Gratitude Day 473
Tues., June 9, 2020
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Ninety-one days. A day over three months. Could you be confined to a small room for that period of time?
Because of COVID-19, my Aunt Beverly has. Here is her story.
Aunt Beverly was my Mom’s elder sister by six years. She’s been a mom, spouse, grandmother and recently became a great-grandmother for the first time. She’s served as an extension agent, a teacher, a counselor, and an advisor. Aunt Beverly loves to quilt, sew, grow flowers, read, cook, help others and is knowledgeable about antiques.
For the last 91 days, she has been confined to her individual room at the assisted living facility where she resides in Denver, CO. Since March 8, all meals are delivered to resident’s rooms. At times, residents were able to get their mail but now mail is delivered. A few days ago, Bev walked to the main desk to discuss an issue These little trips are extremely limited and only for a truly short period of time.
The facility’s management has been highly protective of the folks entrusted into their care. They implemented these strict restrictions for the health and safety of the residents a good week earlier than many other places because of their high-risk population. Everyone wears masks. Contact is limited. Even with these stringent precautions, residents have contracted the virus, and some have died.
When I think of the stay-in-place order and how it has affected Hubby Rick and myself and compare this to Aunt Bev, it’s crystal clear to me that our impact is nothing compared to how Aunt Bev’s life has been impacted. For Beverly, it’s been 90+ days of looking at the same four walls and trying to keep herself challenged mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
This July, Aunt Beverly will turn 90-years-old. This means she was born during the Depression and was a pre-teen and teenager during WWII. Beverly married Morris Anderson in her early 20’s. Morris served in the military and was stationed in Germany during the Cold War. Beverly and their two eldest children lived in Germany while Morris was stationed there.
Beverly has also lived through the death of her husband, the challenges related to raising four children, multiple moves and job changes, the time when women began to discover more of their own voices, the death of a daughter along with countless other opportunities that are a part of life. She has outlived both her younger sister and brother. Yet, Beverly feels that living through this virus and being confined to her room is “the most crazy and difficult time of my life.”
Maybe it’s because this time, Bev has no ability to control or impact the situation. Possibly it is because Bev is an extrovert and misses daily contact with people. Her sewing machine has been acting up and her television died. This means Bev is having to find other ways to keep her mind active and find meaning in her daily life.
How does Beverly sustain herself through this challenging time? Every night before she goes to bed, she reads the Bible. Lately, she has been inspired to read many of the psalms and finds great comfort in them. She has received multiple word search, coloring books and other mind-challenging books from her family. Bev reads regularly and has been exploring a new series of books that were sent to her.
Do the days get long? Of course. Are some days better than others? Naturally. “I just have to put this situation into God’s hands,” says Beverly. “As a doer most of my life, learning to simply be all day long has been hard.”
Beverly is committed to not simply sit around and feel sorry for herself. Daily, she makes sure and challenges her mind. Bev incorporates activities into her day that give her mind inspiration and help her be at peace. She’s rediscovered once again how important the small things in life truly are. Fresh flowers or a new plant in her room truly give her a breath of fresh air.
Shortly before the stay-in-place order was implemented, Bev’s family arranged for an Alexa Echo Show in her room. This is an Alexa device with a screen. This Alexa has been a lifeline for Beverly. It allows her to “see” her family when they call and keep in touch with them. Visits from her family via Alexa break up her day. Even short visits are deeply meaningful. Recently, her daughter Susan and son-in-law Ben took her on a tour through their flower gardens, which was incredibly uplifting for a woman who has spent countless hours gardening herself.
A woman grounded in faith; Beverly yearns for spiritual connection. Every Sunday, Aunt Bev and I have a weekly chat/devotion time. We share a devotion, which has become Beverly’s “church.” We pray together and catch-up. Bev’s favorite Bible verse is John 3:16 because it reminds her of God’s love for her. This verse is powerful for Beverly because it emphasizes how God sent Jesus as a man into this world for all of humanity.
When the stay-in-place order is lifted at her facility, Bev looks forward to being with other people. Attending exercise class. Playing bridge. Listening to the entertainment brought in for residents. Pre-COVID-19, her family planned a 90th birthday celebration for extended family and friends over the 4th of July weekend. Unsure that the care facility will allow for visitors by then, plans are shifting and will include either a virtual celebration or a gathering at a later date.
“It is amazing how different people have coped with this virus situation,” says Aunt Beverly. In my mind, Beverly, you’ve done a tremendous job of keeping yourself grounded, focused and content with things that feed your heart and soul. Thank you for your wonderful example. May the rest of us discover some of the peace you make sure are a part of your daily life.
For the lessons I am learning from Aunt Beverly, I am grateful.
Today, we pray the prayer that Aunt Beverly and I always pray at the end of our visits: Our Father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. They will be done. On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Holy God – Amen.
If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.