This week I changed the calendars at our house. Five of the ones I changed, I changed from July to September. They never got changed to August. I think there was only one that got changed back when August dawned, and that was the central appointment one that helps both Certain Man and I keep track of our lives. It’s a funny thing about calendars. I remember over 40 years ago when Sherilyn Schlabach (now Gant) lived with us, there was a time she commented, “You know, it’s such a funny thing! In America, you guys have clocks in every room. In Costa Rica, we have calendars!” Somehow that made an impression on my mind as a young homemaker, and I began putting calendars in almost every room, hoping that it would remind me that I needed to live for the long term, not the immediate.
But as I thought about the whole thing of how I had missed changing all these calendars for a whole month, it didn’t carry the connotation of slowing down. At all. But the more I pondered this “lost month” and all that had happened in the month, my heart was suddenly very quiet before my Heavenly Father. I realized in a startling way that while my head and hands were too busy to really mark the days, He had carried me safely through and brought me through a month that I would remember, not for individual days and the terrible things that happened on those days, but rather a period of “severe mercy and extreme grace, (and my heart gives humble, grateful praise).
To pick up the story again-
When I realized that I had tested positive for Covid at Raph and Regina’s house, the immediate concern I had was, of course, the fact that I had exposed this very vulnerable household to this confusing disease. Of course, I prayed they would not catch it, prayed that I wouldn’t be too sick, prayed (“Oh, Lord Jesus, Have mercy!”) that Ellie, especially, would not get it.
My next concern was about my ticket home. I called, and the only way I could reschedule was if I waited for five days to reschedule. I rescheduled for Wednesday. Problem solved.
Then I was concerned about my prescription meds and vitamins of which I had only packed a week. An SOS call home sent Deborah over to the big house, and between her and Certain Man, they got everything figured out, packaged and overnighted to Canton. Another problem solved. (They actually were there by the next day! Yay for the US postal service!)
And so the days passed. Sunday morning I came downstairs to find Ellie wrapped up in a blanket on the floor.
“First Covid Sickie,” Announced my resilient Daughter in law with a lot more cheer than I felt.
“Oh, no!” I mourned. “Really?’
“Yep, She tested positive!”
I was so sad. I figured it was only a matter of time until the whole family came down with it. But astonishingly enough, she was our only “casualty.” Raph and Regina had a mature and careful response and they were amazing! The boys had a healthy fear of catching it and there was no problem with them keeping their distance. There was that time when the three of them were engaged in one of their frequent skirmishes that was getting out of hand and I said, “Listen up boys! Your Grammy hates fighting every bit as much as you hate Covid. If this fighting doesn’t stop I’m going to give every one of you Covid!” They looked up surprised and questioningly. “Yes, siree,” I intoned soberly. “I’m going to lick my finger and wipe it right on you . . .” BLITZ!!! My three handsome grandsons were gone in three different directions. (“But Grammy, would you really???” “Probably not, But—“)
Thankfully, I didn’t feel too terrible, and the days flew by with lots of activity and joy. Ellie had only one day of feeling bad and then was back to normal. Out of precaution, she had to delay her appointment for receiving the results of that last surgery, but otherwise, things progressed fairly much the same as before. Tuesday evening, Raph showed up at my bedroom door with a Covid test.
“Mama,” he said, tentatively, “Would you want to take another test before leaving tomorrow, just to be sure?”
I looked at that test and almost didn’t let him finish. “NO!” I said, more forcefully than necessary. “I don’t want to know. I’m going to put a mask on and wear it all day and I’m going to go home and then, I’ll double check. So, No! I just want to go home!”
He looked a little startled, but seemed to understand and went away. I sat there in my room and thought. I thought about how I would feel if I knew someone else was in my shoes, and I wondered if I had made the right decision, but I figured that I was at least a week into this, I had waited the five days that was required by the airline, I had been vaccinated and boostered and I just wanted to go home. I finished packing my bags and spent a restless night, but my resolve did not weaken.
Early the next morning, Raph drove me to the airport. He stood in the early morning darkness, my tall son, and hugged me, kissed the top of my head (as he has taken to doing over these last years) and thanked me for coming. My heart was full. This son of mine and his brave wife were facing far more than just their little girl’s health issues. There are stories that are not mine to tell. My heart ached for my “Canton Six” and repeatedly, I packed them up in my mind’s eye and set them fully at the only place I’ve found for my anxiety, grief, uncertainties and pain: The Foot of The Cross.
(” . . . when you’re terrified, I will carry you!”)
I landed in Washington without any trouble and Certain Man was there to pick me up. He had accomplished a lot of things in my absence, and I was very impressed with all that had gotten done. I was also suddenly weary beyond belief. We came into the lane of our home, and I looked at the familiar landscape, picked up my phone and texted the family.
“We are safely home.”
It was so sweet to be home. The Crepe Myrtle was showing off, the familiar old farmhouse was beckoning me in. The last eleven days were packed full of so much living. I enjoyed being in Ohio so much, and Raph, Gina, Si, Liam, Frankie and Ellie are some of my favorite people. But now it was time to be back home and get on with the things here.
I did not know that I was coming home to another non-stop merry-go-round of life events that would keep me on my toes and my knees. But that will be in the next segment. This one is long enough.