Coronovirus – Cabin Fever!

I live in Virginia. I have been staying home, in happy self-quarantine, for three weeks now, since my earlier than planned return from the Land of Sunshine. I have been okay with that. I like my house, I like ordering groceries on-line, and the weather has been warm enough for backyard campfires and cook outs. I have had no urge whatsoever to leave. Until yesterday.

Yesterday the Virginia Governor made a public decree. Because people were not following his recommendation to not gather in groups during this pandemic, he did what any normal parent would do with his rebellious children. He sent us all to our rooms.

“Effective IMMEDIATELY ! All non-essential travel will CEASE!” We are allowed to leave our homes to exercise, get food, seek medical treatment, and work (providing we have a note from our boss defining our jobs as essential.) Everybody else, STAY HOME.

This mandate is in effect till JUNE 10! Oh, boy!

While I agree whole- heartedly with his decision, something awoke deep inside of me. I think it is called Cabin Fever!

Some people get it when they are snowed in during a nasty Michigan blizzard, risking their lives on icy roads to escape the Cabin Fever wall climbing clutches. Others get it at the mere suggestion of being quarantined. I thought I was immune to this but, alas, I am not.

We had a grocery order ready for pickup yesterday afternoon and I decided to ride along. On the way we stopped at the storage lot and unloaded a few baskets of summer clothing from the trailer. May is warm here and we will need those summer things before the quarantine is lifted.

It was fun to see the trees blooming and my pretty city in the spring-time. I haven’t been out to see it since before Christmas. And today, I wanted to do it again. There isn’t really anywhere to GO; stores, parks and beaches are all closed. I just wanted to go for a drive.

There is a big difference between CHOOSING to stay home and being MADE to stay home. I feel a little bit like a teenager in class detention; I wasn’t the one acting up but everyone gets punished for it.

I’m not sure what the cure is for Cabin Fever. I am pretty much a homebody and usually have no trouble entertaining myself. I may be writing more before the June 10 quarantine is lifted!

Taking it all For Granted

The morning after the rare snowstorm, bringing 22 degree temperatures and no power!

We are experiencing a rare polar temperature plunge. In fact, it is colder here in VA BCH than in Northern Michigan right now. Last night’s snowstorm (another rarity) dropped about 4 “of icy snow and we woke up to clear blue skies, sunshine, and NO POWER.
We were better prepared for power outages when we lived on a country road in Michigan. Frequent blizzards and ice storms necessitated the use of our trusty generator and wood stove almost every winter. We simply cooked in the downstairs kitchen on the gas stove instead of using the electric stove in our regular kitchen or cooked something in a pot on the wood-burner as we heated the house. The generator ran the pump and kept the refrigerator cold, and was equipped with a convenient switch that routed the power to house when the power went down. And, if the well failed, our backyard pond could supply ample water till things straightened out again.
But, a few years ago, we traded the country life for a neighborhood in a major city. Shopping is better; there are at least 6 different grocery stores within a 3 mile circle from our home, and multiple malls and big box stores within 10 miles. We have numerous hospitals close by, and are not limited to medical care. Entertainment opportunities abound in the big city. And, instead of our closest neighbors being a half mile down the dirt road, we have community.
This morning, however, I missed the country life. While we have a gas furnace, the ignition and fan are electric. We have a gas stove, but had to find matches to light the burners. And, as we watched the interior temperatures drop, we reminisced over the ease of flipping a generator switch in the country house as we debated about which appliances were the most important to access the generator first. Thankfully water is not a problem, because the city feeds provide pressure for flushing toilets, but how to keep the pipes from freezing?
We dug out our long underwear, dressed in layers and boiled a kettle of water to make to coffee. I was amused to find myself automatically reaching for light switches in rooms, only to remember, “Oh, no power.” We take having electricity at our fingertips for granted.
This is the first power outage we have experienced here; the lines are buried so even during the past three hurricanes, our lights have not flickered. Nearly 4,000 customers were without power this morning and I am grateful for the crews who worked in the 22 degree cold to quickly restore our electricity.
This minor blip, this short term power outage, makes me think of all the other things we casually take for granted in our lives. Having available food, a home, clothing, friends, instant technology, freedom to worship, living in relative safety, and health are all treasures. And most of all, a loving creator God who wants to have a personal relationship with us.
In a recent Sunday school class, we talked with the elementary children about living without electricity. They were horrified by the thought of not having their tablets and cell phones. One ten year old said he could live without electricity as long as he could still play his video games any time he wanted. An eleven year old girl said she couldn’t live without her cell phone. We teachers struggled to help them understand that there are places on earth where people live without such modern conveniences, but I’m sure they thought we were exaggerating. Not only do we, as a population, take our luxuries for granted, but we claim them as a necessity.
Yet the only REAL necessity we have in this life is a personal relationship with our loving creator God. He supplies all of our needs, from the air in our lungs, to the food we eat and the clothing we wear. Everything we are and have come from His hand.
In Exodus 33, the Bible records a conversation between God and Moses. The people have rebelled and God is angry. He tells Moses that He will send an angel to bring them to the Promised Land but He will not go with them because of their sin. The people repent and God relents. Moses declares, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.”
We need to cultivate the heart of Moses. It isn’t our creature comforts that matter the most, but our relationship with God. We need God’s presence in our lives far more than electricity and other modern conveniences. And, like electricity, He is always near, but we just take Him for granted.