by Susan Harris
DURING THIS CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, life has slowed down, either because of government restrictions on travel or because of elective self-isolation. While I self-distance in my home, I try to make a conscious effort to make my time count.
Instead of whiling away hours with mindless television programs or social media, I wanted to accomplish something. I think the idea began when I read my daily devotional on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. The topic was the Annunciation of Our Lord, and this verse from Luke was: “Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your Word.’”
After reading that verse, I realized that I, Susan, am a servant of the Lord, too.
As much as I would have liked to go on as it had, the coronavirus changed it. Early in the pandemic, I had self-distanced as much as possible, with only a few trips out of the house to run errands (bank, pharmacy, grocery shopping). After a few weeks, I limited my travel to essential only.
Documenting my life
Early, I began documenting, in photographs, what I do each day and what I learn about life and myself.
I enjoy the nature around me. Looking at my photographs, I see the mountains through the still leafless trees. There is a photo of a flowerpot beside my garage that is overflowing with blooming pansies. And the chrysanthemums flourish without any attention from me.
I took a picture of the beautiful wild violets and a tiny box turtle I found crawling in my herb garden as I was pulling weeds. By slowing down and paying attention, I noticed my “Easter egg” tree in front of my house displaying new leaves in just four days. Would I have seen that otherwise?
I am slowing down–sitting by the fire, admiring the view, listening to the birds, reading a book. Would I have taken this much time for myself otherwise?
All in one week, I cooked chicken pot pie, hamburger sliders, shepherd’s pie, waffles, cake, steak, a pound cake for my birthday, sandwiches, pork chops, and barbecue chicken.
How many times would we have gone to a restaurant otherwise?
Getting stuff done
I am being creative. I’ve made pottery to be fired in the kiln. I cranked up my old sewing machine, making pillow covers for my sofa, piecing a lap quilt together, sewing a face mask for my husband and my children and grandchildren–all from fabric I had stored in my hobby room.
I am doing things that have been on my “to do” list for a long time: cleaning off my desk, cleaning, and reorganizing my refrigerator.
Easter has come and gone. It was not the traditional Easter I’ve always known, but I saw Easter in the eggs I hung on my tree, in the wreath on my door, and the Easter village and the bunny and chick on my table.
I’ve learned to better use electronic media so I’m not so isolated. Like many, I participate in Zoom worship and synod council meetings. I even set up a Zoom account to “visit” with my grown children and their families, one near me and the other in Germany. Through a newsletter, I share information and updates with my church family.
I found a new way to shop online that’s easy and convenient. Stores and restaurants can deliver just about anything to my door.
Patience is key
Worship has changed drastically. Will I go back to my congregation as soon as the restrictions are lifted, and it is safe to do so? Definitely! Some experiences cannot be replaced, and worshiping together is one of those.
One of the most important lessons I am learning is patience. As much as I would like to have my life back to normal, I have learned that I must be patient.
God answers prayers in God’s way and in God’s time. What lesson have you learned during the pandemic?
Susan P. Harris is past president of the North Carolina Synodical Women’s Organization and a life-long member of Salem Lutheran Church, Lincolnton, N.C. Married with two grown children and five grandchildren, she serves on the North Carolina Synod Council. Photos provided by Susan.