Looking For The Silver Lining

It dawned on my last night that it has literally been years since I didn’t feel rushed. I have prayed for a long time for God to help me feel “un-rushed” but I really haven’t done anything to help myself. I just wanted Him to grant me that feeling of having a clear agenda without actually clearing it. I am, by nature, a “people person”. I like to see people and talk to people, and I am constantly adding things to my calendar. I am a neurotic list maker and constantly have a task or a project on which to work. I am never bored.

But, this COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to slow down. We find ourselves in an unprecedented situation where everything is cancelled, and we are asked to just stay home. Stay home??!! And do what?! I don’t even like TV—it is something I use to fall asleep, not to entertain myself! And yet, as my life crawls to an eerily slow pace, I find myself feeling….peaceful. Settled. Easy.

I am working on projects that I have put off for a long time. I am weeding my garden and preparing it for planting. My children are essentially reclaiming their childhood. They have fished in our pond for over nine hours in two days, and last night, we cooked their catch for supper. There has been very little fussing, everyone wakes up happy, and we are eating more homecooked meals than we have in a long time. They are riding their bikes for more than just two laps and without me hollering to hurry up and get in the car. We have had a BB gun shooting contest. The fresh air is doing us good—no coronavirus here!

Yesterday morning, I went for a walk, alone, down my street. A pair of bluebirds sat on the fence posts just down from me and as I got close to them, they would fly a few more fence posts down and land. We did this for a good quarter mile. When was the last time I noticed the little bluebirds that live in the box we put up for them a decade ago? When was the last time I spent over 30 minutes, awake, and not glancing at my phone. We talk about kids and devices, but maybe we adults have a problem too.

When I got home from work Friday evening, I was stressed and spent emotionally, physically, mentally. The past couple of weeks have been taxing on everyone in healthcare. Trying to balance, “take this very seriously, but don’t panic” with the constant, and I mean constant, influx of information local, state, and national agencies is exhausting. As a healthcare provider, you want to do everything you can to not only protect your patients, but your own family as well. I am so blessed to have my grandparents still living and thriving in my hometown, but I worry about them taking the quarantine seriously. I am sad to not be able to go visit them right now. We have an annual egg hunt at our farm that isn’t going to happen this year, and our fundraiser efforts for our next mission trip have been cancelled. Figuring out how to best communicate this information to our patients and community members requires creativity and planning, and yet, just moments after releasing information, recommendations change again. I literally sent my staff four emails in eight hours, and wound up changing our plans the next morning. Who isn’t tired right now? And who of us isn’t just sick of hearing about and talking about and planning around coronavirus?

But back to Friday night. I walked out to the barn to let David know I was home, and the Purple Martins were doing their nightly grand finale. Purple Martins are a migrating bird that send a scout in mid-February from South America. If they find their annual home in good shape, the rest of the flock arrives within a couple of weeks. For our family, it is a signal that Spring is just around the corner, and we look forward to hearing their song each year. I call their nightly routine their grand finale because they all fly and chirp and sing and circle and swoop around their gourds one last time in the early evening before all settling down for the night at one time. As more than sixty of these swallow type birds settled in Friday night, I was reminded of the words of Jesus from Matthew 6: 25-33:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Friends, we don’t have to worry. These are crazy times we are living in and none of us know what to expect or what tomorrow will bring, but do we ever know? All I know is that Jesus loves me. He loves you. He loves my babies more than I do, and He has loved my parents and grandparents their entire lives. He delights in those Purple Martins just like my family does. Those birds don’t know anything about COVID-19; they just do what God made them to do, and so should we. Let’s love each other by doing our part and staying home. Let’s check on each other and use technology to our advantage to stay in touch. Let’s eat at home and take the time to be active. We just might find that we come out of this “crisis” healthier, more connected, more settled, and with a better perspective. Hang in there, friends! This too shall pass!

In His Love,

Dr. Allison Key

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