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Hello friends,

     What a unique time in our personal, national and global life. Winston Churchill once said, 

 

"It would be foolish to disguise the gravity of the hour. It would be still more foolish to lose heart and courage."


Our one daily break from Washington State’s shelter-in-place order has included walks along Spokane’s beautiful rivers or a country car ride. One day, while driving up the winding road to Mount Spokane (prior to the Governor’s closure edict), we listened to an old Van Morrison song These are the Days.   


 
      A Northern Ireland singer-songwriter and instrumentalist, Van Morrison’s years of music feature many mystical Celtic themes, sometimes including faith in God’s presence, living in the “now,” enjoying nature, and embracing the gifts of love.  You might remember his hit song, Brown Eyed Girl.  Although These are the Days is a romantic theme, I find myself listening over and over because a few lines seem to speak to our present challenge. You can hear it on iTunes.
                         
These are the days by the sparkling river
His timely grace and our treasured find
This is the love of the one Magician.  Turned the water into wine.
 
These are the days now that we must savor
 And we must enjoy as we can
These are the days that will last forever
You’ve got to hold them in your heart. 
 
            Perhaps the definitive line is “as we can.”  For health and service workers deep into the cruel gravity of this ravaging epidemic, persons facing enormous economic anxieties, home, and food insecurities, or suddenly losing loved ones, your heart and courage deserve our highest respect and compassion. Savoring is a completely unrealistic word.
     But for the majority of us who are primarily learning ways to live in required isolation and quietude, this March newsletter invites us to explore the question, “How do we create soul spaces during this unprecedented quarantine?”  Extensive years on potent anti-cancer meds have left my immune system highly compromised, plus I’m almost 80.  So Jim and I have been protectively homebound for almost a month.  We recognize that when living in such times of uncertainty, most feel some moments of fear and vulnerability.  Yet, even in the midst of this reality, we see citizens discovering ways to embrace and engage this lengthy Sabbath or sabbatical as a time to “savor and enjoy as we can.” 




     Everyone hopes this will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and the challenge seems to be how to welcome this rare gift of uninterrupted time.  Here’s what we’ve been observing worth “holding in our hearts.”

Love in the Time of Coronavirus:
Wise Soul Space Self-Care

Treasuring the gifts of mother nature.    
     To avoid cabin fever, Jim and I started taking daily walks to allow the wonders of nature to give their healing. During this time of uncertainty, finding the first spring buttercup, and seeing the enduring rivers, mountains, sun, moon, and trees refreshes our spirits. 
   

 
    Sometimes we invite friends to join us for walks in the park and practice social distancing.  Fortunately, spring calls us to discover our hundreds of tiny flowering bulbs and to dig and plant in our gardens.  Thank God coronavirus didn’t happen in November! 
Gratitude for filmmakers. 
     Though we rarely watched films on Netflix or Primetime before, we are now thankful to see their rich resources.  Granted, it often takes 15 minutes for us to agree on a movie!  Here are some favorites we both enjoyed.
     The Guernsey and Potato Peel Literary Society:  World War II experience showing the importance of books in England when occupied by Nazi’s.
 
       Funny Face: Sheer fun to see Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire’s dance talent in this classic.  Her talents also shine in Roman Holiday.
 
       The Music of Silence:  Inspiring Andrea Bocelli biopic.  Shows how important a mentoring teacher proves in helping to overcome obstacles. 
Rare Chance for Disciplined Music Practice
 
       This "pause” has provided excellent time for more disciplined music practice on my ukulele and piano.  This week included Andante, a classical piece on the ukulele by Mateo Carcassi and 12th Street Rag on the piano. Do you have a hobby or musical instrument that you’ve been longing to develop? A perfect time!
It’s encouraging to see citizens answering the question “How can I help?”  I hope you are finding ways to contribute your talents too.   
     Making medical face masks for millions needed by health workers in the coming weeks:  Our talented seamstress daughter-in-law Kris lives in Hawaii and has provided leadership for the Massive Masks for the Kauai project.  Now both ‘tween granddaughters are also sewing.  Joann Fabrics and YouTube have patterns and tutorials for cotton masks that health workers and first responders wear over their N95 safety masks.   This prolongs their usage since dire shortages are everywhere already. Do you or does your community need these now? 



 
 Musicians are sharing their gifts on-line: Put in the hashtag #Songs of Comfort, started by YoYo Ma and you’ll find both famous and ordinary music lovers adding their joy.   We loved hearing local talented musicians playing at Riverfront State Park. Garth Brooks offers a televised home concert every Monday evening, as are others.
     Grandparents assisting quarantined children with their studies via Skype, which also gives parents a break.  For an hour each day, a doctor and his writing wife in Washington State help with homeschooling their Texas grandchildren.  He tutors in science and math, and she enhances their school curriculum that emphasizes artists, composers, and authors.  Do you have children that might value extra help?
     Spiritual support:  Many faith communities are offering empowering on-line resources to speak to this time of high anxiety and loneliness.  The most effective for connecting are those using zoom technology, where members can see one another, give prayer requests, and more.  When I wake up troubled at night, a favorite verse reminds me,  “God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) We are called to use our minds to discern facts, take prudent steps, but live believing in the power of God’s generous love to navigate these difficult days.  Do you have favorite readings that give you strength? You can email me below.  
     Online celebrating: When life’s major milestones are being missed, families are inventing very creative alternatives.  Our friend Don Liebert recently moved into assisted living where everyone was suddenly isolated within days of his 82nd birthday.  His daughter Lynne used Facebook to invite family and friends to send video birthday greetings. She then created a 17-minute heartfelt and sometimes hilarious montage helping him feel celebrated and loved. 

Comforting Foods:  Delicious Challah Bread

     Like so many others, I’ve relished baking breads again.  Kneading and shaping beautiful loaves to share with family feels deeply satisfying, plus the warm aroma infuses our homes.  Here’s a challah bread recipe from last week, often made for Jewish celebrations.  
     May you look back on these days knowing you sought to hold them in your heart, seeking the best that can emerge in this difficult time.  Then, as the hopeful Irish poet, John Donahue believes, If you remain generous, Time will come good.   

Deep blessings to you and your loved ones!   

Linda
Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you. 
http://www.lindalawrencehunt.com/
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Linda Lawrence Hunt, The Hearth, Spokane WA  

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