It is four years ago that Dave and I began our best worst year. It was March 24, 2016 – that our lives turned upside down. March 25 brought a new normal. Dave was home and I wasn’t sure I liked it. Honestly, this was the most frightening thing I could have imagined. I didn’t know how to help Dave look for a job. Turns out, I didn’t need to know.
And then there was my life. After all, I had a schedule, a way I did things. And now I had this other person in my space…All.The.Time. Just days prior to this I overheard a woman at a coffee shop. Her husband was in the process of slowing down, retiring. He had his own business so the process was more protracted than some retirements. She commented that she no longer felt free to leave during the day, but rather compelled to let him know where she would be or be home to make his lunch. (Cue eye rolll!) I didn’t think that was going to work for me. And Dave wasn’t retiring. We had no idea how long this would last or what the next job looked like.
Here we are four years later and March 24, 2020 brought a new normal. Dave is home again for a couple of weeks while we protect ourselves and others from the spread of COVID-19. But this time I am not concerned how it will be. You see, I know how it will be because we have been there together.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When faced with the most difficult situation of our lives, we turned to the God of comfort. We pressed in and made huge withdrawals from the well of peace and joy that Father provided. It wasn’t always easy. There were lots of tears for both of us. Every day wasn’t sunshine and roses. But they were days filled with overwhelming peace and comfort because we trusted that God had it. He knew where we would be next. He knew what we needed day by day. He taught us how to spend the days together without wanting to scratch anyone’s eyes out.
As I reflect on those days now, I smile. I smile because in the midst of the pain and difficulty, we had so much fun! And those are the elements I cherish now. Not only did my relationship with Dave deepen, but we spent valuable time with family and friends in ways we couldn’t before. Dave’s next job allowed him to work from home and, while not his forever job, it provided space for him to rest and recuperate.
Two-thousand sixteen was special in other ways as well. We visited Sedona, Arizona for the first time. We added our first granddaughter in December. AND THE CHICAGO CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES!
Dave’s relaxed schedule that year and the opportunity to share season tickets to the Cubs meant we spent quite a few days in Chicago. It was like the kiss of God to Dave. I realize some of you have made other life choices regarding baseball and you follow a different team. God can take care of that too. But we had so much fun that season attending games with friends and family. From the frigid games in April when we wore winter coats, hats and wrapped in blankets to the searing heat of summer, we participated in the Cubs journey to the World Series.
The most epic game we attended that year was the 6th game of the NLCS. Played in Chicago against the Dodgers, Dave and I secured seats in the bleachers at the last minute. The atmosphere, pregnant with anticipation, still makes me smile today. Would this be the year the curse of the goat is broken?
Finding our seats in the bleachers, we immediately made friends with the folks around us. Most of these people were visitors to Chicago who didn’t want to miss the game of a lifetime. Pitching was outstanding, hitting spot on and the Dodgers never crossed home plate. The final moments of the game that sent the Cubs to the World Series will always stay with me. It wasn’t just the excitement and noise of the crowds, it was being with Dave to experience the fulfillment of his dream.
This year Direct TV added a new station to their lineup – Marquis. For a Cubs fan, this is the best news of the year! It will proudly play all Chicago Cubs baseball games this season – when the season starts. But for now, we are reliving the 2016 Run for the Ring. On March 24, 2020 we watched the replay of the 6th game of the 2016 NLCS. It was as exciting and electric as the first time. I smiled the whole time it aired, remembering the thrill of not only being at the game, but remembering our experience of God’s goodness in so many tangible ways that year.
Why do I tell you all of this? Because I want you to know that it is going to be all right. There are tears and fears, unknowns and uncertainty, changes and chaos. But in the midst of the storm, you are safe. And not only are you safe, but there is so much good to be enjoyed.
I don’t know why isolation has turned me into Pioneer Woman, but I am grinding wheat and baking my own bread. I bought an oxtail last week and made soup. (Oxtail is the absolute best kept secret of beef broth!) Long evenings with Dave, dinner with the grands (I’m helping with childcare for a few weeks…or months?), the quiet of dinner at home, puzzling, quilting, sewing (I’m starting masks for medical personnel today), reading and writing. So much good to enjoy!
Whatever you are feeling right now, it is normal. These are scary, chaotic moments. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to laugh. It’s okay to find joy even in the fear. Together we will do this. Together we will march forward victorious. Will everything stay the same? I hope not. There are always ways that I can depend more deeply on my Father in heaven. There are always ways that I can learn to receive his comfort in deeper ways. He is for me, not against me. His plans are for my good, not my destruction.
What do you want to be able to say when this is past? How do you want to remember the weeks of isolation? How can you help your children learn to be joyful when life is disrupted?
Most of all, how are you experiencing God’s comfort? Allow yourself to soak it in so that at another time – because, yes, there will be another time, you can use it to comfort others.
Until next time…
May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.Numbers 6:24-26
Oh yes, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAVE!