Bug Bites

Mosquitoes, horse flies, chiggers…I’ve had more bites on my legs and arms this year than I can remember from summer’s past. It’s disturbing when I don’t remember the bite before I sleep and wake up with swelling and itching. The first thought, “There’s been a spider in my bed and I didn’t see it!” Whether that is true or not, I’m repelled by what I don’t know, but imagine.

Yep…shivers down the spine.

Regular bug bites…we’ve all had them.

What truly bugs me and really bites is this change in our normal lives. Like most of the people living in this pandemic world I want my old life back! As mundane and boring as it was…I miss it.

I don’t want to wonder if the person I’m passing on the trail or in the grocery store is free from ‘the Corona.’ To not be critical if there’s not a mask on their face or it’s being worn the incorrect way…off the nose or worse…hanging below their chin. I don’t want to wonder if they are washing their hands and being safe and if the air I just breathed in is full of tiny droplets of disease that I can’t see.

I’d simply like to smile at them, wish them a wonderful day, but that’s not my normal or anyone else’s normal now.

For me this summer, gone has been the anticipation of planning a road trip, and spending weeks on the road. Experiencing new places and people doesn’t hold the excitement for me, as it did in the past, in the careful, crazy world we are living in.

Catching a plane to see my son in Brooklyn is not even a consideration for the summer or fall. I’d love to hug my son. However, I can’t risk even the tiniest chance that I’d carry that dang bug with me or pick it up along the way to wreck havoc on him.

What I am doing is setting up my classroom like life is normal. With the smallest of illusion that the spiking of cases won’t change the beginning of school. As if, like normal, I’ll introduce myself to all my students, shaking hands and hugging as I meet them.

In history, we’ve heard of the Black Plague and the Spanish Influenza that took millions of lives. Who would have thought we’d be sharing our modern life with the same concerns of what we think of as “the old’n days.”

If I hear one more person tell their idea that this is a conspiracy or that the flu kills more people than ‘this Corona,’ I will have to pray ever so hard to keep my mouth closed on their stupidity.

What I don’t think people understand is how hard it is to watch loved ones on a respirator. I’ve held the hands of two people that I loved more than life and watched them draw their last breath as the respirator was turned off. That moment is etched forever behind my eyelids and the grief of separating from that person stays until we meet in eternity. Time softens, but loss of that love is always there.

I’d like to doctor my life up like I would a bug bite. A little alcohol and itch relief cream and wait for the swelling and itching to go away. Anticipating healing in days.

I anticipate healing will happen. There may be a scar or a faint line left to remind us of a time in our lives where an incident occurred that caused us to stop and tend to our physical self.

A physical pain doesn’t stand alone. There’s an emotion tied to it. I can still recall stepping on a broken shred of glass barefooted and a white towel covered with blood. What I remember the most is the trip between our house and the emergency room. When my mom drove way over the speed limit and yelled directions to my brother to hold the towel tight. The tears as stitches were sewn in my foot and the care it took to hobble around the house. My foot healed, but the memory of that emotional time remains.

As an elementary math teacher, I’ve told my students that numbers without nouns don’t convey meaning, that numbers represent something. These numbers represent people. There are family members who are grieving and others celebrating.

Some may know how they contacted the disease and others it is an unknown mystery.

Yet, even as I think on the world where we are living. We’re blessed to be secure in our Heavenly Father’s comforting words.

I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you. Isaiah 43:2 HCSB

There’s been blessings and slowing down of agendas and schedules Families getting together for games and actual dinners. Sharing laughter and finding their way to communicate without the competing of work and outside distractions. Those are the beautiful things.

Time off from work has been relatively stress free. Long days of relaxing and time to think. Time to take up new hobbies and watch hours of television. There’s been plenty of time to do home projects, even though I haven’t done much.

Yes, blessings even in the wake of all the scary around us.

I’m trying to convince myself that WAS a horse fly that bit me as I walked the trail and not an unknown spider in my bed. I’m preparing my classroom for sweet students who will be happy to return to the classroom and their friends. I know God knows our future. Until then, I’ll wait for the time when I can actually put my arms around Cameron and hug tight.

When the world becomes the normal place I want it to be and we all will remember the beautiful and sad moments of this time and a hundred years from now, people will simply remember ‘The Covid-19″ as we remember the Black Plague and the Spanish Flu.

And we’ll be once more normal for whatever normal is at the time.