One of us got the bright idea that since we were going into at least two weeks of work-from-home, shelter-in-place, lock down; the other of us, named Russ, could paint the hall bathroom and back bedroom.
We took a vote and it passed.
He got right to it and since I have an aversion to pans of paint and roller brushes, he did that and I would come along behind with a small bowl and an artist brush to do the areas close to ceiling and edges.
We are, and always have been, successful in marriage by staying in our lanes.
So yesterday afternoon as he ran his work world from the end of our kitchen table, I donned my paint clothes and headed down the hall to put the finishing touches on Project #2.
I was up on top of the ladder when I could hear sirens blaring in the distance. It was obviously several first responder vehicles and since the wail of the alarms were punctuated by horns honking, I assumed there had been a major accident on the highway a few blocks east of our house.
It continued and my heart dipped low thinking about what kind of horrid thing had now occurred on top of what we already have going on.
I prayed and painted for a few minutes and then decided the whole dang world must be coming to an end and I wasn’t going out standing on a paint ladder.
Realizing I hadn’t heard anything from Russ and as the sound of sirens was now coming closer, fear gripped me that they were for him.
I came out and the kitchen table was empty, I called for him and got no answer.
I now feared the Rapture had happened and somehow I missed it…as the sirens and honking were now clearly right on our street.
I noticed the front door was slightly open as I headed for the porch and there was my best friend out on the side walk, smiling and waving along with most of the neighbors as car after van after car drove by waving and smiling and making a joyful noise.
He had called for me but I hadn’t heard him behind the closed door so he thought I had gone for a walk.
Out in front of our house was a sight that is being repeated across the country and let me tell you…what a sight!
The teachers from the local schools were driving through the neighborhoods led by the fire truck and police, with poster board signs on their vehicles announcing “We miss you!” and their names and all kinds of balloons and party stuff in the windows.
There I stood in Rachel’s old too-tight clinical lab coat and my paint pants, brushes and bowl of grey paint in hand…waving like I was one of their school kids, or had some under our roof or whatever.
I was doing that kind of laughing and crying thing we do when all the emotions are just exploding out of the deepest places of the heart.
And those sweet teachers did not discriminate this 60 plus couple…they waved right back at us like we were missed as much as any of the other little tykes.
Across the street, our neighbor who owns one of the local restaurants and is working hard at the new business model of take-out only, was smiling and waving with his wife and daughters.
This parade was like a beacon of hope and the reminder we are a community and that this will pass.
In the midst of this time when I know it is bad in places and people are facing such hard decisions in certain locations, I see God working good in so many.
I see couples walking and talking together who used to be rushing off to the next thing or settling down in front of a ball game on TV.
Families are sitting down to tables together and without the rush of having to fit all the practices and homework and chores into the few hours between school and bedtime, they are actually getting to know each other.
There are continuous opportunities for each of us to examine what used to take up our time and attention and evaluate our priorities.
As we grieve the loss of certain freedoms and amenities we took for granted, we can do a heart check to see if we had set up idols of comfort and convenience.
“Functional idols” is a theme in so many teachings I have heard leading up to this and God is now revealing to us, His people, where we had unconsciously erected a few or more of them in our hearts.
I pray for myself, our family, our friends and community, the world at large to not only recognize the Hand of God at work in this time, but that we would seek His face.
By that I mean, truly desire to simply know Him and to be in His presence as you sort through all the emotions and reactions that will arise throughout the day and night.
May you be blessed to sense His nearness to you, for surely He is not far from any of us <3