[caption id="attachment_170687" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Image: Pixabay.com (2018), CC0/PD[/caption]
The boys were wrestling a chair from the second floor to the basement, insulting each other in a mostly lighthearted way, while the girl was mixing up cookie batter in the kitchen. My husband was putting the final touches on dinner and I was dodging dogs to set the table. There was energy in the air and I thought, “Huh, this shelter in place stuff isn’t so bad.”
Then, it wore off. The two kids who are “best friends” when they don’t live together, started to annoy each other. One was overly optimistic and the other overly critical. The third ceased speaking in more than one syllable and I thought, “Huh, this is beginning to stink.”
Thanks to this worldwide pandemic, our family is learning to live together again. We haven’t done this in a year and a half and while it has had its benefits -- we can play five handed Sheepshead -- it also has drawbacks. There are things I’d forgotten -- like doubling most recipes and the amount of stuff left lying around unclaimed. I realize now why we’ve replaced our dishwasher every three years -- it’s running twice a day. I am thankful the college kids are doing their own laundry because that might put me over the edge. Already the number of dirty napkins and dish towels is threatening to overtake me.
I am also learning about my kids in ways that, if we weren’t confined to a house together, I wouldn’t. Two of them have returned from living across the country and they are the same, but different. My Texas kid now listens to country music -- I did not see that coming. My North Dakota kid stopped playing soccer because he wants to focus more on God and less on himself, and my kid who is still stuck at home living with his parents, actually misses them and has perked up since they returned.
I am also learning more about what truly trusting in Jesus means. I thought I’d learned that lesson last year during the Great Wait of unemployment, but here I am back in the school of trust. I guess I’m a lifelong learner. Jeremiah 29:11 has been an important verse for me, as has Matthew 6: 25-34.
[tweet "Here I am back in the school of trust. By @mariamore1289"]
I’ll start with Jeremiah.
For I know well the plans I have in mind for you ... plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.
The idea that the creator of the universe has plans for me is humbling. That they are plans for good and hope, not woe, is comforting. When life gets complicated, I try to remember these words and I very much want to believe them but boy howdy, it’s hard when we are in the midst of a pandemic and there is uncertainty for not just my own life, but what the world will be like.
There is so much we don’t know about this virus and that’s hard to take. There is going to be a “before COVID” and an “after COVID” and that scares me a little. I really liked the way things were going. I had a lot of hope for the future and now I wonder if those plans I was making are going to happen. I can control and envision my plans. I can’t do that with God’s plans. Those demand pure, blind, authentic faith and trust. It is easy to say I trust in God when life is ambling along in a happy way. When the river rapids get rough, it is harder. There were a few hours last week when I thought I might be sick, and when I sat alone in a room reflecting on what our family life would become if in fact I did have the dread coronavirus, I’m not going to lie: I was rattled.
At times like that I wish I had my favorite Scripture verses tattooed on my arms, because then I could have looked down and found some comfort from the good St. Matthew:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.” (Matthew 6:25-34)
There it is: Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Words from Jesus Himself. Jesus tells us not to be anxious. It won’t add any time to our lives (and for sure it will make our time less joyful). God, our heavenly Father, knows what we need and will take care of us. He has plans for us. We know that he is not a God of trickery. He doesn’t dangle things in front of us and pull them away when we reach out. He is a God of compassion and love. When we hurt, He hurts. He rejoices with us. He cries with us. He desires to bless us. He is not outdone in generosity. He came to earth, humbly, to teach us how to love and trust Him.
This time is hard, but it also gives us an opportunity to increase in our trust that God’s got this covered. He is still here. We can’t go to Mass and receive Holy Communion, but we can receive Him spiritually. We can pray. We can read Scripture. We can bring Him our fears and our desire to trust and ask Him to teach us. And at great risk of sounding like a Pollyanna, we can try to keep our focus on the positive. We can turn away from mass media, and toward our families. We can be thankful for what is here and now right in front of us and let tomorrow take care of itself.
Copyright 2020 Merridith Frediani
About the Author
Merridith Frediani loves words and is delighted by good sentences. She also loves Lake Michigan, dahlias, the first sip of hot coffee in the morning, millennials, and playing Sheepshead with her husband and three kids. Merridith writes for Catholic Mom, Diocesan.com, and her local Catholic Herald. Her first book, Draw Close to Jesus: A Woman’s Guide to Adoration, is available at Our Sunday Visitor and Amazon. You can read more at MerridithFrediani.com.