Our Isolation Anniversary

This is the week we were supposed to be in Italy, celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary (May 25). We had it planned. Had the dates and the villa in Sicily. We hadn’t pulled the trigger on the flights because they were much more expensive than we had hoped. We were waiting to see if they would go down. They probably have gone down. A lot. I haven’t checked.

Our first trip to Italy, 2015

Our second choice was going to be an Alaskan cruise. Doug is not interested in going on a cruise even a tiny bit. But I have always wanted to do the Alaskan one and thought I could convince him because Stephen Curtis Chapman is hosting one that happens to be over my birthday. It was the perfect storm: favorite musician, 35th anniversary, my birthday…enter COVID-19. That swirling and gurgling sound coming from the bathroom is my one and only shot of a cruise going down the toilet.

Oh well. Instead of spending a week in an exotic place, we have spent the last two months at home together. With elective surgeries being cancelled, Doug’s hours were cut in half, and he had zero on-call hours. We were able to spend most of our days together, organizing the basement, taking long walks and scenic drives, and giving lots of foot massages. It has been fabulous! I am looking forward to retirement, if this was any indication of what that will be like.

We’ve “eaten out” a lot more than we normally do. In an effort to support our local restaurants, we’ve ordered take-out every weekend from at least five different restaurants. It’s good we’re taking longs walks together every day, since we’re “eating out” so much. When we started walking, I was doing about a mile a day. Now we are up to almost four miles a day. On our walks we’ve met more of our neighbors, talked over some really deep stuff, and explored more of our neighborhood, all while holding hands. Our walks often end by sitting on the front porch sharing a little bit of Merrymead ice cream.

Nope, this week wasn’t what we had planned. We haven’t visited Sicilian villages filled with overflowing window flower boxes and quaint trattorias, sampling the gelato at every chance. The last few months haven’t been what we would have planned. But it has been a time of increased spiritual growth, physical strength, and emotional connectedness that we otherwise may have missed.

Most importantly, our love for one another has deepened. I feel for those who have been completely isolated during the shutdown. It has been such a blessing to go through this time with the love of my life. I’m looking forward to things getting back to normal soon and especially seeing our kids and grandkids in person. But for now, I am completely content spending my time with the one person who has meant the most to me for 35 (plus) years.

Dandelion Love

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

My three-year-old granddaughter loves dandelions. It is her mission in life to pick every dandelion she sees. She thinks they are beautiful and highly prized. With great pride, she presents her bright yellow bouquets to her mother, who is instructed to put them in water to keep them pretty. In her world, the only thing better than a blooming dandelion is a dandelion that has gone to seed. The seed-filled puff balls are picked and the seeds blown, sometimes with a few sticking to her little lips. Dandelions bring her joy.

Driving to church yesterday, my husband pointed out a field covered in dandelions. He sort of groaned, but I commented how happy our granddaughter would be in that field. That got me thinking how different our perspectives can be. To some, dandelions are just a nuisance, a weed to be eradicated from an otherwise pristine lawn. But to others, they are beautiful and even desirable. I’m okay with dandelions. To me they herald spring, which I am always happy to welcome.

I heard a radio commercial this year asking people to allow dandelions to bloom because they are one of the first and most vital nectar sources for pollination. They serve a very important purpose. Without them, we might not have other plant species we love or foods we enjoy. We can take a lesson from the lowly dandelion.

Sometimes I see myself as that dandelion that others dread seeing and would like to get rid of. I know I can be annoying. And I feel sometimes that I am not contributing anything of value to others’ lives. But then I remember my granddaughter and her perspective on dandelions. That is how God sees me. To him I am not a nuisance. I am his beautiful creation. And he has given me purpose and equipped me to serve others in my own unique way, that I may be a blessing to them and bring joy to him.

My worth doesn’t come from who or what I am, but from him. He made me. He gave me life. He died for me. He desires to have a relationship with me. So, like the dandelions in my front yard, I’ll keep growing, reaching toward heaven, doing my part to glorify the God who made me and loves me as I am. I will trust him to use me in my little sphere of influence to do the works he has prepared for me to do.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

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