First day of Spring Break. At the office, I’m making binders for our new volunteers. My supervisor approaches me. They just received the order to send all non-essential staff home. I gathered all my belongings from my desk, knowing it would probably be some time before I returned. My supervisor bids me stay safe and healthy. I wish her the same and say goodbye to my coworkers who are staying behind.
Driving home, I can’t help but feel a sense of irony. I’d been sad that I wouldn’t be able to spend much time with KJ on his first spring break from his new school, because for the first time in years, I was working during spring break. Now it looked like I would be spending more than a week at home.
Lubbock has its first case diagnosed. I watch the news with impending dread. The unseen fiend I’ve been watching from afar, as it racked up horrific death tolls. Before, it seemed so far away. Physically and mentally. Now, it was here. Where it could touch people who are real to me. I wanted to envelope my home in a plastic bubble.
Kris is home. He only works once a week now. I’m grateful for that. I don’t want him outside any more than necessary. KJ’s school announced days ago that they’ll have online classes only until further notice. We tore up the carpet in the living room today. Then we decorated. I’m truly surprised by the amount of things we have gotten done since we began our self quarantine. It seems like so long ago, and then not at all. We’ve lived in this house, our first home, since July of 2019, but between work, church, school, appointments, and well, life, we haven’t really been able to make it a home in the way we’d envisioned. Suddenly, with so many obligations and opportunities taken off our hands, we have time to show our home love and attention.
As I tuck KJ into bed, I ask him how he feels about the way our lives have changed. When I picked him up from school on that Friday in March, he’d no way of knowing the change coming. He says he’s sad. He misses his teacher and friends. But a sudden grin appears on his face, “But I love spending more time with you and daddy!”
Kris and I are worried about Kris’s lack of hours. My missing paycheck. We’re heartbroken that we can’t give KJ the party we’d planned for his birthday. But all KJ can see is that he suddenly has time with his mom and dad that he hadn’t before.
We’re living history. There is a before, and an after, which looks distinctly different. The spot in the middle that links them? That’s history.
Our world feels topsy-turvy now, but ask yourself how it felt before. Rushed? Superficial? So packed full of activities and deadlines you could barely catch your breath, let alone enjoy meaningful moments with loved ones. Now, for most of us, life has slowed. You have time. Your family is home, not running to and fro from one activity to the next. May this awful pandemic be a reminder that none of us are guaranteed an after, nor do we know what it’ll look like. Tell your kids you’re proud of them. Tell your spouse why you fell in love with them. Thank your parents for all they did. Your now will someday be your before. Make it something you can look back on with a smile, even if that smile is through bittersweet tears.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has
enough trouble of its own.