Who knew? Was I not paying attention? How did it go from an annoying drip to a tsunami? Now isn’t a new normal, its plan B or maybe C actually could be plan D and I think plan E is around the corner. I left New York City on Thursday March 12 after visiting The Edge observation deck at Hudson Yards with friends. We ate lunch and then I drove to my Cabin in PA.

By then, my plans for a week long trip to Italy later in the month were already canceled. I was washing my hands more, constantly using hand santizer and not hugging friends. Since the writers conference I was attending in NC was still a go but I wasn’t getting on a plane, I mapped out a route to drive, booked hotel rooms and made reservations to visit the Biltmore. However by Friday afternoon March 13, I canceled all those plans as well.

My daughters and I discussed whether it was better for me to be in NYC apartment or a Cabin in PA or with my daughter and grandkids. NYC would offer better access to medical care but being in the city was problematic. I felt staying with my daughter and grandkids would be interfering too much in their lives. We decided I would stay at the Cabin. “Promise me if you get sick you won’t wait too long to get help.” Promise.

Then further discussion as things started shutting down and my daughter and son-in-law were essential workers but there was no childcare for their young children. Three days a week until my daughter was done with school I would be the childcare provider – Mom-mom’s Preschool. The rest of the week I would stay at the Cabin. “Are you sure? If you get sick, it will be because of me.” I am sure. So Monday afternoon to Thursday afternoon I stayed at my daughter’s and watched my grandkids. It was crazy, chaotic and wonderful. Different days, different themes – bugs, transportation, dinosaurs. The floor of the bedroom was for circle time, the kitchen island was the science lab, the dining room table was for counting and writing. When it got even just a little warmer, we went outside but only in the yard or on the deck. “No, we can’t go to the playground because of the big germs.”

Driving to my daughter’s one day I noticed an eighteen wheeler pulled over on basically what could be Main Street USA with an ambulance parked next to it. Lights flashing, truck driver slumped in the front seat, EMS person masked up, surreal like out of a movie. Then seeing the photos of the mass graves. This can’t be happening. Images I won’t forget.

Nightly listening to the Governor of New York’s press conference before going to sleep. Touching base with friends and family via Zoom, text, calls or cards. Mailing jigsaw puzzles to friends. Stopping at the same gas station every week. Pumping my own gas not something this Jersey girl turned New Yorker turned Pennsylvanian visitor was used to. Let alone while wearing a facemark and garden gloves. Church online usually more than one type of service. Trinity Wall Street’s service helped me feel connected to the city, connected to the neighborhood I volunteer in, connected to my Episcopal roots, connected to something bigger than just this time or just me.

Now it is August and in some ways it looks much like the past five months expect not quite as scary at least for me. I order groceries for pick up, order other stuff for delivery, I stay at the Cabin. If I go out I wear a mask and social distance. I try to stay informed and still reach out to friends. I have stayed healthy. My daughters, son-in-laws and grandkids have stayed healthy. I am grateful. Unsure of much but grateful.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Philippians 4: 4- 9 NIV

Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let joy overflow, for you are united with the Anointed One! Let gentleness be seen in every relationship, for our Lord is ever near. Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ. So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always. Follow the example of all that we have imparted to you and the God of peace will be with you in all things.”

Philippians 4:4-9 TPT