Compared to the scope of a pandemic, my life feels quite small. Not necessarily insignificant, but most definitely small: myself just one person, my family just one little cluster of people amidst the billions all swept up in a single massive crisis. It is the kind of smallness that can make someone feel helpless and afraid, unsure of how to protect themselves and their loved ones from something so big and so out of their control; it is the kind of littleness that can leave us cowering and vulnerable against a greater force than we can hope to conquer.
But tonight, as I put my daughter to bed, she curled herself up against my side, tucked under my arm, and I thought that the smallness of fear or helplessness is not the only kind of smallness in this world. There is also the smallness of restful trust: the smallness of a little child confident in their parents’ love, to whom the world may be very big and scary indeed but for whom that parent is a shield and refuge and source of strength. This is the smallness of a child who is hurt, or sad, or scared, or angry, but whose tears fade in the arms of their mother or father.
The Psalmist wrote that,
“Truly I have set my soul
in silence and peace.
As a child has rest in its mother’s arms,
even so my soul.”
Against the swirling unknown threats of a pandemic, against the overwhelming storm of uncertainty and anxiety that is threading its way around the world, we are each on our own very small indeed, like a young child trying to fend for themselves. But where I find peace in this time is in acknowledging my own smallness and staying close by God my Father, who is quite the opposite of small and helpless, and in whose unconditional love I can be utterly confident. I do not need to be my own strong tower in the hurricane; he offers his strength so that in him I may have the peace of a child comforted in their mother’s arms.
I’m not actually under quarantine because of known exposure–I’m staying in (with the exception of getting coffee from the $tarbux drive-thru, recording worship on Sunday, and physical therapy appointments) at the request of my parents because of this happening last year. While my hysterical hysterectomy took care of some of the reason for the bleeding/clotting issue, I’m still asthmatic and we don’t know how well I can fight it off (or *IF* I can fight it off). So… I’m effectively quarantined for the long haul.
Just a head’s up, there may/may not be links because I am an Amazon associate.
Storytime! The amazing Mary Lenaburg has video storytime with her son Jonathan and husband Jerry up on her Facebook page. This was last night and this was the night before. It’s fun to have someone read to me, but the comedy value in the delivery of the stories is even better. Last night’s offerings were Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Fandango Stew. The previous night’s offerings were Fox in Socks and Green Eggs and Ham.
All of these books belonged to Mary’s daughter Courtney, so this is an absolutely beautiful part of her legacy.
The sitch in Kirkland. Probably 80% of the COVID-19 deaths in Washington and 25% of the COVID-19 deaths nationally are associated with Life Care Center in Kirkland. This news story talks about how everything got started there and started the spread to other assisted living facilities in the Seattle area. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be shut down when all is said and done because the lawsuits alone from the survivors and the families of the deceased would put it out of business.
Shelter in place. If I were still living in my childhood home in California, I would be required to shelter in place as it is part of a swath of seven Bay Area counties requiring it in order to get a handle on the spread of COVID-19. Washington’s governor has declined to require that yet. I’m wondering how long it will be until that happens here.
Selfishness. Does anyone else want to dopeslap the people determined to party for Spring Break in public despite the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19? I mean, I get that it sucks to have to cancel plans, but THEY’RE PUTTING PEOPLE’S HEALTH AT RISK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Selfish twits!
How I’m doing. In all seriousness, I’m having to force myself not to look at my state’s COVID-19 page or my county’s page until 4 p.m. every day because refreshing both of them to see if they’ve updated them yet is not good for my mental health. It was unnerving enough to see that my rural county is up to 18 cases and three hospitalizations. (No deaths yet thankfully.) Statewide, we’re up to almost 1,400 cases and 74 deaths, which is also sad. Most of the cases are in the Seattle/Tacoma/Everett corridor, but that’s still 1,400 too many cases and 74 too many deaths.
Some humor. Someone shared this on Facebook, and I feel like y’all need to see it too, especially any cat people out there.
Compline. I’m doing Compline live on my church’s Facebook page tomorrow night at 8 p.m. If you want to come and say it with me, send me a message and I’ll give you the details.
For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.
Rather than talking about today’s irritation in self-isolating, I thought I’d post this instead as it is food for thought:
I didn’t post anything yesterday because I was dead exhausted. I slept a chunk of today as well. I’m trying to be gentle to my body, so I took my last chance to take naps for a while.
Here are some more things for which I am thankful.
- For the opportunity to be part of live streaming worship for my congregation on Sunday. Yes, we were sideways for part of it and upside down for others, but we still got it together!
- For Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (and Royal Wedding homilist!), who is posting a meditation every Monday on his official Facebook page while we are in the midst of COVID-19. The first one is here.
- For my black beastling who snuggled and napped with me today. Mama loves you, baby.
- That, in the midst of restaurants and bars being closed for everything except take-out or delivery, I can still mobile-order my latté from $tarbux every morning before 9:30 and have it brought to my car.
- For getting to start physical therapy tomorrow so that we can get me walking normally again.
- That Daniel got one more day of school today before he is off for six or more weeks. He is going to miss his teachers, aides, and specialists and they will miss him. (They love their kids like their own.)
- For Pure Leaf Raspberry Tea fresh out of the freezer. (I like drinks chilled, and this chills it relatively quickly.
- For YouTube and the amazing things one can find on it.
- For discovering that I can set an image as a virtual background on Zoom. I have a meeting inside the Great Hall of Hogwarts tomorrow!
I vented my spleen out yesterday and it helped a bit, so I thought I would look for some things for which I could be grateful today.
- The existence of Zoom which allows me to work with students remotely and meet with people while there is a prohibition on meetings and such here.
- My house panther who is keeping me entertained.
- My alcohol gel obsession which means that I still have a little bit left.
- Amazon Prime which is helping me keep a little ahead of people’s hoarding habits
- A roof over my head.
- A Lenten diet that actually lends itself pretty well to eating shelf-stable food.
- A boss who works with me to make it possible to deal with Daniel’s issues and work.
- A job I love.
- A church here who is committed to making sure its members can worship and me being able to be part of that.
- The new case on the Skagit County Public Health site is someone who was released from the hospital to isolation at home. It’s someone who is getting *BETTER*. (My theory is that these are workers at affected nursing homes.)
- A stack of books on my e-reader to work through if I’m bored in the next few weeks.
- A beautiful view of Little Mountain and evergreen trees from my bedroom window.
- An amazing publicity and web person to work with on the church website who gives me perspective.
- Last, but not least, knowing WordPress well enough to set things to send comments from trolls into my Trash so that I only see them on the rare occasions I look in there. That way, it’s like they don’t exist unless I give enough of a rat’s butt to look for them, and I can go on with my life without having to care about their commentary.
I had just sat down at Daniel’s IEP meeting when Governor Inslee announced that all K-12 schools in Washington would be closing for the next six or more weeks, effective March 17th. The teachers and specialists present were feeling sick over it because they love their kids something fierce. They’re feeling sick over it because parents like me are being put in really difficult positions where our jobs could be on the line because being stay-at-home parents and homeschooling our kids is not a luxury we have. (I’m a single mom. I *HAVE* to work. I’m waiting to find out if I can work with students remotely until Daniel can go back to school.) They’re feeling sick over it because they know the kids are going to have a hell of a time dealing with school, the one place some of them feel joy, is being taken away from them.
I honestly feel myself like everything that brings me joy is being systematically taken away. My church is functionally shut down for the next two weeks at least. (I’ll be there Sunday only because I’m part of the effort to live stream worship, but there are only going to be 5 of us present and we’re basically going to record stuff and then vacate the premises.) Daniel’s teacher, aides, and specialists are part of my support network with him, and now I’m losing them for six weeks. My degree program, which transitioned into a job for me, was 75% of what got me through my divorce, and now I’m uncertain about how much of a job I’m going to have come April 5th.
I’m honestly pretty angry with the world right now, and it seems like Satan is rubbing salt in my wounds by throwing tone-deaf remarks from homeschooling parents in my path about how interesting it is that everyone is going to be homeschooling now, how we’ll never stop once we start, how we withdraw our kids from their public schools, and/or how we give notice that we’re going to homeschool them. They all seem to be from the people who are the absolute last people I would seek out for advice on the subject, especially because they managed to raise some screwed-up, sociopathic, and/or barely literate kids. All the people I would seek out for advice have been classy enough to trust that I’ll seek them out if/when I need their help. (I have a large number of behaviorists and special education teachers in my friend group.)
Comments are disabled on this post because this is me venting my spleen and none of this is up for discussion.
This blog’s official troll accused me of exaggerating and going to extremes after reading one of my posts where I called them out for some dangerous opinions they hold regarding some infectious diseases. It’s too bad that science backs me up and disproves what they have to say.
Oh… I also cite REAL ACCURATE SOURCES WITH REAL ACCURATE NUMBERS in this post. Click on by me if you want to believe the hysteria in the media.
The title. Some of you know that I live in western Washington. This part of the state is where all the COVID-19 cases are. (There aren’t any west of Grant or Kittitas counties, so it is currently really just in the western 1/2-2/3 of the state.) King County is the most populous county in the state and has the largest city, Seattle. Thus, this is where the bulk of the cases are. We have the highest number of cases in the country (568) as well as the highest death toll (37). With all K-12 schools having to switch to remote learning for 6+ weeks, the colleges that are having to go to distance learning for the rest of the year, and all the restrictions on public events, it seems like we’re in the midst of an episode of “The Walking Dead” here.
Where to get your information. There is a lot of misinformation out there, and the president isn’t helping with this. (For those who are wondering what I’m talking about, he has made some off-the-cuff remarks that contradict what the CDC and others run by medical professionals have said about it.) Here’s a list of places to go for accurate information:
All of the above have medical professionals who specialize in infectious diseases reporting on this and making recommendations.
The math on this. It has been reported that COVID-19 is ten times more deadly than the seasonal flu. This is correct. The seasonal flu has a fatality rate of around 0.1% (1 out of 1,000) people. COVID-19’s fatality rate is around 1% (1 in 100 people). It is skewed a little bit here in Washington state because most of the fatal cases are from nursing homes, one specific nursing home in particular.
For more data on this in a beautiful and easy-to-follow format, click here.
How to protect yourself. This might come as a surprise, but the easiest way to protect your self is…
WASH YOUR FREAKING HANDS.
Wash them for at least 20 seconds with soap. Wash them like you just finished eating Thai food with your hands and you need to remove your contacts. Wash them like you just shook hands with the politician you hate most. Say a Hail Mary while you wash your hands. Wash them when you get back to your house after being out in public.
If you need something to say or sing while washing them other than “Happy Birthday”, you can make your own hand-washing poster using this site. Here is one with part of “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll. There’s also a list of hymns you can sing.
Also, stay home if you’re sick and don’t touch your face.
Telecommuting. My college had to close down all sites this week for disinfection after a positive case at a nursing home where CNA students and instructors were doing clinicals. (The staff and students were on campus last week, so the school legally needed to neutralize the risk.) Cue everything including tutoring having to be switched up to remote instruction this week! I’ve been tutoring over Zoom since yesterday, and it’s kind of a cool way to do all of this. My student(s) can share their screen with me, which makes it a whole lot easier for me to point out errors and get “down and dirty” with my Accounting students who work through an online application.
Minion even decided to “help” yesterday, so I was cuddling him during my one-on-one session with a student. Silly panther!
Social distancing. I completely understand the need for social distancing. We stand to overwhelm our health care system unless we flatten the curve in terms of risk. Still, it’s hard to have so many things like church cancelled. Physical touch isn’t even my primary love language, and I’m missing being hugged.
Nadia Bolz-Weber had a really good take on this:
Faith in the time of COVID-19. If you’re like me, Sunday worship/Mass has been cancelled diocese-wide. My church is coming up with ways to livestream worship and post the basics on our website, but for the Catholics out there who are in dioceses like the Archdiocese of Seattle where everything is cancelled, here are some options courtesy of my local Blessed is She folks:
I used to watch a lot of Heart of the Nation when we lived in Galt and going to church with Daniel was a no-go for reasons.
The archbishop of Seattle is also livestreaming Mass on Sunday at 10 a.m. PDT. Your local dioceses might have similar options.
For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.