Most of the leaves were still on the trees up here in North Dakota when we last made a trip up to Grafton to see Cheri’s mom. It was just before Halloween, and the temps outside were unseasonably warm for a change. I’ve mentioned before that it is a two-hour trip up and of course two hours home, but it is really important to connect, and just to make sure everything is fine, even with Cheri’s brother and sister-in-law living in the same town. Our “normal” visit schedule has been every two weeks, on Fridays, when Cheri is off work for the day.
However, the beast got in the way. A friend of her mother is unfortunately married to someone who can only be described as arrogant and self-centered. Believing he was blessed and invincible, he ignored all warnings and cautions about the coronavirus, and so of course, he came down with the virus. He then shared it with his wife, who, before she knew she had it, came and visited Cheri’s mom and her mom’s other good friend. Long story still pretty long, both Cheri’s mom and her friend, when they heard the other friend actually had the virus, went and got tested, and sure enough, both of them also were officially positive in terms of the virus in their systems.
The good news was that, although Cheri’s mom is 87, she and her friend were “asymptomatic,” and even after a couple of weeks, the most she had was a bit of achiness and a slight cough. Now, this virus is a real son of a gun, and sneaky, because there are no clear, irrefutable honest facts about CoVid once someone gets it. Maybe you will get sick, and end up in the hospital, and even in ICU on a vent – and maybe you won’t. Maybe you will have very mild and non-threatening symptoms, or none at all, and still be infected, and maybe it will lay you out for days and days nearly crippling your ability to recover. Even after a certain amount of time – one week, two weeks, three weeks? – there is no definitive answer on whether you might still be contagious, or whether all is well once again. Unfortunately, Cheri’s mom and her friend, after about 11 days, declared themselves cured, after no real symptoms, and not only that, but they also announced they were fully protected against getting the virus again, at least for a very long time – perhaps six months, perhaps two years.
I have said a number of times before that this virus is completely predictable, until it isn’t. That’s why they call it novel. So, especially with the fact that Cheri sees patients most every day, and were she to come down with the virus, not only does that take her out of work, but also threatens the lives of pregnant women and such. ON the basis of that, we had to make the tough decision that we couldn’t go up to see her mom until we had some better assurance or protection about it all. We became like so many different families across the country, except that instead of trying to protect our elderly parents, we needed to protect ourselves.
A lot has happened in 12 weeks. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New year’s, my birthday, Cheri’s birthday, and more… the breakthrough finally came when a few weeks ago, Cheri was lined up to get the “shots,” which by tomorrow should give her pretty formidable protection against anything that Grafton may throw at her. Granted, I’m still vulnerable, but my job doesn’t depend on it, and I have been so isolated for so long that – well, anyway, tomorrow we are going to go see Cheri’s mom.
For a change, we have moved away from our every-Friday snowstorms that have been part of our existence since just after Christmas. Yes, the temperature will be about a high of 15, but at least it’s 15 above zero, and when you put Iso-Heet in your gas tank, it keeps the water in the tank from freezing up in the gas lines, so we should be in pretty good shape. Plus, especially during this time of the year, I make no apologies about driving during daylight hours, so our time in Grafton will be maybe a little shorter than we might otherwise want. Still, we’ll get to see each other, probably go out to eat at the local restaurant, and just catch up in a way you can’t when you are on the phone.
I’m sure you know what I am going to say next… over the past 12 weeks, and even into this week, the name of the game has been “intentionality.” We didn’t just take the attitude that “Well, it probably won’t infect us – we should be fine just ignoring all the warnings and the cautions…” No, we took it seriously, and didn’t act accidentally in getting in the car and just driving to see someone we wanted to see. I know there is a terrible fatigue that is setting in among our friends and neighbors, and some folks are just deciding they aren’t going to “play” anymore, as though this was ever a game. But when we commit ourselves, and our health and our future into “what will be, will be,” things will not turn out the way Doris Day hoped. Our lives, and our families – and it even stretches to our communities – survive and thrive not by accident, but on purpose, with intention of doing the right thing, and staying of the right path, no matter what else we would rather do.
I pray for you and your family during this time, as daily, I offer our world back into God’s careful hands. But please intend to do what you plan to do, and be responsible. Otherwise, accidents will happen.
Saying of the day: When in Rome, do as the Romans do… The phrase today usually is meant to say that when you are in someone else’s home, or some foreign place, it is best to follow those traditions. When I would visit my Korean friends, I always removed my shoes at the door. Tradition.
The original meaning came way back in the 4th century. St. Augustine moved from Rome to Milan, and found out that, although the Romans fasted on Saturdays, it was not so in Milan. He consulted St. Ambrose who told him in so many words, “When I am in Milan, I don’t fast on Saturdays, but when I am in Rome, I do as the Romans do, so as to not create a scandal.” Now, this doesn’t mean that you give up or give over all your standards and morals, simply because you live in a different place for a while. However, in the things that may not truly matter, but are just part of the tradition of the place you find yourself in, basically, don’t be an Ugly American. I remember visiting in Israel, and many members in our group wanted to have milk or cream in their coffee with dinner. In Israel, however, you never serve dairy with meat – it’s a religious practice. I remember the near fights the travelers had with the waiters to try to get cream as they were eating their chicken. When in Rome… it’s better that way, and you aren’t going to die if you can’t get your cream…
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.