Monday would be a good day for gardening. The weather man convinced me of that. I bought plants at Costco Sunday evening and surprisingly it was a breeze shopping despite the COVID stock-up frenzy the past two weeks. Driving by earlier in the morning, a line went around the building with no end in sight. No one would believe what COVID has done.
With mask donned showing my ID, I headed for the flowers. The gardening section had been fairly picked over, but there still were geraniums and petunias. I gathered sixteen plants, a bag of soil, and finished topping my cart with my weekly food supply.
Waking up the next morning, my only thoughts were on gardening. Prior to this, I primarily thought on the COVID crisis incessantly. Stopping my brain even if for a few hours was much needed. So off I went to my backyard. Getting my hands in the soil rejuvenated me. My friends the birds sure we’re curious about my actions in the soil. They entertained me with loud chirps and melody as they eavesdropped.
As I toiled in the soil and manipulated my shovel to loosen the hardened ground, the birds started flying even closer. With no hint of fright, the impressive guys showed off. Maybe the excitement for worms was on their mind. It occurred to me they may be thinking, what’s this crazy lady doing with her arms and hands pulling and tugging, as I was establishing my lovely little garden. I was grappling with finding just the right place to plant ultimately deciding on two rows with 18 inches between my flowers . At one point two black capped chickadees came by the feeder near me where my knees pushed into the soil as if observing me in between pecking at food. Their look was one of wonderment as if they had feelings. I had read once that birds grieve when they lose one of their own so perhaps they can show excitement and joy as they checked me out marveling at my shoveling technique! Ok. Maybe I am putting more brains into their heads than they have, but hey I have been in isolation for three weeks with no end in sight. I will take whatever I can get at this point.
Standing up after planting my last flower, my boots gave in as they flattened the soil underneath. It felt good to accomplish something in the yard. After cleaning up and going into the house, I decided to check my email. My wonderful mood went somber. An email from my autistic sons’ caretaker notified me that a staff member who was in contact with Luke is ill with fever. I too had been in Luke’s apartment. They had been tested for the coronavirus and results are pending. All my joy went out the window in that exact moment.
As I closed up the lap top, a fresh new rage was beginning to boil within my soul. I knew I needed to catch it and lasso it back in. I have only found one place for solace in the most craze of circumstances and that would be in prayer for calming my nerves.
I turned to Psalm 118:17: “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.”
The psalmist was at death’s door, but was delivered from her certain demise. Surely that person feels as if she must own the rest of her days and realize there is so much more to live for in this life. It was this scripture we can easily think on John Wycliffe as he was the first we know of that wanted the bible available in many languages . It has been told he was very ill and had declared the psalm for himself. After he got better, it was very clear he did have so much more to do. He translated the entire bible into English. Henry the VIII as influenced by this man separated the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. It also is important to note Wycliffe Bible Translators have now translated it into 100’s of languages. He would never know on earth what his last few years of living would do for so many in the future.
As a Jew, I also read another verse that touched my heart. Psalm 93:1 : ” The Lord reigns. He is clothed with majesty; the Lord is robed, He has girded himself with strength and power; the world also is established, that it cannot be moved. ”
Perhaps this nameless psalmist saw what all of us want to see at this time that when nations are in danger from an enemy even if invisible , we as humans can know that G-d is still King.
Please drop me a note as I quarantine alone on my birthday on April 8. I would love to hear from you. I also am donating money to The Plate Fund. If you would like to help, please donate to my nonprofit and I will match the funds 100% that come in over the next two weeks. The Plate Fund is for those that have lost their jobs who worked for example in the food industry. If you prefer to give straight to them that is fine by me too. I do hope though to give a sizable amount through my nonprofit Right To Know. Just as John Wycliffe did after he was very ill, he picked up where he left off and finished up doing wonderful work. WE will all get through this time and back to work. It may look different and as a society may never be the same, however, we can rest assured we all still have purpose. Keep fighting for what you know is right. We can do it.