coronavirus, Journal

Coronavirus Lockdown Journal Week 4: April 13-19

On March 19, 2020 California Governor Newsom announced a statewide stay-at-home order. Here is a screenshot from my phone:

Recently both the county and state extended the lockdown to May 1st. With the president and governors talking about opening up the economy again, there is hope this lockdown will end soon.

Until then, Lori and I plan to post a weekly journal updated every day or two to mark thoughts, reflections, and news related to life sheltering-at-home.

This is week 4 of the lockdown.

Follow the Coronavirus Journal Series!

Coronavirus Lockdown Journal Week 3: April 6-12

Coronavirus Lockdown Journal Week 5: April 20-26

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Family Connections During the Lockdown

I’m amazed at how well the family is able to stick together during the lockdown despite the distance between us. With children in two different places, and grandparents also in two different locations, it takes effort and persistence to connect. But we do in so many valuable ways.

I especially felt blessed by last week’s Easter Service over FaceTime. The girls led songs while I guided us through readings from John 20 and Matthew 28. During the discussion on fear and faith over Mark 8 everyone participated in sharing their thoughts and personal application.

Today’s interactions showed me just how dynamic and fun family chats and calls can be.

This afternoon Lydia forwarded to the family photos of my parents wearing the masks she made for them. Of course Ye Ye and Nai Nai are thrilled at their granddaughter’s ingenuity and love.

The photo of my parents inspired me to call them. I talked to my dad, George, for almost forty-five minutes. Somehow we started talking about the tenth anniversary of his retirement this month and memories from his time working. We also discussed the recent lockdown protests in his town, Huntington Beach, and how we’re managing staying at home.

Later, Lydia and I exchanged blogs for each other to edit. She worked faster than I, although her writing carried much more depth than mine. I edited my blog before posting the draft in the WordPress account.

Lori and I spent some time in the backyard during a perfect afternoon. We first roasted coffee together (which I summarily dumped on the concrete while cooling them), and placed garden lights around the pathway. In the early evening we cooked dinner together–a new pasta recipe.

Before eating Tim and I played some Pokémon Go (well I played and he coached me in battle league). He then turned on the Nintendo Switch to play Animal Crossing. Our dinner music included songs from K.K. Slider (it’s Saturday Tim reminded me when K.K. takes requests). He asked me if I had any songs for K.K. to play, and I just stared blankly at him.

I don’t always take note of these interactions among family members, but today it struck me how we can still be a close family despite the staying-at-home in different places.

Of course, I still prefer times we can all be in the same location. Hopefully one day soon (Memorial Day? Earlier?) we’ll be able to gather together for dinner around the table partaking a meal and catching each other up on the latest.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Fleeting Nature of Life–Psalm 39 (Howard)

I chatted about dying from Covid-19 with a friend during an interaction I had early in the coronavirus lockdown. I had delayed processing the possibility of dying from the virus. They, however, could say with confidence that their life is in God’s hands.

Psalm 39 shows another person, the Psalmist David, in a dark time of his life. Perhaps he is sick in his old age, or he is under pressure from one of his enemies. Either way, with the reality of his life in the balance, he sought the Lord to know the brevity of life and live for the right purposes:

4 “Show me, Lord, my life’s end
    and the number of my days;

    let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
    the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
    even those who seem secure.

“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
    in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
    without knowing whose it will finally be.

“But now, Lord, what do I look for?
    My hope is in you.

He acknowledges that people are but a breath (v.5), but some still feel secure this world. They might feel secure in their busyness or wealth. The truth, though, is that hope in this world is an insecure hope ultimately.

David doesn’t leave us feeling hopeless or helpless in the face of the fragility of life. Instead, he proclaims that “My hope is in you.” The preceding question is quite relevant today as well: “But now, Lord, what do I look for?”

My initial response to this question as the lockdown drags on is a vaccine, effective treatment, or the economy recovering quickly. But the answer is more of a “who” than a “what.”

Finally, the psalmist looks to “enjoy life again,” while recognizing that he is a foreigner or traveler in this world:

12 “Hear my prayer, Lord,
    listen to my cry for help;

    do not be deaf to my weeping.
I dwell with you as a foreigner,
    a stranger, as all my ancestors were.
13 Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again
    before I depart and am no more.”

Indeed, this world is not my final destination. Paul said that our “citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20) and Peter that we are “foreigners and aliens” in this world (1 Peter 2:11).

I can’t wait for this coronavirus lockdown to end, and it might soon. But I never want to forget the lesson that life is fragile, and to live purposely and joyfully with God with the time he’s given me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Still Life (Lori)

I am admittedly an unaccomplished artist, but I do enjoy amateur photography. Modern technology makes it so easy! I just take photos on my smart phone. This photo is one I would title, “Still Life.”

But what is still life?

Is it an almost-empty cup of coffee, a raspberry waffle and a red rose from the garden? Does that photo accurately represent my life now?

With the shelter-in-place currently in effect, I do have a more still life. It came after a very hectic period of time for me, so it was not easy to slow down. I fought it hard at first. I questioned my value as a human being.

What am I doing with my time if I’m not being productive? Am I just wasting it? This time has changed my perspective on what is valuable and productive.

The morning seems the right time to enjoy a cup of coffee and a waffle. The afternoon is time spent in the garden to smell the fragrance of a rose. To sit down and pet the dog. To message a friend and talk about nothing in particular.

What am I doing with my time if I’m not being productive? Am I just wasting it? This time has changed my perspective on what is valuable and productive.

In the evening there is dinner to prepare and creatively cook with pantry items. To video message with the family and express my love for them. I am learning that kindness is not necessarily the most efficient way to spend my time.

It is a more thoughtful, deliberate approach to life. But it just might be a more valuable way to live.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Observing the Coronavirus Pandemic’s Local Impact (Howard)

I like to take walks with the first stop at Rick Gonzalez, Sr. Park near our house. The park was a dirt and weed field for a few years after we moved in until the City gathered enough funds to build out most of it (still waiting for tennis and basketball courts).

A sign now states that playing on the playground equipment is at your own risk. When the lockdown began I saw families gathering still at the park. After the sign went up, the park went quiet.

I’m sad these days more than I’d like to admit. What’s happening in our world during this pandemic is hard to comprehend. It’s overwhelming to consider the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people who have contracted Covid-19. Everyday Lori and I pray for healthcare workers, researchers, patients, families, and others impacted by this crisis.

I’m sad these days more than I’d like to admit. What’s happening in our world during this pandemic is hard to comprehend.

The other day I dropped by my church, which of course was empty. I needed something from my office, which I grabbed quickly before heading back home. The sign on the front of the church door stated that all in-person gathering are suspended.

Besides empty streets, churches, and parks, I read about a nursing home here in our small town dealing with a Covid-19 outbreak. One facility accounts for a third of our county’s confirmed cases. I felt saddened reading about the fear, anxiety, and death associated with the nursing home.

This strange and unusual situation will end at some time, it must. Easter weekend came at a time when I needed the message of Jesus’ resurrection the most. Death is overcome, pandemic’s will cease, He will wipe away every tear. Hoping these promises comes soon.