By Barb Arland-Fye
From the holy to the humorous, families are responding to the coronavirus pandemic in creative and poignant ways that inspire me and add to my sense of hope this Easter season.
Trevor Pullinger posted photos of his wife Jescie and four of their five young children praying the Stations of the Cross in their home in Keokuk on Good Friday. “We had Stations of the Cross during the 3:00 PM hour,” Trevor wrote. A hyperlink to printable Stations of the Cross appear on the post. I clicked on the hyperlink and found a list of Holy Week activities to do at home, courtesy of Church of All Saints-Keokuk, where Trevor serves as director of faith formation and youth ministry.
All Saints and other parishes throughout the Diocese of Davenport offer many online opportunities to celebrate our faith in this unexpected and unprecedented time away from church. However, the resilience demonstrated by so many families in this trying time lifts some of the heaviness of a crisis that compels us to think more deeply about life on earth and our relationship with our God who created it.
Facebook friend, Nikki Gartner, posted a photo displaying a tray of her teenage daughter’s artfully decorated Easter cookies. “Bri has been very busy!” Nikki wrote in her post. “Lucky for her it’s Good Friday and we are fasting or there wouldn’t be nearly as many cookies left to take a picture of!”
Our assistant editor at The Catholic Messenger, Anne Marie Amacher, has been posting photos and humorous “Star date” logs from Leo the cat. In his April 2 post, Leo wrote: “All is quiet in the Amacher household. Cats and humans in routine now — aka Payton and I can sleep during the day without much human interruption. Sun was out earlier today so Payton girl could warm up in the sun. I continue to be the neighborhood watch cat. — Leo out.” I can’t wait to read each day’s Star date log from Leo.
On National Siblings Day, April 8, Facebook friends posted nostalgic photos of their siblings that inexplicably caused a lump to form in my throat. One of the photos, which my mom posted, shows my dad and his eight siblings, mom and grandma posing happily outside their home during World War II. The oldest, Tom, who was home on leave during World War II, later died in action on the USS Bismarck Sea. The photo generated many comments from cousins that renewed our bond, virtually. My youngest brother, Brian, also posted photos for National Siblings Day, which reminded me that my three brothers remain an important part of my life. The coronavirus can’t change that reality.
At present, my older son Colin spends his weekdays here at the house because his special needs program has been closed. Each afternoon before he returns to his apartment, Colin bursts into my temporary office and excitedly asks me, “Will you be here tomorrow?” His autistic mind craves routine, and my daily presence, along with his dad’s, has become part of it! Colin wants to make sure that anchor stays in place. We always say goodbye with an elbow bump, a new ritual from the time of coronavirus that Colin absolutely loves.
No doubt every family struggles to deal with the ramifications of the coronavirus. Some deal with domestic abuse or wonder where their next meal will come from. We need to keep them in our prayers and provide whatever support is possible. My heart especially goes out to families missing loved ones in nursing homes. They are learning to connect by phone, video chats, greeting cards and visits through the windows.
I thank God for one of the hidden blessings of this crisis, time to connect as families in holy, humorous and creative ways.
(Contact Editor Barb Arland-Fye at firstname.lastname@example.org)