Daily Connector | Just the two of us | Shirley Miller

Happy Easter Monday!

Refrain: “Do not let your heart be troubled. You trust in God, trust also in me.” John 14:1


What a most unusual Lent. Yesterday Christians in the western world celebrated Jesus resurrection. This year, however, the Lenten season must continue. The world is groaning, bewildered, and suffering. While the earth continues to whirl around the sun, it’s as if God hit a pause button for humanity on the earth’s computer. To survive, humanity needs to cease from familiar activities and busyness. People are ordered to stay at home and flatten the curve. Each individual holds the gift to help heal the other. These are humbling, vulnerable, and empowering times.

“Do not let your heart be troubled. You trust in God, trust also in me.”

Stay at home may feel like a death sentence to the extrovert who is socially driven. With the Meyers Brigg assessment my preference is INFP. On the Enneagram wheel, I am a Type 4 with a subtype of self-preservation. A stay at home order feels like a load of expectation has been taken off of my shoulders. I can stay at home and not feel guilty. Even Zoom can feel intrusive. When our Turkish lawyer friend recently messaged me to make sure that we were okay he said that he could arrange for his mother to FaceTime with us. I told him that for her I would, but, mostly I avoid using FaceTime. We lived on the ground floor of this family’s house for many years in Gaziantep, Turkey. They watched our children grow up, so, how could I not FaceTime with my surrogate mother!

Wilbur and I live in a spacious Victorian house. For almost a decade we had people from America and all over the world live with us. At the most, there were 12 people living with us at one time. Wilbur and I created a personal apartment on the north side of the main floor and our guests lived throughout the rest of the house. We all shared the kitchen and other spaces. Our home was home for about 60 people in that season.

February 29, when there were only rumblings of COVID-19 in America, the last of our renters left and we became empty nesters. The first morning we were alone Wilbur went stomping and hollering up the stairs at 5 am just because he could! We had been in conversations with a contractor regarding some updates on our home. As we followed the development of the Corona virus on the 2:00 briefings by Governor DeWine we determined any contractual work would need to be put on hold. Shortly thereafter Ohio was put in a lockdown.

“Do not let your heart be troubled. You trust in God, trust also in me.”

Just the two of us; for the first time, in this home and with a lockdown, we can do things our way. We can work late into the night, we can sleep in, we can walk through any room we wish to and we can rest at will. Staying at home is a great way to press on with renovations. I have painted room after room with 10 foot ceilings. We opened up the three pocket doors on the main floor and turned the rooms back to their original purposes. Wilbur has been tearing out carpet and has removed the sheet rock which blocked the transoms on the second floor.

“Stay, stay at home and rest,
Housekeeping hearts are happiest.”
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Even while staying at home, I feel connected with our suffering world. COVID 19 reveals the vulnerability of humanity globally. The virus does not respect borders or countries. Poor and rich can be infected. It is insidious. Our Turkish friends are checking in on us to make sure we are okay. America, the “super power” is now just as vulnerable as any other nation. Our son and his wife who live in Japan preferred to stay there rather than return to America. Our son said “It feels less out of control in Japan.”

Governor DeWine encourages all Ohioans to wear DIY masks in public. On Palm Sunday I used a Turkish scarf with an edge of intricate lacework for my mask on our walk. I posted a picture of that on FB. A lawyer, a sister to the brother I referred to earlier, loved the idea and said that she will begin wearing her scarves like that too. This friend is Muslim and I am Christian. We each posted to the other person that we are praying for God’s mercy and for God to heal the world. The world has shrunk because of COVID 19. We can care for each other in simple and practical ways even while social distancing.

This week I pulled out my sewing machine from her case, she seemed quite surprised to see me after all these years. She obliged graciously and hummed along as I sewed masks for our family in Columbus, in Kansas and in Japan. It’s a different kind of Easter gift to the family and I’m grateful that I can give it. I am also grateful for the gift of praying without ceasing. Every breath, even unconsciously, can be a prayer, while focusing on other tasks. Prayer, like the virus, knows no boundaries and allows me to help bring healing to the nations.

“Do not change your behavior to avoid being infected. Assume you are infected and change your behavior to avoid transmitting.”  -Unknown

“Do not let your heart be troubled. You trust in God, trust also in me.”

Some links:
“Just the Two of Us” (SKIP AD)
Bill Withers, who passed away last week, wrote this song in 1981, the year we were married. Wilbur found this lovely rendition.