Author: Nancy Wade
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Matthew 7: 1-2.
In the midst of this difficult time, I have found great comfort in singing hymns with Kajsa online, attending worship on YouTube, participating in Zoom coffee hours, and chatting with old friends by phone. It has done my heart good to catch up with friends with whom I haven’t spoken for years.
The ways in which we have been required to change our lives have meant many adjustments: staying home most of the time, wearing masks when we go out, ordering groceries for pickup or delivery, missing out on special events and holidays, and settling for virtual visits when we would much rather spend time in the presence of family and friends. It seems to me that the rules change daily; we have cut down on the number of newscasts we watch because it is all so scary and overwhelming.
The main topic of conversation, of course, during phone calls with my girlfriends is the coronavirus. We talk about the decisions we are having to make. Can we drive to visit our grown kids and grandkids? If so, is it safe to stand within shouting distance? If an adult member of the household is still physically going to work, does that change anything? How do we calculate the risk?
I have noticed a common thread in these conversations. We all seem to be navigating this new path in two ways: both alone and together. We compare notes: is it okay to bring Amazon deliveries inside right away? Or should we leave them outside for 24 hours. Is it really necessary to sanitize the cans and boxes in our grocery delivery? And what about ordering take-out food from restaurants? What precautions do we need to take that will keep us from getting sick?
Earlier this week, the walls were closing in and we decided to drive from Boulder to Golden to pick up pre-ordered sandwiches for a picnic in the park. On the way, we stopped briefly to see family members. We stood in their driveway for only 10 minutes, soaking up as much as we could from our brief conversation. While it felt good to see them, I longed to hug each one, to go inside their house, to share a meal. But none of that is possible right now.
When I shared the news of my day with a friend on the phone, I heard a pause on the other end. “You actually went to their house?” she asked me. “And you sat in a public park?” I heard not so much judgement as I did a turning of wheels in her head. I had felt similar emotions in other conversations. How do we make these difficult decisions? What level of risk are we willing to take?
A friend tells me she regularly shops in her local grocery store. “I wear a mask and gloves,” she says. “and I always have a list so I can get in and out of the store quickly.” Listening to her, I wonder in my own mind if that is something I might be able to do. I remind myself: I love and respect this person. She is trying to figure things out, just as I am.
It doesn’t help that we receive conflicting advice from news sources, social media, magazine articles, and press conferences. In this uncharted territory, it is unclear where and when the deadly and invisible virus might appear next. It’s really anyone’s guess. And so each day, with each conversation, I try my best to stay the course, to make my own decisions, to limit risk, to rely on my faith and prayer to keep myself calm. We are all doing the best we can for that is all that we can really do.