Trust Us: It’s For Your Own Good

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Yep! I’m obviously not Van Gogh. (Maybe a bit Dali or Picasso, perhaps?)

It’s been a few months now since the mask mandate and the majority of folks are donning their masks.

After I got home from grocery shopping today, I sat down on my comfy sofa and drank my homemade cafe latte and thought about all the faces I half-way saw at the store.

They all appeared (from what I could see) in various stages of emotional alarm anytime anyone neared them.  All I have to go on is the memory of eyebrows arched upward, eyebrows knitted together, eyes round like saucers. Everybody six or more feet apart, and cringing anytime another person even appeared to be 5.75 feet near their space.

Occasionally eyes would meet mine and they would quickly step away as if I myself were a contagion ready to unleash my toxins upon them.

I don a mask when I am in public. I obey the law whether I want to or not. I’m not a donkey’s bottom so I do as the law mandates (within legal and moral reason, of course).

I have learned a lot in the past few months. The coronavirus lockdown has taught me that I can make my cafe lattes at home for a fraction of the price I used to spend in coffee shops. I have also learned that I don’t really need to go to clothing stores or libraries or bookstores because I can order on Amazon. I have also learned that I can bake my own bread and pastries and I don’t have to even go to the bakeries anymore. I have learned that I can work from home and don’t even have to go out to work. I have learned that I no longer have to waste my money buying flavorless vegetables from the supermarket because now I have my own beautiful vegetable garden. I have learned that I don’t even have to go to church. I can attend church online.I have learned that I can go days without even speaking to another human being other than family members or close friends on the phone. Yes, the coronavirus lockdown has taught me a lot. Mainly that I don’t need to interact with merchants as much as I did in the past. It has taught me that I don’t need to interact with others outside my immediate circle of family and friends.

I think back to the fear I see in the eyes positioned directly above  masks and I can’t help but wonder what the long-term impact this social distancing (aka social isolation) will have on our abilities to interact with others face-to-face when all this is over.

We are seeing that people are confronting each other over masks use. Usually this confrontation is fueled by fear. Some people have a fear of suffocating behind the mask. This could be psychological, physiological, or emotional. Who knows? But, isn’t that that person’s own business? I think so. Agree with me or disagree. It’s just my opinion and I have my right to it. Or the person could just be a donkey’s bottom. Who knows? Social courtesy dictates that we should mind our own business. It is the role of the authorities to intervene, not us. I fear that social courtesy has been damaged by this lockdown, this social distancing mandate. People are forgetting how to respectfully interact with each other in person. Fear of getting sick is a legitimate fear, that I do not doubt.  Nobody wants to get sick. This is where our own personal choices and behaviors come into play. I hate wearing the mask, as I do believe most people hate it, too.. I wear it because there is some evidence that it can protect me and others from this virus.  It is a reasonable mandate, however, the mandates do have exceptions for people with certain psychological or physiological issues.

In the grocery store, I have seen some people not wearing the mask. It is not my business whether the person wears it or not. I do keep my distance, as I have actually always done in a public setting.

So, I sit here on my comfy sofa, finish my cafe latte, type out my opinion on what I think could potentially be the long-term consequences of this coronavirus lockdown. It has felt like de facto house arrest, actually. I wonder what the psychological damage this entire experience will have upon those who suffer from anxiety and depression. Isolation is damning to the mind and spirit and has devastating repercussions for physical health.

Stay home, stay safe might not be really safe at all. In fact, it might be downright out dangerous. Only time will tell.

For me, I plan to go shopping this weekend (on line) because I just don’t feel like standing in line while ten other shoppers are counted out before entry into the stores.

Yep, the coronavirus lockdown has taught me a lot.

It’s yet to be seen whether what I have learned from it has  actually been  beneficial to my spirit in the long run.

Jenny W. Andrews, Copyright, 2020

 

Sunflowers and Hope

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Years ago, I used watercolor to paint this sunflower.

Now that I am at home all the time I have decided to revisit the stacks of artwork I have around my house.

Who knows? I might be a Van Gogh. Well, maybe not a Van Gogh. But, with all the time on my hands I might well be able to perfect my artistic skills and at least. . .I don’t think I will ever be Van Gogh, but I am having fun with returning to my artwork.

I guess with staying home I have decided to make the best of a bad situation and develop my creative skills in both art and writing. I have also found some great websites on how to learn to speak French. I have a notebook that I am taking my French notes in and I am listening to websites in French and reading in French as much as possible.

I am looking ahead to when I can go to France and visit Monet’s garden. I love flowers and Monet’s garden is absolutely exquisite. I have only seen it in photos, but I plan to go as soon as possible. I will take my sketch pad and spend several days just enjoying France.

All this we are going through right now will eventually pass.

There is always tomorrow; there is always hope.

There will always be sunflowers.

Go out tomorrow morning and draw one.

That’s what I plan to do.

 

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2020

Island Plans: Looking to the Future

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This morning, I sat down under an oak tree in my back yard and watched a squirrel skitter high up in the branches to its nest. A green lizard puffed himself up and dashed along the length of the fence before disappearing on the other side. My beagle ran across the yard and burrowed his nose into the rich dark earth in search of something that must have burrowed itself there.

Warm sunshine,  birds in song, and the absolute calmness of this Sunday morning reminded me of thankfulness. I am thankful for another day to sit under this oak tree, to listen to the birds, to watch squirrels and lizards and my beagle playing in the beauty of the morning.

I drew this picture with water color pencils and thought about an island with flowers and calm blue water. I reminded myself that it is necessary to the happiness of my soul to be forward thinking, to plan for my future, to not give into momentary despair and fear.

I refuse to listen to the news anymore. I refuse to be paralyze by the incessant bombardment of the worst case scenarios. I will change those things that I have power to change. I will ask Jesus to hold my hand; his is the only hand I need. I will let go of those things I am powerless to change.

Yes, I will stick my  head in the sand (well, not literally). Let me rethink that-I will stick my toes in the sand on  a beautiful island. I have a few years yet before retirement, but I am planning for it.

I have even drawn this picture. I want to have lots and lots of flowers around it. I want a hacienda style house with telavera tile throughout the kitchen. I want a massive flower garden with Calla lilies, roses, irises, sunflowers, and fruit trees and a vegetable garden.

Here’s looking towards the future and thankfulness to my Lord Jesus Christ through whom all things are possible.

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2020

 

Original Art:Woman with Blue Hat

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This is a drawing I did a few years ago. I like to use a lot of color.

In our current climate of worry, stress, and anxiety, I would like to encourage everyone to switch off your devices, tune out the constant media bombardment of horrible news.

We can’t stick our heads in the sand, of course. But, for your mental health, please, please take a break from the news. Switch it off for a day or two days. Or maybe don’t turn it on for a week. Or longer.

Pick up some color pencils and a sketch pad and go to it. Be creative and colorful. Have fun.

Pick up a notebook and a dictionary. Choose as many rhyming words as possible and write ridiculously funny sentences. Write limericks, ballads, rap songs. Write the worst possible country song you can come up with.

Laugh.

The  Book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time, a season for everything. There will always be sorrow; but, there will also be a time of joy and peace.

These dark days we are experiencing now will not last forever.

Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us of God’s promises.

For I know the plans I have for you,” Declares the Lord.”Plans to prosper you and not harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.”

Hope.

With God, hope is eternal.

As we approach the Easter season, trust in God’s promises. Light is at the end of this dark tunnel that we are experiencing right now.

Romans 8:38-39 reminds us of God’s love through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Revelation 21:4 reminds us that God shall wipe away all our tears.

“And God shall wipe away all the tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any pain, for the former things are passed away.”

Life will always have sorrow, death and pain. That is just a fact.

Life will always have beauty, joy, and wonder. That is just a fact.

It is my prayer that we all stay safe in these challenging times.

Take a break from the constant media coverage for your mental health. Spend quiet time with God, unburden your soul before Him. Trust that He will always be there to wipe your tears away. Trust that He has plans for you to prosper.

Trust completely in God and in His promises.

And draw a picture, write a song.

And share it!

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2020