News to Ponder

This morning the Carolina Wren showed up on the ivy covering the base of the willow oak, searching for bugs. It’s song announced the morning sunshine. Over the past week, other stories, other voices gave mixed outlooks.

  1. At our neighbor’s outdoor birthday party, her sister from Northern Virginia told us how their neighborhood benefited from having college students home this summer. Otherwise bored, the students organized a “summer camp” for the children surrounding them. They divided the children into age groups and planned activities like, games, crafts, and stories that the children could participate in for several hours in the morning and also in the afternoon. This allowed parents peace to do their work at home, and everyone was happy. No one got sick because they all stayed in their relatively closed community.
  2. My cousin with her Korean husband and four children visited us under the willow oak one evening. They had planned to spend a year in the U.S. traveling to different places, but because of COVID, they spent the last six months in a small valley in Pennsylvania with her sister and parents. This short trip to Virginia was the only foray outside that bubble. They were nervous about returning to Seoul, their home, in a few weeks. While Korea was seen as a model in getting early control of the virus, the situation has deteriorated. As of Thursday, 154 COVID-19 patients were in serious or critical condition, up from 123 on a day before. The country had just 12 such cases before the second-wave began to intensify two weeks ago, stemming from an outbreak among members of a church who attended a political rally.

3. Out of the kindness of his heart, a pastor in a local church recently conducted a funeral service for a family who were not even members of his church. What he didn’t know was that several members of that family had COVID and attended the funeral without wearing masks. Now he is quite ill from the virus.

4. I called a nephew’s family in rural Pennsylvania yesterday after months of not talking with them. When one of the teenage girls answered, I asked how they are doing with COVID. She said: “Oh, we already had it. We’re over that.” I asked how they knew they had it, and she said some members of the family had lost their sense of taste and smell for a while. When I asked about their church gatherings, she said, ” We are meeting as usual. It’s done here.” I hope they won’t be disappointed.

5. Last evening, we invited another couple to visit (outside) before they return to Romania (September 23) to continue working in Sighisoara, Romania. They have been going there for the better parts of five years and have helped local men start a successful woodworking business. They reported how people there follow the rules, wear masks, and submit to government officials tracking their health and movements. This has kept their numbers very low for at least four months. Since the beginning of August, however, as in other countries, daily case numbers have increased.

Perhaps people the world over are becoming fatigued with the lack of normalcy. The virus, however, has its own rules, and we had better respect them.

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