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Go Home and Love Your Family

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

You know when people are asked the question, "What do you want most?" and we all make fun of that cliche answer "World peace"? The truth is, I think all of us would absolutely like to see world peace, we just truly have no idea how to go about it. Or, perhaps, we have so many ideas that we can't agree on or implement one to see if it would work.

Well, years ago Mother Teresa (now Saint Teresa of Calcutta) told us all very simply what we needed to do to achieve world peace:



This quotation has been on my mind the past couple of days as we have all been trying our best to navigate the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in. Right now, we are all being forced, more or less, to be at home with our families. Only our families.

I would obviously never wish for this virus to happen. The amount of death, sickness, fear, selfishness, and other negative things that are happening is truly awful. Like many, I especially worry about our children, making sure they have enough food and worrying about the ones with questionable home lives. But the truth is, this is where we find ourselves and any amount of wishing we weren't or placing blame or whatever else isn't going to help anyone right now. I think what we're left to do right now is try to find any good we can in this situation. And here's what I've been thinking about that:

I think most of us would agree that Americans are very "busy" people. I think busy is sometimes worn as a badge of honor for people, like we feel if we are not busy busy busy then we're not doing what we're "supposed" to do. I can be very guilty of this also. When I first became a stay-at-home mother this school year, I found myself "justifying" my day to Joe when he got home from work (even though he didn't ask and didn't care): I would enumerate the list of ways I had contributed to our family that day -- laundry, cleaning, making dinner -- as though taking care of 1-month-old baby, or, heck, just simply being a person in this family, wasn't enough. I had to train myself to think differently, and I'm still working on it. I feel like most people I know are always running around: they don't have time to cook dinner or eat as a family, they don't have time to read or rest, they don't have time to do things just for fun. Do you know anyone like this? But think about what's going on now. We are literally being told -- almost ordered -- to just stay home. We can't go to work or school. We can't go to restaurants or bars. We can't go to the movies or the library (sob!). Kids can't go to afterschool activities or sports. Heck, we can't even walk in the park with our friends unless we stand six feet away from them. The only thing left for us to do is to stay at home. That's it. We have to stay at home with our immediate families.

Maybe we could see this aspect as a blessing? A way to promote world peace, as Mother Teresa said.

Again, I know that there are many people who have incredibly difficult home lives. There are also so many people -- many I know and love -- who are doctors, nurses, paramedics, law enforcement, and people who provide products to these industries and who do not have the luxury of deciding to stay at home. But for those of us who are able to stay at home maybe we could take this opportunity to slow down, reset, and rediscover our love of a simple life at home with our families?

Joe is having to work some right now. He is trying to do as much as he can from home and limit his out-of-home work to smaller places and spaces. But he has been here for breakfast these past few days, and it's been so nice. He usually only eats with us on Saturdays and Sundays, but this week Joe has been able to feed Bert his breakfast. It's been so wonderful for both of them. Joe has been here more often, which means instead of seeing Bert only from 7-8 a.m. and then again from 6-7 p.m. Joe gets to see him during a usual day doing his usual things that Joe hardly ever gets to see. I choose to see this as a blessing to our family.

I spent a couple of days being very upset (I mean actually crying upset) over the selfishness I was reading about online and seeing on the news: all of the hoarding of supplies and not leaving things for others. It was really getting me down, but then I realized that there was nothing I could do about it and that I needed to focus on better things. And when I looked around I realized that I was seeing people donate to food banks, the school cooks and bus drivers in my home county of Cabell, West Virginia, making sure that children have food to eat, people offer to do shopping for the elderly and others at-risk, people sharing their toilet paper and paper towels with others, people calling to check on each other to be sure everyone is okay. Personally, many of my friends have checked in with me to be sure we're all doing okay. Our local friends have called and texted to see if they can get anything for us at the store or add anything to their grocery pick ups for us. Guys, this is amazing. What a wonderful display of community.

I was also telling Joe last night that I have already become more grateful for the things I have previously taken for granted. One thing we're low on is paper towels, so Joe and I literally ask each other in a situation now, "Is this a good use of a paper towel?" I'll admit that I am a HUGE over-user of paper towels, and I am learning now not to be. I am also especially grateful for my Walmart grocery pick up I have been doing every Tuesday at 11 a.m. When I couldn't do it this week, it was hard for me. I miss my schedule and my nice pick up guy! (I'm worried about him and hope he's okay. We see him basically every week!) I am no longer taking for granted that if I want a dozen eggs I can just go to the store and get them. As a first-time stay-at-home mom who previously worked outside the home and was "busy" (see above!) and who now is home with a baby all day, I am definitely not going to take for granted the opportunities I have to get outside the house and see people, now that I can't. Most importantly, I will not be taking for granted going to church, now that that has also been taken from us. (Still cannot believe this. I talked to my grandmother yesterday. She is 86 and my grandfather is almost 90, and neither of them has ever known Mass to be cancelled.)

These are indeed tough times. There are so many unknowns. It's easy to let fear and panic take over, but I really don't think that will get us anywhere. I think we have to remember what Mother Teresa said and go home and love our families. We also have to find the best in ourselves and remember our responsibility to each other.

Joe and I do a nightly devotional, and it always starts with a verse. The following verse was last night's. I was simply floored when I saw it. It is not a verse I am familiar with, but I thought it was so pertinent to what is going on right now.



May God continue to bless you, your family, our nation, and our world. If there's anything I can do to help you, please let me know.

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