“I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong.
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam…
…The delicious singing of the mother,
or of the young wife at work,
or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him
or her and to none else….”
– Walt Whitman (I didn’t quote the entire poem but its worthwhile)
I open the ‘Daily Gleanings’ calendar to “Tuesday March 24, 2020.” I scan the verse for the day as I set my foot on the plank floor.
“I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7
Dating all the way back to the days of Moses and the crossing of the Red Sea, Israel was taught to “Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD…(Exodus 14:13).”
Written thousands of years ago, It’s as if a fortune teller predicted exactly what I needed to read in the present day.
For those of us who are introverts, the present ‘social distancing’ and the idea that we need to stay home is like a Christmas gift. Except the reality is that with reduced work and nonexistent school hours, I’ve had more people around than usual. People I love… But… I need more than solitude to write. Like Captain Hook, in the Broadway version of “Peter Pan,” I need inspiration.
“Inspire me! Play, you dogs, play!” Captain Hook demands music of his rag tag pirate urchins.
After days of dismal discouragement, fresh air came blowing in the window from listening to Dr. Deborah Birx last evening during a White House press conference. “Who is this intelligent woman, sharing clear and helpful statistics?” Duane and I wondered. This morning, I dug around and found she is one of the doctors on the President’s crisis team and she graduated from Houghton, a Christian college, in New York.
And Walt Whitman’s poem inspires me, describing the vibrant joy of work. Specifically, the heroism of every American worker. Some U.S. officials are deciding, these days, what to keep ‘open’ and what is ‘nonessential.’ All work is essential; our efforts to feed, cloth, shelter and protect each other, all bring meaning and blessing.
Interesting that we have a phrase for our work: ‘what we do for a living.’ Our work isn’t only about a paycheck. Our work, illustrated in Whitman’s poem, is one of the things that keeps us alive.
For ‘home managers,’ now we’re on the battle’s front lines. Psalm 84 illuminates the beauty of ‘place.’ Verse 3 describes security, “Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O LORD of Heaven’s Armies.”
In Lance Morrow’s excellent article, “What to Do When You’re Sheltering in Place,” he shares practical ideas for creating a haven of peace for our families.
Saturday I planted flowers outside the kitchen window. I’m making simple but tasty dinners, using the recipes on the back of the Stove Top Stuffing box. Yesterday we listened to Rimsky -Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” while we made S’mores.
The German bombs that killed 43,000 civilians in Britain during WWII created the slogan of resilience its people carried in their hearts, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
We must do the same.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1:5