I Taught Them About the Virus… and This

Mar 13, 2020

This afternoon, I asked my three young children to sit down on the rug in our living room, and I positioned myself across from them. They were diagnosed with Influenza A last week, and the dark circles under their eyes reminded me that their bodies were still recovering.

These sweet children of mine haven’t stepped foot outside of our house in seven days. They haven’t seen friends or family or really even gone much farther than the backyard for some sunshine (on the days the sun finally peeks out from behind the clouds here in Middle Tennessee). They have been quarantined, but until this afternoon they wouldn’t have been able to tell you what that word meant.

Ten, eight and five years old — they barely know where Italy and China are on a globe. They don’t understand closed borders or restricted air travel. They don’t understand shortages or runs on toilet paper and cleaning supplies. They don’t know what they don’t know…

…part of me envies their childlike ignorance of what’s happening in the world around all of us.

Yet as their momma it’s up to me to not only know the facts, but to know how to present them to my family and deal with those facts in the most responsible way. It’s up to their father and me to decide how we will move forward and prepare and go about our lives while entire countries are overwhelmed by this global pandemic.

“What is it, momma?”

“What do you want to tell us?”

“Why are we sitting here?”

I took a deep breath, and changed the way they’d see the world forever.

Just as I had broken crackers into mushable crumbs on their highchair trays when they were little, I broke facts and information into child-sized bites. I fed them stories about how the world works and why people are sick and how we are going to do our best to be okay. I told them why we were going to get extra groceries and they might hear their daddy and I talk about a new virus called CoVid-19. I told them why churches are cancelling services and why we aren’t going to be going out into big crowds of people for awhile. I taught them about the virus, and then I taught them the importance of ending conversations like these with hope.

I told them what each of us so desperately wants to be reassured of right now… I told them we are all going to be okay.

I wonder if that’s how you feel. I know it doesn’t seem like it. We read opinion articles, and stories from friends overseas, and reports from the CDC and World Health Organization, and we wonder, How is any of this going to be okay?

We wonder who has the right facts, who we should trust, who is under-preparing for this, and who is blowing it out of proportion, and we ask ourselves, What if it isn’t okay? What if it’s never okay ever again?

Schools are cancelling, churches are cancelling, gatherings, sporting events, concerts all cancelling… and they tell us they are just trying to “flatten the curve.”

They say that the wave will hit the United States as it has hit so many other parts of the world, but they are trying to keep the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed. They are trying to make sure that if a person needs a bed in ICU and a respirator, there is a bed and a respirator. They are trying to make sure thousands don’t need life-saving measures at once. 

And so we nod our heads and say, “We understand.” And we wash our hands (like we have for our entire lives but with purpose now)

…and fear tries it’s hardest to spread like CoVid-19.

It tries to spread, and we try to stop it, but we cannot just wash away fear like we wash germs off of our hands. So we try to stop the spread of fear other ways.

Some try to make themselves feel better by saying, “At least this isn’t as bad as x, y, or z.” 

Some try to make themselves feel safer by buying extra necessities so they don’t have to go back out into public for awhile.

Some people try to make themselves feel safer by diving into the statistics.

And others try to make themselves feel better by wearing gloves and masks and goggles in public.

But all of us no matter how we are handling this pandemic are simply doing everything we can to quiet the fear that says, “You’re not okay.”

We scroll the internet and read story after story and see memes and gifs poking fun at the way others are handling this, and we laugh because laughter is healing. But we laugh at each other because we are convinced that the way we tell ourselves we are okay is the only right way to tell yourself you’re okay.

The truth is?

All of the people who are doing all of those things that might seem ridiculous to you are scared in their own way.

They’re scared and they’re trying just as hard as you are to figure it all out. They don’t want to be wrong. They don’t want to get sick or die. They don’t want the people they love to get sick or to die either. And it’s new and it’s scary. And we are all just the kids sitting across from people with more information than us asking, “What is it? What do you need to tell us?”

All hoping that at the end we are reassured that eventually the world will go back to whatever normal looked like for us before.

I have a feeling there’s more that we don’t know. I have a feeling we don’t even know what we don’t know yet.

But there is one thing I’m sure of. 

We can do everything in our power to not catch CoVid-19, but we must be equally vigilant about not allowing fear to spread like a virus inside of us.

We must cling to the truth that the Lord is with us and gives wisdom to those who ask for it. And we must cling (metaphorically) to each other. Because the way we get to the other side of this thing is by loving our neighbors well. By remembering that we are all trying to make it out of this thing alive.

So, my plea is to be compassionate, friends.

Be compassionate toward the woman with medical trauma who is fully triggered by this global event.

Be compassionate toward the momma of children with underlying medical conditions.

Be compassionate toward the aging couple who is being told not to travel to see their grandchildren.

Be compassionate toward the medically fragile and the mentally fragile and the emotionally fragile.

Be compassionate toward that person who seems so misguided. 

Be compassionate with one another.

In hours like these the church has the opportunity to show compassion and show the world that there is hope. Because there is. There is hope. There is hope. There is hope.

Even here there is hope.

This afternoon after my conversation with my kids, we all went out onto the back porch to color as the sun went down. I looked around at how normal the moment felt wondering what life will be like in just a matter of weeks. They are building houses just across the greenbelt and the hammering of nails and electric tools reminded me that while the world feels as if it’s crashing down, there are still good things being built. I think even in the midst of this world-wide crisis we have the opportunity to do just that.

We have the opportunity to build a more compassionate humanity.

Deep breath. Let’s pray together.

Father, we pray for our families and our neighbors. We pray the blessing found in Scripture over those we love and ask that You would bless us and keep us, make Your face shine on us and give us peace. We ask You to be our shield and our strength. We ask You to remove fear that would plague our hearts. Show us what to do. Give us compassion for one another. Give us wisdom because You love us and because we earnestly seek it. Aid the medical professionals. Give strength to the doctors and scientists. Heal those who are sick. Stop the spread of infection. Help us, God, as only You can. We ask all these things in Jesus’s name. Amen.

7 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for using your platform to share this important message. As I scroll social media and read up on statistics and consult with doctors about my higher than average risk, I wonder if I am under reacting, overreacting, or acting just right.

    I laugh and wonder at the ones who are buying lifetime supplies of toilet paper, and then make sure we’re stocked with twice our usual amount of baby formula, just in case.

    We’re all coping with this scary scary time in the best way that we can.

    Today I plan to sit my 3 year old daughter down, and feed her bite sized facts as you did, washed down with lots and lots of love and hope.

    This is important because she already knows something big is happening. She overhears me on the phone with grandma, sees me crying in dad’s arms, and it is not fair or practical to leave her to connect these scary dots with her tiny little hands and egocentric understanding of the world.

    Thank you for sharing, and for summing up this whole situation with wisdom and positivity and hope.

    Xoxo
    Stay healthy.

    Reply
  2. Wonderful insight and wisdom! God bless you and yours!

    Reply
  3. So beautifully written. This RN and mama appreciates your words. This thing is so hard. I have two young sons with autism and a partner with MS who is immunocompromised. I left the house at 0630 to stock up on groceries this morning and we aren’t leaving the house for quite some time.

    Thank you….for your continued prayers. We are praying for you and your family also. God is with us….always.

    Reply
  4. Thank you for being open minded and willing to do whatever it takes.We may get the virus and be ok, but the ones we pass it to may not.

    Reply
  5. Amen, and amen.

    Reply
  6. Thank you for sharing this. It is perfect.

    Reply
  7. Amen and amen

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

I’m a best-selling author and full-time work at home momma writing and raising my family with my husband, Jared, just outside of Nashville. I connect women with real hope.

more categories
pre-order

my new book

in stores and online 3.31.20

midnight mom devotional

365 prayers to put your momma heart to rest

There is something about a quiet house in the midnight hours that causes stress and anxious thoughts that have been ignored throughout the day to rise to the surface of a mother’s heart. We understand how lonely and overwhelming those late-night hours can be. That’s why we wrote Midnight Mom Devotional: 365 Prayers to Put Your Momma Heart to Rest.

read the latest

from the blog

He Didn’t Know I Had a Mental Illness When We Got Married

He Didn’t Know I Had a Mental Illness When We Got Married

He didn't know he was marrying someone with a mental illness... Mostly because we had only known each other for about five months when we got engaged. I was eighteen when he put that ring onto my finger and asked if I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I...

read more
For the Momma Who Needs to Speak Kindly to Herself

For the Momma Who Needs to Speak Kindly to Herself

I was on the phone with my mom telling her about my day. “It sounds like you got a lot done,” she said. But I didn’t feel like her words were true. “It’s not a big deal. I didn’t get that much done. I have so much to do still,” I answered. I was completely unimpressed...

read more
For the Momma Who Just Can’t Keep Up

For the Momma Who Just Can’t Keep Up

I wander around my house and there is continual proof that I can’t keep up. I can’t always keep up with the dishes. I can’t keep up with the laundry-covered guest bed (even when I promise myself I’ll do one load a day.) I can’t keep up with the kids’ bathroom that...

read more
Oh, Anxious Mom

Oh, Anxious Mom

Oh, anxious momma, your heart feels like it can only take so much. Your thoughts seem to never stop racing. You continually count your "okays." My kids are okay. My husband is okay. My house is okay. My job is okay. My family is okay. My friends are okay. And you...

read more
For the Momma Who Feels Like the World’s Worst

For the Momma Who Feels Like the World’s Worst

I have this memory from when my kids were little... they had spent the morning playing with play doh and coloring and reading and dragging out all of their toys and FIGHTING. There had been tons of fighting. I had my four month old on my hip as I put away the dishes...

read more
For the Moms Who Will Be Up Late This Week

For the Moms Who Will Be Up Late This Week

It's 12:36 a.m., and I'm the only one awake in my house. I had to wait until everyone was asleep so I could sneak presents in from the car. I have a feeling this won't be the only night this week that I stay up well-after everyone else has gone to bed. There are just...

read more
For the Mom Who Doesn’t Think She Can Do This

For the Mom Who Doesn’t Think She Can Do This

She was on the other side of the wall in the next room. I couldn’t hear what the nurses were saying or her husband or friends. I couldn’t hear what words her family might have spoken to assure her. I couldn’t hear the calm words of the doctor or the likely beeping of...

read more
For the Momma Who is Stronger than She Knows

For the Momma Who is Stronger than She Knows

You are strong. I imagine you don’t usually feel as if that word fits you. ...stressed tired overwhelmed anxious exhausted... Maybe it seems those words better fit how you feel most days. And maybe they do. Maybe you pour and give and never feel quite filled back up....

read more
The Building is On Fire and We are Just Watching

The Building is On Fire and We are Just Watching

18 years ago, on September 11, 2001 at 9:41:15 a.m Richard Drew captured a horrific photograph of a man falling from the North Tower of the World Trade Center. One hour. There was one hour between the time the plane crashed into the North Tower and the time this...

read more
5 THINGS YOU NEED TO BE REMINDED OF RIGHT NOW

5 THINGS YOU NEED TO BE REMINDED OF RIGHT NOW

  Have a seat. Just stop scrolling for a second. Or thirty. Please. Here are five things someone needs to remind you this weekend. 1.) You get to the other side of this thing. God walks with you and He meets you there and that means it’s all okay in the end. It’s...

read more
The Pass/Fail Test I Wasn’t Prepared to Take

The Pass/Fail Test I Wasn’t Prepared to Take

He had watched his older brother and sister stand on the front porch for their first day of school photos for years. He knew exactly what he was doing Monday morning when I said, “Okay, let’s take a picture before we leave for Pre-K.” He tucked his arms into his...

read more
3 Signs It’s Time to Get Help with Your Anxiety

3 Signs It’s Time to Get Help with Your Anxiety

1. You feel kind of anxious. 2. You feel really anxious. 3. You feel overwhelmingly anxious. That’s it. No one needs to tell you to wait until you can’t breathe or you’re having panic attacks. Don’t wait until you are unable to perform simple tasks or you begin...

read more
error: Content is protected !!