaits. Unlike happiness, it isn’t fleeting. We experience it in the people we love, the memories we cherish, and in our relationship with Christ.
Joy to the World isn’t just a song we sing during Christmas. It’s a call to love that we answer as Christians.