“I hate pandemics,” said my 9-year-old nephew.
“What’s a pandemic?” said his twin brother. That was after the whole world, including school, had shut down. Somehow twin number two hadn’t grasped all of the details.
I’m assuming you’ve heard there’s a pandemic.
Our first week in quarantine meant that I was home figuring out how to teach high school Spanish through Google Classroom, my husband was preaching to a virtual congregation and was setting up his office in our bedroom, and my mother-in-law and her sister were now depending on me to do all of the shopping. Every conversation became about Covid-19 and trying to absorb all of the ways it was causing loss and grief and fear in our lives and in the lives of our people locally and around the globe.
A Garbage Day Date
After one week of sheltering at home, garbage day came. It was a Tuesday morning, just like normal. Garbage truck drivers were naturally safe to go to work in a world of social distancing.
“Let’s make this a date,” I said.
Matt was game, so at about 9:00 in the morning, we put on our finest. I chose the dress I wore to my son’s wedding (this was early in the pandemic, so there was no worry I couldn’t fit into it anymore.) I put on makeup, earrings, a bracelet, and my fancy black heels with the shiny studs across the top band. Matt took off his pajamas and put on a full suit and tie.
“Which shoes should I wear with this suit?” he asked. (Was he really asking me this?)
“Definitely the black ones,” I said.
You guys, we looked so good. All dressed up, we went out and got our photographer. Matt’s mom followed us to the garage with her iPhone, and she took a whole roll of pictures, capturing our romance all along the way.
First, we stood for a pre-date picture, and I did a little heel kick showing my affection for the man. Click.
Next, we both put our hands on the dumpster handle and stared lovingly into one another’s eyes. Click.
Then we started walking, stopping to turn and pose for the camera. Click.
Once we got the dumpster to the street, we held hands over the lid and gave one another our best Hallmark gaze.
Lastly, Matt threw his jacket over his shoulder, and our photographer captured some fine action shots of us joyfully going home after our date.
We laughed all day about our “date.” Then I posted those pictures on my Instagram, and all our peeps laughed, too.
Choose to be cheerful
There is a verse in the Bible that says: All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast. (Proverbs 15:15 ESV)
Affliction is a great word for what we’re all experiencing. It means poor and needy, maybe even depressed because of our circumstances. We’re all experiencing loss at some level, with likely still more loss to come. Many are unemployed and struggling financially. We have friends who had to lay off all of their employees, not knowing for how long. My daughter had a baby during this pandemic, and we couldn’t visit her in the hospital. My son was just about to land a fantastic job, and those wheels stopped turning. And we have a friend whose husband went to be with Jesus because of the virus. She suffered at home alone, in quarantine.
There is great sorrow right now. Profound affliction.
Yet God’s wisdom says a cheerful heart has a continual feast, even when it doesn’t seem like there’s any good soul food.
In His Word
Consider one other verse: A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22 ESV)
In Your Life
We never want to make light of suffering, but I suggest that now is a great time to refine your sense of humor and search purposefully for ways to be playful and to laugh. Don’t allow your spirit to be so crushed that your bones dry up. Jesus loves you. God is still on his throne. The Good Shepherd is taking care of you and is near. There are good reasons to be joyful in affliction.
How could you bring cheer into your household today?
Don’t you get tired of going to bed at night feeling like a failure and then waking up the next day confident that you’re going to keep being a failure at just about everything? If so, you’re ready to read the encouraging truth in my book, Blameless.
With love from Montana,