Tuesday, April 14, 2020

From Our House to Yours (From a Safe Social Distance, of Course!)

I feel a coughing fit coming on, but rest assured it isn't being caused by the coronavirus; I'm just choking on the dust here at the old blog, which has been sitting on the shelf, utterly neglected, since March 7.  When I first decided to dip my toes into the then-overcrowded pool of daily bloggers back in March of 2011, I woke up itching to write every morning and could not have conceived of a time when I could go over a month without posting. But nine years later...well, things have changed.

Now there's an understatement for you!

So. Much. Has. Changed.

My last post on March 7 was about something so frivolous, in light of current events: it was about setting my table with my beloved blue-and-white transferware dishes.  (And about how much I love setting said table for big, extended family dinners--remember those?)  At the time, I was meal planning for a Pearl family St. Patrick's Day party at Papa and Grammy's house, with our four grown sons who live nearby and their growing broods.  But then we were told to begin the process of social distancing and were advised to gather in groups of no more than 10.

So a get-together that was going to include 10 adults and 16 young children did not happen; and our St. Patty's extravaganza ended up looking like this (as in corned beef and cabbage for two).

Luckily, that Irishman up there is my favorite human; so if I have to be quarantined inside my home with anyone, at least it's with him.  (He is an essential worker; but since he flies exclusively internationally, all of his flights have been cancelled for over a month now and he's been hanging out with yours truly.)   Things could most definitely be worse.

So, what happened?  (I realize, dear readers, that you know very well what happened; I'm just asking that rhetorical question so I can get the answer written down for my future self with my future old age memory loss, and for posterity.)  In a nutshell: a virus was globally unleashed, the world reacted with unprecedented fear, and one by one, the freedoms granted to Americans in the United States Constitution began to disappear with breakneck speed.  Worst of all: no gathering in churches.  No Mass.  No Eucharist. Lent 2020: it was the Lentiest Lent we ever Lented.  (I can't take credit for that line; I saw it somewhere in my online travels--over on Instagram, I think.)

I am not going to tell you my innermost thoughts on all of this, because that's one surefire way to draw the ire of some.  Lines have been drawn, people are taking sides, neighbors have turned against one another.  I won't get into it except to say that I do believe with all my heart that God can make good come out of bad, and I am holding on to the hope that before too long, life will look normal again.  Maybe God knew we were getting too complacent...I doubt that I will ever take the Mass or the Eucharist for granted again, once this is all over, I can tell you that.

I have not been able to make myself blog about this terrifying and soul-aching era of the coronavirus pandemic, though; at a time when so many people are writing very deep and moving pieces about how this difficult situation has strengthened them in their Faith and reminded them to lean on God and trust in His endless love and mercy, I find I have the most monumental writer's block.  I think this is the reason I've stayed away from my blog throughout this crisis.  I can't really write about it.  I can't.  I've put together a few brief Instagram posts, but just haven't had the heart to go into it too much.  My mind and heart are so full right now, I would find it overwhelming to try to figure out how to put my thoughts into words.

But pictures--they're worth a thousand words.  (Or so I've heard.)  So I thought I'd do a little Lent 2020 photo dump.  Because someday, this crazy season filled with so many crosses that we could have never imagined we'd have to carry will be a faded memory that seems like a bad dream (I hope so anyway!), and I want to remember that it really happened.

So without further ado--

Who will ever be able to forget the great toilet paper shortage of 2020?

(Really?  Toilet paper?  When intestinal distress is not even a symptom of the virus?)

Or how about Mass at home, live-streamed on the television?

We "attended" the 10:00 a.m. Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the University of Notre Dame campus every Sunday, after our local parish church had to close its doors by order of the governor of VA.  We set up our mantle like an altar, dressed in our Sunday best, and tried to make it as holy an experience as possible.  But it made me tear up each and every week.

And aside from the churches, who could forget all the other closings...

so many closings!

Schools closed for the remainder of the year!  No going to the movies, to sporting events, to restaurants!  In some states, even, no visiting from house to house, even amongst family members... [Insert a shocked face emoji, here, followed by a crying face emoji.]

At least we can still shop for groceries and other essentials.  Masks are encouraged when you're out and about--but of course, like toilet paper, they are a precious and hard-to-find commodity.  To help out until more can be manufactured and distributed, seamstresses are encouraged to make them at home (but good luck finding elastic anywhere!  In a pinch, hairbands will do the trick!).

So here's another Lent 2020/coronavirus memory of mine...

making masks
(to donate to local EMT's and nurses, as well as family members who need them for work).

I suppose it's fortunate that we live in the Internet age during this strange era where we are all staying inside our own homes and not able to get together with our loved ones.   I don't think any of us will ever forget

the Zoom happy hours with family!

If you don't laugh, you'll certainly cry...so in times of crisis, sometimes you just have to try to see the humor in things.  One thing there hasn't been a shortage of during this strange time (thank you, Iinternet!) is

funny memes! :)

(That should say masks, not mask; yes, I am the typo police--even when it
comes to humorous Internet memes.)

You know, on that positive note, I think I'll end this post.  But I'll be back soon--maybe even tomorrow--to show you how my husband and I managed to make our Easter special, in spite of having to watch the Mass on TV and being denied the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist.  And I'll also be back to show you what I've been doing lately to help chase away the blues when the weight of the world's problems becomes too oppressive to bear.

Aside from praying, that is!  Because my hubby and I have a busier prayer life than ever these days--the list of prayers we say after our daily Rosary is ever-growing. We have so many perpetual novenas going, among them this one to of all people, St. Corona.

St. Corona--Patron saint of plagues and pandemics.  (!!)

God bless you all with health and peace, until next time (which will hopefully be a lot less than a month from now!).


  1. 1. Happy Happy Easter! Isn't it wonderful that in the midst of all this we still have the resurrection of Jesus?! I cannot imagine how non-believers are coping with this time, prayer is truly pulling me through!

    2. I saw somewhere how this time really gives us the chance to be thankful at how privileged we are most of the time with our access to sacraments. While I don't know that I feel called to travel to the third world to build more churches, I may start offering to bring the Eucharist to the ill and home bound people. Putting myself in their shoes is lonely, there is a longing in my heart you know?

    3. I just got some St. Corona prayer cards! I was unfamiliar with her prior to this but she is really getting her time to shine, I imagine a lot of people are asking for her intercession. (And did you see the meme about Rapunzel and Tangled? How their kingdom is called Corona and she is locked in a tower by herself? So weird.

    Okay, this is a super long comment. Glad you posted! Oh, and I love your shamrock door decoration!

    1. Happy Easter to you and your family, too! Yes, I agree--I cannot imagine coping with this strange and frightening time (or ANY time here in the valley of tears, either) without Faith. Prayer is definitely pulling me through as well.

      I have definitely thought that God might be allowing this unique brand of suffering--being denied the Mass and the Sacraments--to help us appreciate all that we normally have available to us. As I said above, I don't think I'll ever take them for granted again, once this dark period has passed.

      Isn't that crazy that there is a patron saint of plagues and pandemics with the name Corona?! We were certainly meant to find her right now! (And yes, someone else pointed out the different similarities in Tangled, and it IS weird! That song Rapunzel sings about how she keeps from being bored every day in lockdown? How apropos!)

      Thanks so much for always stopping by and brightening my day! I hope to spend a little more time blogging going forward, because writing usually brings me a sense o peace. :)

  2. Thank you Laura! You know how much I love reading your blog. And of course today, like ever other time, you didn't disappoint! I love you and can't wait to see you in person!

    1. Thanks for keeping up with what I post here, sister--and for always being such a loyal cheerleader. Love you! XOXO