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A Narrow Path?

Maria's children asked her and her husband to remain in strict isolation until the pandemic is over or there is a vaccine. The unexpected outcome.

Photo by Michal Ico via Unsplash

When this pandemic is over and life goes back to normal, I think I am going to look back on these months as some of the most valuable of my life. In strictly living the circumstances given to me by the pandemic, I have received great generosity; I have also gotten some much-needed lessons in my own lack of generosity, all through these events that I could never have foreseen. 


It was long long ago--perhaps early April, which is an eon ago in this strange year--that our four adult children had a “siblings meeting.”  The outcome was this: they asked my husband and me to observe the pandemic rules of health and safety as strictly as possible. Specifically, the “kids”--now thirty to forty in age--asked that we please stay at home, get all the groceries delivered, socially distance, and wear masks faithfully whenever outside the house. We were to do no shopping at all, no socializing, no eating out, and attend only televised Masses. In general, whenever we faced a decision about how to act in any circumstance, they asked us to choose the path of most extreme caution until the pandemic is over or a vaccine is available, whichever comes first.


After a little consideration, we agreed, even though it looked like a very narrow path.  

So since spring we have been living this way, but it has not been the limited life we feared! The generosity we have received has amazed us and transformed the time.  The family is much closer; almost daily we have lively, funny four-, five-, or six-way text conversations. Many surprises have come in the mail: last week our California daughter sent a pumpkin cross-country, just in case we couldn’t get one from Instacart. One of our nearby sons-in-law purchased an outdoor projector so that on warm evenings, we could all watch a movie in their yard while staying masked and socially distanced. We’ve even had visitors: in July, our son and his girlfriend very strictly quarantined for two weeks, then drove from Chicago to the East Coast to visit both our family in Maryland and her parents in Boston. The trip was undertaken with extreme care so as not to expose any of us to the virus, and it was great to be together for two whole weeks.  So although we missed all the usual summer things (the CL vacation, a day at the beach, the county fair), and even under the threat of the invisible virus, we have all grown closer. All unexpectedly, it's been a beautiful time in every way.


Now the summer is over, and the country is in even more upheaval. But whatever happens in the coming fall and winter, I now understand much better that God's generosity will be offered through the events of every particular situation. He uses the small details of my life, because He knows I tend to get stuck in the trivial stuff.


Lately, with the days getting shorter and my husband working at the kitchen table, I have found myself using the ungrateful phrase, "Why can’t you…” ("Why can’t you keep these papers somewhere else?". . . "Why can’t you be more careful of the kitchen floor that I just washed?”. . . etc., etc.)  But because of His overwhelming generosity to me, God doesn't ask me, “Why can’t you. . . ," but reminds me of everything He has done for us in these months. 


Maria, Rockville, Maryland



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