Sunday, November 15, 2020

A Prayer for a Challenging Time

This has been a bad week for the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in Colorado.  Our infection rates were holding steady in the hundreds per day all summer into early fall, but by October 15th, the numbers surged to a thousand, and then by early November into many thousands with an all-time high of almost 6,500 cases in one day this past week! Sadly, our state is not alone in this dramatic rise in positive cases.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment devised a graphic dial to use as a gauge for each of our 64 counties to help us ascertain our risks. You can see that graph on this link.  My county is now in level orange--high risk--which came with new restrictions that can be seen on this graph. Many sources feel the increase of cases is due to these reasons: more time being spent indoors as our weather cools, increased small social gatherings of friends, neighbors, and families from different households.

Although schools were open for in-person instruction in most districts in Colorado since September, there were hardly any outbreaks at the primary grade level and just a few at the middle school, as strict mask-wearing precautions and social distancing methods were in adherence. High Schools and Colleges were not as fortunate, however, but it was felt that the reason was that students socialized in groups after school without wearing masks, etc.  As our Covid-19 infection numbers rise, most school districts at an orange level have now decided to close the schools and have all students learn remotely.

Our Thanksgiving buffet 2019

My family has made the decision not to gather together for Thanksgiving this year.  We will each have our own celebration in our own homes. We felt the only way to safely gather from other households would be for everyone to quarantine completely for two weeks, and, unfortunately, none of us can accomplish that. I have researched the possibility of all of us getting "rapid" Covid tests, but I found that the reliability of these tests for both false positives and negative results is too high to be reliable. It's very hard to think that we can't all be together this year but health is a priority. No one wants to believe that they could be infected by a family member but it happens, and often by someone who is asymptomatic. 

 Last November, our daughter had open-heart surgery to repair a heart valve a week before Thanksgiving and she stayed at our house for a while post-op after she was released from the hospital, as I am an RN and could monitor her progress. It would have been wonderful to celebrate the anniversary of her surgery and the fact that she is doing so well a year later.  We never could have dreamed of the challenges this year brought to us all!

But, although there are disappointments and changes in the usual routines and traditions, the most important thing right now is that we all stay healthy.  These days of staying home, and staying safe, are not without their positives aspects.  Slowing down and appreciating the smaller pleasures and gifts of each day, with a new focus on gratitude, can also be looked upon as an unexpected gift.

This poem was written long ago but is perfect for this time of worry about SARS-CoV-2 and the need to slow down and be careful, yet still savor all the social little moments in our days. I hope it will also bring peace to you, dear reader, as it has to me...

"Slow me down, Lord!
Ease the pounding of my heart
By the quieting of my mind.
Steady my harried pace
With a vision of the eternal reach of time.
Give me, amidst the confusions of my day,
The calmness of the everlasting hills.
Break the tensions of my nerves
With the soothing music of the sighing streams
That live in my memory.
Help me to know
The magical restoring power of sleep.
Teach me the art
Of taking minute vacations of slowing down to look at a flower;
To chat with an old friend or to make a new one;
To pat a stray dog,
To watch a spider build a web;
To smile at a child;
Or to read a few lines from a good book.
Remind me each day
That the race is not always to the swift;
That there is more to life than increasing its speed.
Let me look upward
Into the branches of the towering oak
And know that it grew slowly and well.
Slow me down, Lord,
And inspire me to send my roots deep
Into the soil of life’s enduring values
That I may grow toward the stars
Of my great destiny."

Stay happy, safe, and healthy!

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Lorrie said...

That is a truly lovely prayer, and so very appropriate for these days. I think your decision to not gather for Thanksgiving is a responsible one. We are thinking ahead to Christmas and planning how we can celebrate Christ's birth separately. We will have a new grandchild in a couple of weeks and we are all being as careful as possible, this in spite of the fact that I'm still teaching. It's all very complicated and we do pray that we will have calm hearts.

Ruth Hiebert said...

Thanks for sharing that prayer. I came across it many years ago when I was going through a deep depression. It encouraged me then and still does so today. I had forgotten about this poem and also lost my copy of it. This COVID-19 is really messing up our countries. We are in Code Red, so basically that means staying home except to pick up groceries.

Judy said...

Such a beautiful post during this trying time, Pat! Thank you for the encouraging prayer. We are spending much quality time at home these days and also wondering what Christmas will look like. We have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but I am thankful that God is still in control. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, as you celebrate separately this year.

Judy said...

Such a beautiful post during this trying time, Pat! Thank you for the encouraging prayer. We are spending much quality time at home these days and also wondering what Christmas will look like. We have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but I am thankful that God is still in control. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, as you celebrate separately this year.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat,

Thanks for sharing the beautiful prayer. The Covid cases are going back up here too, just like they originally said. The flu season added to Covid can be dangerous. I am glad you daughter had a great year recovering from her heart surgery. It is best to be safe than sorry. Hubby and I will be staying home fixing a dinner for the two of us. I am thankful for the small pleasures, thankful to have food on the table and a home. Take care, enjoy your day! Wishing you a happy new week!

Michele Morin said...

Carrying the first line of that prayer into a busy day. Thank you!

Susanne said...

Thanks for sharing the photos and the prayer. Wouldn't it be a blessing if COVID couldn't live in the cold. Take care, stay well.

Dawn said...

I love seeing the deer in the snow, so peaceful.
So thankful your daughter had surgery last year and not 2020.
We will not be gathering either, but it's because everyone lives so far away and the travel restrictions. It makes me sad as the holidays are my favorite time of the year.
Your holiday spread last year looks wonderful.
Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

Barbara R. said...

Yes, your decision to stay home is well made, and the poem does give one a sense of peace. Stay well, stay safe y'all!

Beth said...

Our plan for Thanksgiving is to share food with our son and his family. Let me explain: I will make some of the dishes and they will make some. Then we'll do a porch drop to exchange/share food. I feel it is sad but necessary. Those plans may change, as our DIL has been exposed and is quarantining; plan will change if she shows up positive. Praying that doesn't happen. Our other adult child, a daughter, lives 1000 miles away and we haven't seen her family since Christmas last year. They have a brand new baby - but we have no plans to visit at this time. Despite all that is happening, God is good and He is in control.

Jeannelle said...

Our family, too, has decided not to gather for Thanksgiving. Thank you for sharing the very meaningful poem.

Rain said...

It's too bad you can't enjoy Thanksgiving all together. We had our Canadian Thanksgiving last month and it's usually just me and my husband anyway. The food looks great though! And what lovely deer! The snow looks beautiful!

NCSue said...

Wishing you safety and health.
Thanks for sharing at

Lydia C. Lee said...

It's really hard and really sucky but the stricter the lockdown, the shorter it can be. I just wish this whole stupid ting will go away soon. Take care.

Penelope Notes said...

The deer in the snow look so restful. Such a strange unexpected year experienced by the entire world. Health is of utmost importance. Better to stay safe and share bigger celebrations with loved ones at a later date.

stevebethere said...

What a lovely post I enjoyed all the photos and the food ope everyone enjoyed your Thanksgiving buffet heheh! :-)

Have a safetastic week 😷😷😷

Barb said...

I was so glad to read that your daughter is doing well! All our grands are now on-line again. I think it's hardest for ones in elementary school - our Sam is in 2nd grade and really misses his friends and face to face time with teachers. Thank you for the prayer, Pat, and the reminder to slow down, observe, and sooth the spirit.

Tom said...

...these scary number are the result of not taking this pandemic seriously, if not now, then when?

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

What a great poem!!
Your family is very wise to not get together. We are not having a big celebration ourselves. I am hoping that as the vaccines come online and become more available maybe we can start getting a handle on the virus.

Joanne said...

I am so sorry to hear about the rise in cases in your area: it is something I think is happening everywhere. So far my son's high school has only had 3 (isolated) cases in the past 10 weeks but they have been preparing for a return to full virtual learning just in case. We all believe it's only a matter of time.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

That red rolling backpack is an eye-catcher!

Jeanie said...

Every word (except the part about your daughter's surgery anniversary) rings absolutely true to me. And could fit for here, too. It's just Rick and me for TG. It's not worth the risk. Our Gov put in new restrictions and is getting so much flack for it, both from our state government and Trump/Scott Atlas. Well, I'm glad she has. But we're all on pins and needles. Please stay safe and well in your beautiful snow-filled state.

Angie said...

Oh my goodness, Pat, that prayer has me in tears. I am a person of busy, with to-do lists and ambitions that far exceed the hours in the day. So, this prayer resonates with me far beyond the current COVID situation, although that is certainly relevant as well. It is incumbent on all of us to plan for the marathon, and not the sprint. Thanks for taking the time to link to Mosaic Monday - I appreciate your photos, your thoughts, and your inspiration!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Stay safe and be smart with those numbers. I can tell you last summer we here in Florida had over 15,000 new cases in one day. Florida opened too soon after the shutdown and lots of folks here are stupid and rushed to the beach and to bars where they caught the virus. Your photos make snow so pretty - I guess that's the way I like it - I did move to Florida for the sun and warmth but I love seeing photos of winter wonderland.

Fun60 said...

It could have been written with Covid in mind. Thanks for sharing it with us all and you are so right about the dangers of family gatherings. Let's all keep safe.

Sharon Wagner said...

Seeing the deer at rest is sure to lower the heart rate. Nature is my happy place. But anywhere away from the virus is a good place right now.

EricaSta said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful prayer, Pat. Yes, we can be glad, we have enough to eat. We have clothes and a house and so much more to be thankful.

Happy MosaicMonday

MarilynsTreats said...

Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn

Marielle said...

I'm sorry your numbers are skyrocketing and that Thanksgiving will be so different for you this year. I hope you can still feel the gratitude and love of the holiday! Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem. I'm visiting from the Tuesdays with a Twist linkup today. Have a blessed day Pat.

Donna @ Modern on Monticello said...

Thank you for sharing this post. I really needed to read that poem today as I have been so busy all morning just fluttering to one project after nothing trying to fight stressful thoughts today. Prayers for your family during this time as well and we will all celebrate next year. #HomeMattersParty

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

That is a perfect poem for this time Pat, and your own words are also appropriate and so very welcome. We have made the same decision about Thanksgiving. Although we’ve seen our daughter and family it has all been outdoors at safe distance ... that’s not possible for aTG get -together obviously (and will be iffy from now on as the weather worsens). Sometimes I feel as if we’re the only family being this cautious, so even though I’m confident we’re doing right thing, I’m glad to have an ally!

William Kendall said...

The deer are beauties.

Our local numbers were spiking in October, but have dropped significantly, according to an article today.

I've still decided that without a vaccine, I won't be going to see family until sometime next year.

XmasDolly said...

I have never read that prayer before my friend, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart & I think I'll read it again on Thanksgiving day. We are staying home alone, and then of course making our calls to all my babies. We'll talk on our cell phones to see each other too! That will be nice. I have two here close to me, but I have 2 in Missouri also. Well, Christmas isn't really all that far away, but hopefully we will be able to at least get together with close family then. God bless you & yours my friend!!! Thank you again!

betty-NZ said...

What a great prayer that we all should take to heart!
The deer are so adorable lying there without a care :)
I guess many Americans will be celebrating Thanksgiving in a unique way this year--who would have thought?!
Hopefully, this will all be over in the near future so the world can get back to normal.
I hope your Thanksgiving brings you much happiness and good food :)

I'm so happy to see your link at 'My Corner of the World' this week!

Crafty Green Poet said...

It's sensible to avoid family gatherings until the virus is under control.

Beautiful deer!

Michelle said...

Here in KY, our governor has instituted more closures, etc... Schools are virtual and the local community just wants students back in class, no matter what. Crazy times with many who don't want to mask and follow any rules. We are not doing any gatherings for Thanksgiving. But, I am cooking a small turkey. Gotta have that! lol Thanks for linking up.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

A very appropriate prayer for these very challenging times. My granddaughter (2nd grade) is still in class half time and on zoom calls the other days. Works out OK, and I hope it continues. She gets bored and frustrated on full-day zoom calls.

Rambling Woods said...

Sadly we are orange and closing down.... This should not have happened

Nanda kumar said...

Let the pandemic end and prosperity prevail

Amy Johnson said...

Beautiful poem. Thanks for sharing.

Lowcarb team member said...

Thank you for sharing this poem, lovely words.

All the best Jan

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Beautiful poems and prayer, Pat, for a truly challenging time in our lives. We too, decided to stay home, even though we all had Covid tests scheduled for last week. But not everyone could quarantine the 14 days before Thanksgiving so we decided to spend it quietly just the two of us. We are so pinning our hopes on the vaccine and can't wait until it can be distributed. Still, I am so thankful for everything in my life, in particular the technology that allows we to continue to see family.