By Charles Towne
You most likely haven’t given this much thought, and therefore are going to find it difficult to believe… but… there is a better than even chance that if your folks never had any children, you won’t either.
My daddy, as far as we can discern, was born sometime in 1911 – of somewhat questionable parentage and bewildering ancestry, so the precise details are a bit sketchy.
A year later, the impossible happened. The “unsinkable ship” – the ocean liner Titanic – proved that she was unworthy of that lofty title when, in 1912, she struck an iceberg in the cold waters of the North Atlantic. With a one way, two mile plunge to the bottom of the ocean that netted great loss of life, she sits there still today, slowly but surely rusting her way to oblivion. Not that daddy’s birth had anything to do with it, but it’s notable how close history touches us sometimes.
Take a leap further back in history to 1890, and we find my mother’s mama, my grandmother Agnes Regina, was born in Sweden.
Agnes Regina’s old photos reveal her as being a beautiful young woman. I wonder what dreams… what aspirations… she had?
Jump forward now to 1915. That was a very good year, for that’s when my mama, Ruth Florence, was born.
And three years later, in 1918, the Spanish flu struck. With a vengeance. Agnes Regina, my grandmother, along with many others, became ill.
One year later, in 1919, Agnes Regina died. Just another of Chicago’s 8,510 reluctant victims of the pandemic. Another touch with history.
Now, here it is in the year 2020, and we are in the midst of another, historic pandemic that threatens to annihilate… how many people?!
This time, the touch of history hits closer to home than ever before.
My darling wife – my lady, my sweetheart, my cuddle bear – doesn’t have a clue what is happening around her. All she knows, and wonders about, is that she is forced into isolation. Why? A “quarantine” they call it. “What is a quarantine?” she asks in confusion.
And, if you were to mention a “pandemic”, she would be just as apt to ask with questioning eyes, “What is a pandemic?”
How do I answer her question when I can’t fathom it myself?
She has no hard and fast rule by which to measure that which can’t be measured, so what is left, besides uncertainty, confusion, and bewilderment?
Thanks to modern technology, for the last three weeks I have been able to reach out to my precious wife on face-time, via our cell phones.
Face-time is better than nothing.
I try to keep our conversations on the light side, but Nanny gets a quizzical expression and asks, “Charles, when can we be together again?”
“Soon Honey, very soon.”
A pensive smile crosses her face and she tentatively reaches out as if to touch the screen. We make small talk, and then she exclaims, “Charles, when can you visit me?”
“It won’t be long now, sweetie.”
“Yes, but when?”
“Well honey, the doctors don’t want to take any chances with somebody bringing the flu into the nursing home.”
“I don’t understand why we can’t be together? I want to be with you.” And after a moment of silence she asks, “Charles, don’t you love me any more?”
“Oh, my darling lady, yes, I love you so very much!”
“Are you sure?”
“Oh yes, sweetheart, I love you more than I can even began to describe!”
“But Charles, I miss you so much!”
I am lonely myself. How do I even begin to answer her questions?
How does anyone answer the plea of a broken heart without our Holy God?
A CAREGIVER’S PRAYER
I come to you, O Holy God!
I come to you because you are my blessed hope, my refuge, and my holy friend.
Yes, I come to you… but then, where else can I go?
You are my strength, my healer, my provider, and my great joy!
O God, how I love you!
I shout your praises because you, and only you, are worthy of praise.
As the multitude of angel hosts praise you in voice, mind and spirit, so do I wish to do.
You give me peace, even in time of great trouble.
O Holy God, please, let me feel your gentle hand upon my brow and hear your voice speaking my name in love.
Let me feel your great and merciful love flood my soul.
Wash me, make me clean, that I may be worthy of your boundless love.
As I am a caregiver to one of your children, so are you caregiver to all the world.
Reveal yourself to all people and deliver us from evil.
As you speak words of hope and promise to my soul, let me do the same to all I meet.
As you, O God are able, help me to cooperate with you in love, so all of those I come into contact with will know that I have been walking with you.
In Jesus’ most wonderful, glorious and Holy name I ask it, Amen
Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.