What have you done over the last week?
We’ve had church at home, coordinated with neighbors on Facebook to find out which stores have certain staples in stock (bananas, bread, milk), done an equal amount of stress baking and forgetting to eat (well, just me, anyway), and, oh yeah—-we had an earthquake yesterday.
Oh, and our trip to Hawaii is off. And oh, my in-laws just got released and are coming back home ASAP from their mission because they’re in the higher risk demographic.
It’s been the strangest and longest week of my life.
Amidst endless explanations yesterday of what to do in an earthquake that about broke my heart in pieces, “Mom—you worry about the baby. I’ll worry about Mathias” (and don’t forget the most sincere prayer you’ve ever heard from an almost-5-year-old that not only asked for no more earthquakes, but where she also said, “And we love that we didn’t have any more yesterday. Please bless us to be grateful”), we’ve somehow been surviving.
Cooking for neighbors.
Knocking items off my to-do list.
Having quiet (and not quiet) play time.
Trying not to check social media and the news too much (and often failing).
Lately, I’ve started to ask myself three questions when faced with these unprecedented decisions at our doorstep, either on the bigger scale (should we let Raven continue to go to preschool?) or on the (seemingly) smaller scale (how can I stay calm at this very minute and keep my kids from going stir crazy?):
First—are my actions contributing to the problem or to the solution?
This has meant limiting trips to the store (and literally going nowhere else), and only buying what we need. It’s meant sanitizing my cart and hands when I do go, both when I enter and when I leave. It’s meant asking Raven every day before preschool how she’s feeling and making sure she washes her hands thoroughly when she gets back. (We will only allow her to keep going until there are cases in our county, then we won’t. FYI, her preschool group is small—only 5 kids coming at the moment, I believe.) It’s meant that when my in-laws are back home any day now, we will wait two weeks to see them.
It’s also meant putting my Big Girl Pants on and putting my Fun Mom hat on (admittedly, not one I wear often) and choosing actions where I don’t accidentally take out my stress on my family, especially my children, and where I don’t let the entirety of our lives grind to a halt. It’s meant building forts and bringing out supplies for crafts and reading lots of books and doing a Green Feast for St. Patrick’s Day and planning a mini Thanksgiving dinner for this Sunday, just because.
It’s meant making sure we all get fresh air every day and keeping our chicks out of trouble and going forward with our garden plans. It’s meant letting myself cry sometimes, and letting my kids know that it’s okay to be sad and cry too (like when we knew for sure that we wouldn’t be going to Hawaii, or when Raven had to grapple with the fact that there’s a very real possibility that literally none of our original plans for her birthday in a few weeks will work out).
The second thing I ask is when I’m feeling panicky or scared or unsure or worried—Am I spending more time in faith-building and wellness-building activities than I am in reading the news or on social media? (Hint: If I’m scared or panicky or anxious or worried, the answer is almost always no. And I make amends.)
Just like our body needs constant nourishment, so do our mind and spirit. And they will feed off of whatever it is they’re “consuming,” whether that be alarming news feeds, comforting video chats with family, erroneous or anxiety-inducing social media shares, or quiet time in the scriptures or other inspirational material. Which of those do you think will help the most? (I know you already know. The trick is just acting on that knowledge, which can be just as hard for me as for anyone else.)
And lastly, I think of the long-term. My father-in-law, in one of his last mission emails, wrote this as his subject line—“Where were you when COVID-19 hit?” For some reason, that really hit me: I realized that we are living through a historical event that will be talked about again and again in the years to come, that will become a landmark in our lives.
And so my last question to myself is this—“How do I want to remember this time, and what do I want to be able to tell my grandchildren about it?”
Frankly, I don’t want to tell them that I was panicky or anxious and forever on social media sharing memes (although, for the record, the humorous memes have been sort of awesome on this). I want to tell them that this was a time when we drew immeasurably closer together as a family, and when we learned even more to trust in God. I want to tell them that we still found ways to serve others, and that our community and our nation banded together to tackle the problem.
I want to tell them that we found our hearts being broken open even more, to let in more light and more compassion. I want to tell them we brought donations to the food bank, that we took meals to neighbors, that we shared what we had.
Like all of you, we’re trying to carve out our new normal, which will mean messiness and mistakes and not-proud moments sometimes as we all have a steep learning curve (in order to flatten the curve). One thing I do want to get back into is blogging more regularly, as it helps me stay sane and as there are still a lot of posts I’m excited to share (which might give you some relief from ‘Rona, in case you’re needing that).
For today, I just wanted to let you know where we’re at. To let you know that we’re all safe and healthy (for the record, Matt was the only one in our house who was awake during the earthquake—apparently the rest of us will sleep through anything). And I also hope that YOU are safe. That you are finding ways to be well, both physically and mentally.
We’ll get through this.
Love you all!
Feel free to share this if you found it helpful!
P. S. I read a talk from my church’s last General Conference that spoke so much peace to my heart that I wanted to share it. I encourage anyone who needs a little more peace right now to read it, whether you’re of my faith or not. The link is here: “Consistent and Resilient Trust”
P. P. S. I’m still planning on sending out my monthly email to subscribers this month, so if you haven’t yet gotten on my email list, click here so you’ll get those!