It’s early morning. I get out of bed to go to the bathroom, peeking out my bedroom door to see who is still asleep. Mom is sitting outside her bedroom door, dressed.
“Hi Mom. What ‘cha doing?”
“I’m waiting to go downstairs. They went to the store.”
“Who went to the store? Who’s they?”
“Okay. Give me a minute and I’ll help you.”
I wake my husband and explain Mom wants to go downstairs. Ever since she missed the second stair at the bottom and fell, breaking her wrist, she is afraid to go down alone. Understandably. To get down she holds on to someone’s shoulder. I’d be no help if she loses her balance, so Harold helps her down the stairs and settles her at the kitchen table. I start the coffee as he goes back to bed.
Mom is very fretful right now, like most of us. She has dementia so every time she hears the news about COVID-19 is like the first time. Try as she might to absorb and retain what the news says, it just flies out of her mind. Last night we ordered Chinese. Harold went to pick it up and Mom spun into fearful prayers. When he got home she asked, “Did they wash their hands? Is this bag clean?”
This morning she voices her fear that people will be fighting in the aisles of the grocery store.
“No, Mom. Dad went early for the senior citizen shopping hour. I don’t think any of them have the energy to beat each other up. It’s okay.”
“You never know about people. They surprise you.”
Indeed they do. The door opens and our dog Sandy comes bouncing in followed by Dad. I ask how shopping went.
“We stood in line for 15 minutes before the store opened. There still isn’t any paper goods. I wanted to make baked beans, but they were out of beans. I got lemons, butter, and squash. Oh, and ketchup and mayo. That’s it.”
Our grocery runs are surreal. We never know what items we will come back with from the list. When I came back from Wal-Mart the other day I was thrilled to have acquired our favorite bread, but I was only allowed one loaf. The farmer markets are considered an essential service in California so tomorrow we will hopefully have beautiful flowers, broccoli, fresh empanadas and sage honey to enjoy.
I awake in the middle of the night vibrating with anxiety. Mom’s days are filled with the same anxieties over and over anew. The whole world grapples with a cruel viral enemy. Yet as a people who believe in the saving power of Christ Jesus, we can agree with Charles Spurgeon who said:
Our sorrows are all, like ourselves, mortal. There are no immortal sorrows for immortal souls. They come, but blessed be God, they also go. Like birds of the air, they fly over our heads. But they cannot make their abode in our souls. We suffer today, but we shall rejoice tomorrow.