Pre-pre-pre apocalyptic “feels” have been the vibe today… I’m reflecting after a short drive to see my three boys. (because when there is a mass-hysteria blanket covering the world, a Mamma needs to hug her sons, see their eyes and feel their hearts) The morning started off hopeful. I really thought (hoped) people would flock to church…it is Sunday ya know. (no judgey-ness) I get it. “They” are telling us to stay sheltered inside. But what better shelter to be in than our church? During times of stress and pressure, (fear, crisis, panic) people used to run toward God. (ex. The Gulf War and 911). Today was different, and not in the good way. It was weird… a heaviness was present… as if all the joy in the universe was sucked out of everyone and everything. Thankfully, it lifted for a while as we sang the Lord’s praises and heard His word preached. Our church folks came out, but less than normal. To be fair, it’s also Spring break and several of our folks are sick with the common flu. So who knows the true reason for all the absences? But the vibe was a little sad at the start of both services, reserved, fearful. As we walked around to visit – with no shaking hands, no hugs, and very few smiles – I became immediately overwhelmed with a burden. A heaviness had set upon us, the fruit of the fear. The whole entire universe, literally, seems to be afraid. I mean, it’s like This Present Darkness (Frank Perretti) type of heaviness and oppression. There was a deficit of JOY! And this time, it’s not over there somewhere, it’s here among us. It’s not that we are all “fraidycats”- because there is a real danger out there – and it is scary! As, I drove after church to see my three sons, it was weird out there, too. The Interstate was not busy. The normal traffic was not there. And it wasn’t slow because it was a Sunday. They live in a super busy, sleepy, little town that has grown out of proportion. (busy all the time y’all!) But a somber shield had set over the horizon. My kids were less cheerful, less funny, too serious for my taste… weirdsville! Also, the restaurant we went to made a decision today not to use straws… ugh, why? It seems safer than drinking from a glass their servers could touch! I mean really? Finally, I found out the straws do not have covers.. ok, I get it. (flashback to ‘70-80’s working in restaurants, slinging those plastic straws to and fro without thought of the germs, ewe) I’m good with the rule. Side note: they did make a great Chinese chicken salad! So, I left my sons with full tummies and equipped with packs of toilet paper, which they swiped out of my car. (I’m not hoarding those two packages. I’m just too lazy to carry them in the house) So they took them off my hands! I drove the whole way home feeling lonesome from the loss of joy in the atmosphere. What will the next few days and weeks hold? Will this pandemic get worse? (what’s the word they use for worse than a pandemic, apocalypse maybe?) I pray not. I pray that we will catch a break, the arc will flatten, this virus will go away, no more people will die and the best-case-scenario will be that everyone will wash their hands, not just more, but all the time! That has needed to be the norm for a long time! Just ask my Mamma! My faith is in God alone. I will not live in fear. I will have joy, in the high places as well as the low ones. HE is there with me. Is it scary? YES! Will I allow it to swallow me up with fear? NO! I am fortunate to have married my boyfriend, who it turns out, loves the Lord and the Lord loves him right back. He speaks to him and uses him to help us all. He knows scripture and how to discern the seemingly smallest verses into what God is saying. He’s pretty smart, that one! I know his heart is to lead people to the Lord and to have confidence in our Savior. We must rely on God’s covering during these times, when the whole world seems out of control. It’s not. God has His hand on us. He will see us through, and in the duration, I will find joy. And Lord, please send us the sun, at least part of the time. And let Spring be warm and bright, please. Because these overcast skies make it all the more creepy.